What is Ayurvedic Medicine?
Dr. Avanti Kumar Singh tells us when we live in harmony with nature, we will have optimal health and a vibrant life and this is the overarching principle of Ayurvedic Medicine. There are small, functional changes you can make to overhaul your health, including meditation, yoga, breath, food, and circadian routines.
Ayurveda In Your Everyday Life
There are three things you can do every day without having someone else guiding you. These three areas of remedy are sort of like a triangle and Dr. Avanti calls it the Optimal Optimizing Health Pyramid.
At the base is routines. This idea of syncing your circadian rhythm on a daily basis so that it becomes a well established routine. When you start to sync with the path of the sun through the sky, you will start to regulate your hormones. What are you doing everyday and how can we make small changes to help you start syncing your circadian rhythm and be in harmony with nature.
The second area in the middle of the triangle is diet. In Ayurveda, diet is much more than just the food you’re eating. The idea is that everything we take in through all of our senses is going to affect our microbiome, our digestion. We knew 5000 years ago in ayurveda that this was called digestive fire. The digestion is the seat of health meaning the gut microbiome controls everything. It affects every system in the body. How strong is your digestive fire? Does it feel strong and healthy? Is it able to take in all of these inputs through our senses and keep what it needs and get rid of what it doesn’t? If it can’t handle the toxic load, there will be a build up. That’s where the problems start and where the symptoms go to illness, then chronic disease. We’re talking about where is the toxic load? What are the sources of the toxic load. Sources of toxins could be coming from our relationships, our careers, our passions and interests, our environment, the space we live, work and play in. Social media, music. It’s all nourishment and all part of our “diet”.
THE TOOLS OF YOGA
The third area of remedy is the tools of yoga. In Western culture, yoga has been reduced to Asana of the posture and it’s so much more than that. When we talk about the tools of yoga we’re talking about the postures, the breath, meditation, chanting our mantra, gesture, visualization. All of these are tools of yoga. We’re trying to shift ourselves out of sympathetic state activation: hyper stressed, aroused, into the parasympathetic relaxed state. It’s about vagal stimulation and the data is very clear about what meditation and breathwork does for our bodies. The breath is directly related to the nervous system and our activation of relaxation of that autonomic nervous system.
The Golden Principle
Like increases like and opposites reduce. Ayurveda is a QUALITATIVE science versus QUANTITATIVE like in Western Medicine. The idea is that there are 20 qualities in Ayurveda; 10 pairs of opposites. For example, hot and cold. If you have a symptom, start with the counterbalance solution. First, identify the qualities of your symptom. Second, apply The Golden Principle. If you have a headache, which element is it like? It’s like fire; sharp; it can sometimes be moving. Hot is like fire. If you put hot on that it’s going to get hotter (like increases like) so you want to do the opposite. Add some things that are cooling to make that headache come down. The third step of the counterbalance solution is to choose a remedy from the three areas that were discussed previously (routines, diet, tools of yoga). Pick something that will increase the qualities you need to cultivate.
What foods have cooling properties, you might ask? Avoid spicy, greasy foods. Caffeine, alcohol, etc. Pick something with not a lot of spice; fruits and vegetables because the water content is high and water is cooling!
This concept might feel tricky at first but once you get the hang of it, you’ll never look back!