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Ayurveda has a health system can be used in three primary ways:
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Practical Ayurveda Practical Ayurveda is an introductory work on the Ayurvedic system of health care. The system is presented in an easy to read, lucid style suitable for Westerners. The simple explanations and avoidance of Sanskrit terms make it especially accessible. Additionally, Atreya establishes the spiritual roots of Ayurveda and shows how to practical use the subtle healing modules available in the Vedic tradition. [ Read more ] » All our books
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Home page > Vaidya Atreya Smith > I’m not doing Ayurveda anymore

I’m not doing Ayurveda anymore

I’m not doing Ayurveda anymore

This is what a patient sent me by email the other day. For me this is a total misunderstanding of what Ayurveda is and represents as a vision of health care. Ayur means life, so if I say “I’m not doing Ayurveda anymore” it really means, “I am dead” or “I want to die”. Another line I have heard is “I’m doing a little Ayurveda” which means, “I am only partially alive”.

The vast majority of people think Ayurveda is an oil massage or some exotic Indian herb. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you need herbs (from anywhere in the world) it means you have not been doing Ayurveda. Ayurveda means to live correctly to promote a long healthy life. If we live correctly we do not need medicines (herbal or other) and we are “doing” Ayurveda.

Ayurveda has two basic therapies:
1. Lifestyle therapies
2. Dietary therapies

All other therapies or treatments are built upon these foundations. Taking an herb from India will not give much, or any, result if the correct diet and lifestyle is not followed for the person taking the herb. We could also say that the phrase “common sense” in Sanskrit is called “Ayurveda”. Ayurveda is not mysterious – it is living correctly for our personal constitution. Most of us know what is healthy and right for our body and mind; we just choose not to follow these inherent truths because of countless desires, heavy marketing and social conditioning.

This means if you feel better skipping breakfast, but you don’t do it because the media tells us that “breakfast is the most important meal” then you are not following what is right and healthy for your body type (a Kapha prakriti should not eat breakfast in most cases). In this example you are not “doing” Ayurveda. You are doing something which, if done long enough, will cause disease. However, if you listened to your body and skipped breakfast you would actually be following Ayurveda – even if you never heard the word “Ayurveda” before in your life.

There are an infinite number of examples of how we avoid following our natural intelligence and cause disease. For example, if you feel like eating raw foods during the summer period, do it. This is following Ayurveda provided you can digest the food you eat. Raw foods will detoxify the body during the summer months – especially for Pitta and Kapha types. This will prevent the need to take cleansing herbs later in the year. However, if a raw food diet is followed for too long a period a number of disorders can manifest depending on the body type. Each person has an inherent intelligence that dictates what is appropriate and when. In Ayurveda we call the managers of this inherent intelligence the tridosha, or three Dosha; Vata, Pitta, Kapha.

When we “do” Ayurveda we follow the diet and lifestyle that creates health for our body and mind. Health in Ayurveda is a dynamic state – not just the absence of disease symptoms. When we “stop” doing Ayurveda we slowly accumulate toxins and these cause various problems in the body which results in disease. It is the three Doshas that maintain the correct functions of our body – the natural intelligence of the body. When we “do” Ayurveda the Dosha are able to function correctly and create health. When stop “doing” Ayurveda the Dosha are not able to function correctly and small disturbances begin to show up in our daily life.

My advice to people is to listen to their body and follow what is appropriate for the body at that season and moment in time. What may have worked for you last year or in the last city you lived may not work now. Ayurveda is a body of knowledge that has codified the cause and effect of many different kinds of foods, seasons and climates with different constitutional types. In essence that is all that Ayurveda is; a system of knowledge that is extremely adaptable to every type of person, place and society. The question is not whether to follow Ayurveda’s huge body of knowledge; the question is why most of us have self-destructive conditioning that prevents us from doing

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Ayurvedic Nutrition -

- Ayurvedic Medicine for Westerners series of textbooks

Application of Ayurvedic Treatments Throughout Life (Volume 5)

Dravyaguna for Westerners (Volume 4)

Clinical Protocols and Treatments in Ayurveda (Volume 3)

Pathology & Diagnosis in Ayurveda (Volume 2)

Anatomy and Physiology in Ayurveda (Volume 1)

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