AYURVEDA – Frequently asked Questions & Answers
Where are the origins of Ayurveda?
As long as there has been air, fire and water, and human ability to intuit things, Ayurveda has been in existence. It is considered to be the oldest natural healing system still in existence. Its origins can be traced to 3000-1300 BC where it originated as a living and oral tradition during the Bronze Age in the Indus Valley in Pakistan. Later, 500-1000BC the centre of civilization moved to the Ganges where the Aryan people continued to pass on the Ayurvedic knowledge. By 600BC the first texts began to appear in the Sacred Scriptures known as The Vedas.
Why are people moving towards Ayurveda?
It is an ancient understanding of health which does not change. It is a complete science as it is. Its laws are in keeping with the Laws of Nature which remain the same regardless of what we do, what we think or how we act.
People find the Ayurvedic approach refreshingly different. The modern way is to address the symptoms and find the cause (or enemy), then solve the problem by defeating the cause (eg. a germ, a fungus, a virus, a bacteria or a cancer). Ayurveda on the other hand, sees the body as a living, breathing part of nature. And whilst the above causes might be present, optimal health can be found by restoring your body’s natural integrity and strengthening your immunity so that your body has more chance to heal itself. You re-learn your connection to nature, by celebrating the air, water and fire that circulates within your body, by changing what you put into it and establishing a new daily routine.
What is a detoxifying treatment in Ayurveda?
There are many. Here are a few examples…
Mono diet: the simplest detoxifying treatment is a food one. You can simplify what you take in. A mono diet is a form of detox whereby you reduce your food intake to one thing only. For example, try a 24-hour diet of sweet apples only, nothing else.
5-day cleanse: try a 5-day diet of only a one-pot dish – such as kitcheri (a recipe made from rice, lentils and spices)
Nasya: this is a more elaborate ayurvedic detox treatment. It is a process of clearing the head via oil drops placed in the nostrils. The nose is seen as the gateway to the brain. The act of placing oil into the nostrils drains excess mucous, clears the airways, the eyes and the sinuses. It gives clarity of mind. A simple version is to warm some black sesame oil and place a few drops in each nostril whilst blocking the other and sniffing hard with your head back. You will feel the need to expectorate as mucous is released over the next 10 minutes. This feels very cleansing. More elaborate versions using medicated oils and facial massage and steam exist depending on your problem.
What are the basic rules of Ayurveda?
1. everything that exists in the external universe has its counterpart in the internal universe: Just as the planets are dependent on the sun for heat, so the body has an internal fire that should always be just right, to digest and metabolize your food, emotions and thoughts.
2. air, fire and water are the three principles most fundamental to life; they exist in a delicate balance within our bodies and everywhere else. To maintain good health is to restore and maintain this balance. You can do this by changing your choices and being guided by Ayurvedic advice to suit your body type.
3. not just the disease, but also the emotional heart of the person must be listened to, for correct diagnosis and cure.
4. whatever affects the body, affects the mind.
What are some Ayurveda tips?
Ayurveda says there’s no such thing as a wrong food. You just have to make a wrong food right. For example:
Sugar – sweet food is seen in the modern view as bad. Ayurveda sees it as essential for growth and strength. There are many forms of sweetness, not just cane sugar. However you may want to consider changing how you take it. Ginger is a spice which has the effect of reducing the ill effects of sweet food.
Coffee – regarded as addictive if taken in excess, Ayurveda suggests we add cardamom or cinnamon to antidote the ill effects of the caffeine. If you want to reduce the coffee habit, take a break from it every 4th day. It gives your liver time out and avoids that awful withdrawal headache.
Tongue scraping – scrape your tongue as soon as you arise each morning. The color and texture of the coating tells a daily story about the health of your insides.
Oil Pulling – hold a spoonful of coconut oil in your mouth without swallowing for 2 to 20 minutes. It pulls excess mucous from the cheeks throat nose and jaw.
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