The Ayurvedic Path
What it is and Why I'm on it
I first felt drawn to Ayurveda about 8 years ago. I'm still not sure how I came across it - maybe i'd heard about it in a yoga class, maybe an experience from a trip to India many years ago. However it happened, i'm glad it did - because it has transformed the way I interact with myself and the world in the most astounding of ways.
Translating to mean "science/wisdom of life" Ayurveda is an ancient science of harmonious well-being between both our inner and outer worlds. It involves practices and philosophies that enhance our state of well-being and that of our planet, and views our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health as non-seperate.
What attracted me to Ayurveda in the beginning, was that it offered a multitude of ways I could enhance my health through the use (or discontinued use) of certain herbs, roots, spices and foods. At a time in my life where performing at my best mentally and physically was my only priority, I was looking for a way to optimise my definition of health naturally, using a specific approach that suited my constitution (dosha). My daily ritual involved taking about 10 different herbal supplements that I believed were making me think clearer, work more efficiently, train harder and look better. And that's just what happened - for a while! But I was totally missing the point...
While I was busy working later, training for hours a day and fixing all the world's problems, I began to notice how unfulfilled I felt within myself and as a result, in many of my relationships. I had only just scratched the surface of Ayurveda, which I thought was something I could use to accentuate my super-woman archetype and I was paying for my western naivety with a deep feeling of discontent and restlessness.
Such a superficial grazing of a deeply spiritual system brought forth some massive personal shifts that only now in retrospect can I begin to understand. As my admiration and curiosity for Ayurveda deepened, I realised that it is not a diet nor a handbook for how to become super human. Nor is it a fun or fair game to guess people's dosas (body-types) and start psycho-analysing them based on uneducated assumptions!
Now, Ayurveda represents a path of healing, humility and knowing yourself before you can offer a single thing to anyone else. I am learning to see and treat myself as a whole, integrated being, instead of a body... and a mind... and a soul. As I continue to learn and grow through this profound practice, I am starting to realise a deeper motive for continuing on this path. Having always had a sense of knowing I am both:
a) part of something much bigger than myself and
b) myself, much bigger than my parts
Ayurveda has given me a framework to understand and feel safe with this sensation, as well as a compass for finding out who I am and a map to navigate the world around and within me.
I will be detailing many of the practices and learnings I have found personally rewarding as I delve deeper into the study of Ayurveda, but here are a few ways my life has changed since choosing this path. By learning how my personal constitution both differs from and relates to the world around me, I have been able to implement new practices, shift old beliefs and change my perspective to improve my:
- relationship with others
- mood/emotional health
- sense of self-worth
- relationship with God/Divine/Higher Self
- outlook on life
- mental clarity
- overall health
It is my plan and pleasure to be able to share this journey with the NHP community. Stay tuned for more Ayurvedic adventures and upcoming events!