Frequently Asked Questions About Ayurveda
Q. What is Ayurveda?
A. Ayurveda (pronounced Ah-your-vay-dah) means the science of life and is believed to have originated in India more than 5,000 years ago. Ayurveda focuses on living a healthy, long life based on a deep understanding on how nature’s elements and cycles interact with an individual’s constitution/dosha. Ayurveda practice identifies ways in which a person is out of balance and provides specific recommendations for rebalancing.
Q. How is Ayurveda different than Western medicine?
A. The Ayurvedic practitioner first determines the client’s unique constitution, which is a blend of the three doshas; Vata: air& ether, Pitta: fire & water, and Kapha: earth & water and identifies any imbalances. She then works with the client creating an individualized plan to help nourish, stimulate and balance vital energies. Recommendations may include specific foods and herbs, daily routines, Ayurvedic yoga, lifestyle, and exercise. These recommendations work together with traditional Western Medicine to support desired balance and vitality.
Q. How does an Ayurvedic practitioner determine my needs?
A. Ayurvedic practitioners discover client’s physical and mind constitution through direct in person consultations. We are trained to inquire through taking of the pulse (there are seven pulses which Ayurveda recognizes), observation, and in depth inquiry about current and lifelong patterns of health. This helps us understand the client’s energetic balances and imbalances.
Q. How does Ayurveda rebalance the body?
A. Ayurveda offers life-style guidance, foods, herbs, yoga, meditation, daily routine, and other therapies that reinforce the healthy individual constitution while working to correct imbalances. These essential life changes made by the client are the key to restoring well-being. Follow-up consultations are important to allow the client and practitioner to gauge effectiveness of recommendations and make adjustments as needed.
Examples using Vata, Pitta, and Kapha:
Vata (air & ether): An elderly male client was experiencing an imbalance of vata dosha; trouble sleeping at night. I recommended an Ayurvedic drink using warm milk mixed with specific herbs at night thus reducing vata. The next day he reported sleeping through the night. He continued using the milk based herbal drink with success.
Pitta (fire & water): A middle age female client had an imbalance of the pitta dosha; manifesting as an irritating skin condition. I recommended changing her exercise routine to early morning, cooling breath exercises, following a pitta pacifying diet and applying specific herbal oil. She reported her skin condition had improved significantly.
Kapha (earth & water): A middle age female client had an past imbalance of the kapha dosha ; which manifested as being overweight. She was looking for ways to increase awareness of her eating habits to support her now healthy weight. I recommended walking in the morning, sipping a specific herbal tea throughout the day, meditation, deep belly breathing and following a kapha pacifying diet. She reported feeling an overall increase in health & well-being.
Q. How can I find out more about the principles of Ayurveda?
A. Many great books can be found at local book stores or online. The Ayurvedic Institute has an active website http://ayurvedicinstitute.com with a variety of resources. Please feel free to e-mail me with questions at the e-mail address below.
Colleen M. Taylor, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner & Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist
Note: These are examples of how Ayurveda has helped specific individuals with particular dosha imbalance. Of course each person presents with their own unique blend of doshas requiring individual recommendations. My role as an Ayurvedic Practitioner is to provide thorough consultation and recommend to specific rebalancing strategies.