By Myra Lewin
A client recently came to me wanting to learn how to meditate. I flew to his home in Hong Kong to spend a week with him and his family. However, our first meeting together did not involve sitting down on his meditation cushion. Instead, I began by teaching his family about Ayurvedic cooking.
My client was seeking meditation to relieve the stress of his day. He wanted a greater connection to his higher self and for his mind to soften. I shared with him that the connection and softening of the mind is aided by a holistic practice that includes an Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle. This is the purpose of Ayurveda -- it is a way of living that promotes greater consciousness. When my client experienced the tools of Yoga and Ayurveda together, incredible results followed for everyone in his home.
By Nicole Lonero
Studying Yoga and Ayurveda has taught me to appreciate and seek out balance in my life. The lessons I learn from these 5,000-year-old traditions often boil down to and point me in the direction of balance. They also remind me to look to nature – the rhythms, the laws, the chaos and the order. There are so many lessons to be found in nature and in us. In Yoga and Ayurveda there is no duality; we are each a unique expression of nature.
So now, when I am lost in doubt or uncertainty, I look to nature. And what I see are elements. Ayurveda examines the elements in nature and in ourselves to understand how our environments affect our individual constitutions and how we express the elements and qualities of nature internally and externally in our minds, in our emotions, in our thoughts, behaviors, actions and patterns. It’s all connected. Ayurveda helped me discover why, when living in Colorado, the cold, dry air aggravated my vata dosha to the point of imbalance. At the time, I was so clouded by my imbalance. I couldn’t see that I needed sunshine, warmth and nourishment in the form of cooked meals and grounding practices to find myself underneath the expression of my imbalance.
Do you want to know what the secret to life is? It is about experiencing life.
Each of us has a unique journey, and the practices of Yoga support us and make our experience much more enjoyable. Pranayama clears and connects us to our subtle energy. Meditation offers us a remembrance of our true self. The asanas ground us more deeply in our bodies so that we can get the most out of our time here.
There is a special place for twists along this journey. Balancing for the nervous system, twists remind us to calm the mind, no matter how the path curves. They teach us that even when things feel tight inside, we can find comfort in our even, steady breath.
Nature draws inward during the cooler seasons. Plants shift their focus away from producing showy flowers and leaves and focus instead on strengthening their roots in order to stay grounded and nourished throughout the year.
The wisdom is simple, but profound: When you go within, you grow your foundation. You can apply this to your own life, starting in your kitchen.
Root down with root vegetables
The food we eat brings in the qualities we’d like more of. So if you want to be more grounded, more connected to the stability of the earth, eat root vegetables.
By Lisa Åkesson Stryker
I used to burn everything I touched in the kitchen. My vata/pitta constitution was far from balanced, and I rarely could keep my attention on what I was cooking long enough for it to be somewhat edible. After many disasters I started to doubt that I had inherited my grandmother’s finesse in the kitchen. Food and cooking has always been a huge passion of mine, so I kept experimenting, hoping one day things would change.
Finally, I made a conscious decision: I really wanted to get comfortable in the kitchen. I decided to stop eating out and started buying groceries and looking up different recipes that inspired me. I still botched my meals for a good while, but with baby steps I started walking in the right direction. I gradually felt more and more comfortable, and after a few months I knew a handful of meals I could cook really well.
Ayurveda offers each of us the opportunity to become our own healers. To step into this role is a journey, one that requires a commitment to learning the unique functions of your mind and body.
The doshas -- vata, pitta and kapha -- are one of the foundational tools that Ayurveda offers to go within and find out why you feel, act and look the way you do. The doshas are profoundly important to understanding your body and mind, but they are often oversimplified and misunderstood.
Beyond the dosha quiz
A person’s first experience with Ayurveda is often marked by taking a dosha quiz. The results usually include lists of foods and activities to avoid for your dosha (or products to buy). But living according to a black-and-white list is opposite of what Ayurveda teaches.