Since about September of 2017, I really started to think about if there was a way (or ways) that I could prevent future disease, while also being my healthiest self in the present. I’ve been a vegan/vegetarian for the last 3 years, depending on whether I was at university or not, but I still felt like there was something more that I could be doing.
You see, my mom’s a doctor (and a very amazing, talented one at that) so I’ve grown up in a household that was healthy, but we never really delved into any sort of natural healing in my immediate family. When you were sick, you took some cough medicine or a Tylenol; if you were sore, you took an ibuprofen or Advil; we had the typical American family health system. We ate pretty clean considering too; we never really ate junk food like chips or McDonald’s. We’d have the occasional microwaved stir-fry every once and a while since my step-dad was the chef most of the times since my mom had a heavy work load, but we never ate anything that’s incredibly bad for you.
I didn’t start eating vegetarian/vegan until I got to college and that was for a mix of reasons, including watching Cowspiracy (which you can find on Netflix). But it was mostly because the dining hall food at my university was gross. Even thinking about eating the meat there made me gag internally. From then on I continued to be meatless and mostly dairy-free because of more ethical, environmental, health, etc. reasons. I’ll go into this deeper in a different post because this isn’t the direction I’m heading today.
All I’m trying to say is that overall I led a pretty healthy lifestyle considering all the other ways I could be treating my body. My health also definitely improved after I stopped partying and staying out late and not exercising. But I still felt like there was more that I could be doing. Something that was linked in all aspects of health other than just diet and fitness. I wanted to find something that would cover everything from personality differences to spirit to diet to fitness to hormones and anything else that even remotely relates to well-being.
And that’s when I discovered Ayurveda.
Okay, back track on that statement: I didn’t “discover” it like an archeologist discovers dinosaur bones; I happened upon it when I first started listening to podcasts on the way to work all those months ago (time is relative people).
I had decided to start listening to some self-help podcasts after reading a blog about ways to grow in your life, and one of the first ones that I really stuck with was Sahara Rose Ketabi’s “Highest Self Podcast”. Not only does Sahara give great advice on spiritual and social well-being, but she is also a certified Ayurvedic coach and shaman healer. In her podcast (and on her website which is linked in the My Inspirations box on my home page) Sahara explains what Ayurveda is and how to implement it in your life. She does this incredibly well especially considering Ayurvedic medicine is so different from today’s modern teachings.
But to save you some web searching (though I definitely think you should check her website out after reading this cause it’s bomb), I’ll tell you all the minimal but sufficient knowledge I now have on Ayurveda.
Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient Indian medical practice that dates back thousands of years and is the first recorded medical practice in human history. This practice was traditionally found in the Vedas; the same text that taught us about yoga and the chakras (too very popular ideas in the Western world). Actually, a lot of the practices that we have in modern medicine can be linked back to Ayurvedic healing. Although this is quite an old discipline, don’t let it fool you about it’s potential. I promise from personal experience that Ayurveda is a legitimate, preventive health practice that is worth learning about.
To get to the basics:
There are three different dosha’s in Ayurvedic teaching: Vata, Kapha, and Pitta. These three doshas are similar to the different personality types that a person can have; but they also constitute what sort of physical body a person has as well. Depending on which dosha you are, you can reach your ultimate balance through different exercises, diets, and spiritual practices that coincide with that dosha.
Personally I am a Vata-Kapha dosha type, which means that I am predominantly Vata but that I also have some qualities of the Kapha dosha. This means that for the most part I follow the practices suggested for people with the Vata dosha type; although sometimes I do incorporate Kapha pacifying practices in order to be completely in balance.
I know that this is probably sounding like a bunch of gibberish to you right about now, but I’m going to explain it better don’t worry.
Vata people are considered the creatives; usually Vatas are artists, writers, entrepreneurs, speakers, philosophers, etc. All the people you would think as being kind of dreamy and flighty are most likely a Vata. This makes sense because the two elements connected to the Vata dosha are ether and air, which are both very light, airy elements.
A Pitta person would resemble most of the powerful world leaders or CEO’s that you know of (Donald Trump would be considered a Pitta, but a VERY imbalanced one). Don’t let that get you down though; a balanced Pitta can be a very strong and capable person. Pittas are usually hard working and dependable. This makes sense with the two Pitta elements as well: fire and water.
Lastly, a person that is a Kapha is someone who is usually kind and comforting; they make up the counselors and teachers of society. Kaphas are patient and supportive and are the caregivers of the world. The elements that are linked to the Kapha are water and earth; nourishing and grounding.
However, the doshas aren’t just used for mental characteristics, but also physical characteristics.
A Pitta body type is usually strongly built and athletic. A Pitta body might have issues with heart burn or anger when they’re imbalanced. They also might work themselves too hard and lose patience with those around them for not pushing themselves enough. A Pitta should usually try to stay away from greasy and fatty foods that could get their digestion off track, and should focus on more airy and cold foods when out of balance to get back on track.
A Kapha body type usually can be seen if a person has big eyes, a melodious voice, and curves. Though they actually have a lot of energy, when a Kapha body type is out of balance they can be overweight, can fall into habits of binge eating, and become depressed. For a Kapha to come back into balance physically it’s best to have a light diet with fruits and vegetables
A Vata body type can be pointed out due to the fact that they are usually naturally slender and tall. They are typically small-boned and get cold very easily. When a Vata gets out of balance physically it can lead to constipation, back problems, and anxiety. To rebalance a Vata physically, it’s best to eat grounding foods like sweet potatoes or most other food sources that are grown under the earth.
Ever since I changed my diet, exercise, and meditation routine to fit with being a Vata-Kapha dosha type, my health has gotten so much better. Not only do I feel way less anxious (which is saying something) but my digestion has improved and my skin is the best it’s been in years. I’ve honestly learned so much about myself through understanding this practice and have shared it with close friends of mine who have started implementing Ayurveda into their lives as well. All in all, the only thing that I see happening from you looking into it is a more balanced and happy life. And we all know that I’m a advocate of that.
There’s a lot more that goes into Ayurvedic medicine, but if I took the time to write it all out I would have a complete book written for you. But don’t worry!
As I mentioned before, Sahara has been my teacher when it comes to this practice, and luckily not only does she have a podcast, but she also has a best-selling book all about Ayurveda! It’s super easy to understand and it goes way further into the doshas and different Ayurvedic practices (like specific exercise, etc.). This book taught be so much and I know it will help you out too!
And if you’re interested in finding out what you mind-body dosha type is, check out her free quiz on www.iamsahararose.com. This is a great starting point if you are brand new to Ayurveda (which I’m sure most of you are).
And if you’re interested in seeing more health and wellness posts let me know! You can also check out my Pinterest board Well-Being to get some more health inspiration.
I’d love to hear in the comments down below or on any of my social media what you think about Ayurveda and if you’ve tried it out!
Over and Out,