I read this sentence in a book the other day and it spoke to me because since I started my Ayurvedic Practitioner Training a world has opened up to me.
I thought I knew quite a lot about Ayurveda, and it turns out – I hardly knew a thing. The Science of Life is so vast, that in my lifetime I will never catch up. I’ve spent the last few months feeling quite overwhelmed about how much I have to read and learn and do – and I’ve just started! I was never the best student in terms of discipline (and that’s an understatement) I love learning, I crave it, but I hate the bit where you have to do tests and exams to prove what you know. It’s sobering to discover I’m the same now as I was at 15; I start a project and do not finish it (a Vata trait) I take things in and forget them immediately (a Kapha trait) and I procrastinate (a Kapha trait) then at the last-minute I stay up all night writing my essays terrified I’ll fail. I’ll be a nervous wreck and then get great grades. Nothing has changed!
Well when I say nothing, my age has of course. So the staying up all night doesn’t quite work anymore 😬 therefore … I need a new strategy.
Which brings me on to the subject of this post and what I have discovered about Ayurveda.
Learning about Ayurveda is a paradigm shift. It requires you to put aside all the information you’ve internalised about nutrition, about life, about what is the right thing to do for your health. It’s about observing and listening to your body and not your mind and witnessing your experience.
As one of my teachers said, we have collectively outsourced our health to the media, advertising industry, food industry and ultimately the medical and pharmaceutical industry. Ayurveda teaches you that actually, YOU are responsible for your health. YOU have been given the knowledge you need to improve your health and to sustain it and prevent dis-ease. But YOU have to Do It. What you do every day is what you will bring about later. The amazing thing is this wisdom, these tools, are ancient, more than 5000 years old, and yet, when you know more about them and more importantly, experience what changes they can bring to your health, it can cause discomfort.
Because changing patterns relating to food and lifestyle can make you uncomfortable. After all, we’ve been programmed. We’ve been told what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’. We now live in a world of superfoods and raw veganism where we are bombarded with Instagram images of raw vegans but hardly anyone tells you being a raw vegan messed their digestion up. We have over complicated food and made it into a religion, whilst falling for every new food trend.
Instead, Ayurveda teaches you to maintain the connection between how you feel and what you eat, and what you eat and how you feel. It says ‘this is better’ and to me it makes sense – it’s not dogmatic. It says for example some people would benefit from eating meat occasionally. There is no calorie counting or leaving out entire food groups. No doing Power yoga when your mind feels all over the place anyway. It teaches you to be still and observe time, your physical body, your mental body and your way of living.
As I have incorporated more of the tools into my life, I am losing weight effortlessly and slowly. I feel energised most of the time and my digestion is strong when I cook and eat well and at the right time. I know there is a lot of room for improvement but now I also know better why I feel a certain way and what I did or did not do, to make myself feel like that. I hope to post more regularly as it is also a great way for me to digest (pun intended) all the new information I’m learning.
Ayurveda points you in the right direction but you have to walk the path. There are signposts all along the way to help you to reach the last sign in good health. You know, the sign that reads The End.