By Myra Lewin
One of my favorite parts of leading our Yoga and Ayurveda teacher trainings is watching our students undergo incredible transformations. Every person is a little different, but after seeing hundreds of these transformations, I find that those who undergo the greatest shifts approach their learning without expectations. They look at their time with us as an experience that will lead them to their next step, even if that step isn’t quite clear at the beginning. They come with a willingness to let go of what they think they know, and emerge a more refined version of who they really are.
There is another big difference in these students -- they realize that learning is not just something they do in a training; it is a way of living. If you are studying Ayurveda and Yoga, or simply want to enjoy more out of life, this approach is the best way to see how deep the healing can be.
When prana is flowing without interruption, your body has everything it needs to heal itself (see the first in this series on pain relief to learn more about prana). Pain, whether mental or physical, cannot take hold in a body with an easy flow of prana. When prana is blocked, pain can become so much to bear that people often look to drugs or surgery to cope. But these methods of pain relief dull your body’s natural intelligence and further disrupt the flow of prana that is the key to healing. On the contrary, herbs and Ayurvedic treatments work with the body to address the root cause. As prana comes back into the body, the doshas regain balance and health follows.
Life offers many choices. Some of them move you along your path, others are just distractions. Be open to anything, but don’t feel pulled to follow every left turn that appears before you. You’ll end up moving in circles.
Sometimes, you reach a crossroads where it’s unclear which direction you should follow. Before you take a step in any direction, seek clarity. Go within, practice matsyasana, or fish pose, and find the trusted guide of your higher self.
Understanding Ayurveda is not about academics and memorizing a list of rules, it is about slowing down and being in the experience of life. One of the best (and most delicious) ways to learn Ayurveda is by taking your studies to your own kitchen.
Becoming an Ayurvedic cook requires little more than a willingness to study the effects of what you eat on your body and mind (although this guide to setting up your Ayurvedic kitchen has a few other tools to get you started). Throw away limiting dosha food lists and focus instead on exploring different foods and different ways of preparing them. Pay attention to the results with a wellness journal, and you’ll soon be able to move away from black-and-white thinking about what and how to eat and toward the innate wisdom inside you.
A student came to one of our recent Yoga and Ayurveda teacher trainings wearing a corset. It was meant to prevent back pain from a slipped disc, an injury that had occurred (and healed) many years before. She had become so accustomed to the idea that she would be in pain without this support that she never questioned whether or not this was actually true.