Ayurveda is more than a dosha quiz
I’d heard about Ayurveda before. Nearly two decades ago, I took a dosha quiz in a magazine. It gave me a list of what to eat and what not to eat, and most of the foods on the “not” list were things I loved. I brushed it off as a restrictive practice. But when a new love reintroduced me to Ayurveda, and the work of Hale Pule, I learned that a magazine dosha quiz was as distant from the true understanding of Ayurveda as one could get.
I began to listen. Not just to Hale Pule and my love, but to myself. The way I was eating and living was either overheating my tendency toward pitta imbalance (coffee, garlic, kombucha, hot Yoga, working in a highly competitive job) or provoking vata (kale salad, raw vegetables, monthly work travel and all day screen time). Finding health wasn’t about a list of what to eat or not to eat, it was about understanding the balance of elements that exists within me. The way I lived or the foods I ate could either support that balance or diminish it.
To be sure, this wasn’t an overnight realization. It took almost six months of paying attention before I took that first step and got rid of my morning coffee. After barely a week without caffeine, I found greater patience and clarity. This inspired me to take the next step. Then the one after that. Soon after, I left the job that had been weighing me down for years. I stopped going to Yoga studios and began a meaningful (and unheated) home practice that included pranayama and mantra. I focused on eating at home, stocking my pantry with a range of grains and legumes and a brand new pressure cooker. As I simplified my life, my anger calmed down. I began to crack open my emotional body and discovered a range of feeling that I had nearly forgotten.
Ayurveda is a study of oneself
I’ve learned that finding health and consciousness is not a like a race, where you find your lane and stay in it until the end. It is more like slalom: You’re alone on the course, observing what’s ahead and turning this way or that to get around obstacles as they appear. The true value of this practice for me comes from watching, then shifting, and then watching again. This allows the connection that has been my healing.
Living this way requires some small changes and some significant ones, but large or small, any change requires readiness to face what remains when you peel away maya, or illusion. This is why I often talk about Ayurveda as a journey – each step will appear as you are ready. Each of us has our own beginning, and each of us has our own pace. What will yours be?