the ancient medicine you should know about: p1


In this ‘Part 1’ post, I will introduce you to the magic that is Ayurvedic medicine (if you aren’t already familiar with it). You can expect a follow-up blog post that will highlight a few popular Ayurvedic practices and touch on their particular benefits (woo!).

Homeopathic remedies have always been my chosen path to wellness, so naturally, Ayurveda is a practice lifestyle that I can identify with. There is an undeniable correlation between our minds and bodies, so keeping the two in tune is paramount to maintaining a balanced life. This idea, along with the notion that nothing has more power to heal and transform the body than the mind, are the two principles that Ayurveda was founded on thousands of years ago (yes, thousands).

Ayurveda, which translated literally means science or knowledge of life (Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge), was designed by Indian sages to help people realize their full human potential. It encourages awareness through meditation and consuming only natural foods, preferably cooked, as certain foods are easier for the body to digest when cooked.

*Balanced diet suggestion: Include the 6 Ayurvedic tastes (sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent).

Despite my organic gravitation toward natural living, it wasn’t until a few months ago that I really learned about the mind-body health system. As per the suggestion of one of my friends, I ordered Sahara Rose Ketabi’s book, Ayurveda (Idiot’s Guides). As the title indicates, the book is for beginners and covers everything from doshas to daily morning/ nighttime routines. Super informative. Highly recommend.

Other than being a warm lemon water enthusiast and sporadically sprinkling turmeric onto my lunch and dinner plates, I was a complete stranger to the ancient practice. I learned that Ayurveda is a personalized approach to health, and understanding your mind and body, is the key to achieving wellness. By this, I mean that everybody is different, so it only makes sense that our needs differ as well. To fully grasp this, it helps to familiarize yourself with the three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.


The Doshas

In Ayurvedic medicine, doshas are the energies believed to circulate in the body and govern physiological activity. Sounds a little loopy, I know, but once you learn more about your personal dosha and see how much you relate, the wheels will start to turn.

  • Vata: Qualities reflecting the elements of Space and Air = cold, light, dry, irregular, rough, moving, quick, changeable.

    • Physical Characteristics: Commonly have a light frame and very agile. Tend to experience roller-coaster energy, going from bursts to extreme fatigue. Dry skin and cold hands/feet. Sensitive digestion.

    • Emotional Characteristics: Driven by excitement and new experiences. Easily angered but quick to forgive. When balanced, Vatas are creative, flexible, and very outgoing. When imbalanced, they are prone to anxiety.

Sound like you? Learn more here.

  • Pitta: Qualities reflecting the elements of Fire and Water = hot, light, intense, penetrating, pungent, sharp, acidic.

    • Physical Characteristics: Commonly are medium size and weight. Warm body temperature, abundant energy, strong sex drive, and appetite. When imbalanced, Pittas may suffer from skin rashes, burning sensations, heartburn, and indigestion.

    • Emotional Characteristics: Very powerful intellect and ability to concentrate. Great makers, teachers, and speakers. Sharp-witted and outspoken. When imbalanced, Pittas may be short-tempered and/or argumentative.

Sound like you? Learn more here.

  • Kapha: Qualities reflecting the elements of Water and Earth = heavy, slow, steady, solid, cold, soft, oily.

    • Physical Characteristics: Have a strong build and excellent stamina. When Kaphas succumb to excess, they are more susceptible to weight gain, fluid retention, and allergies, than the other doshas. When out of balance, may become overweight, suffer from depression, and sleep excessively.

    • Emotional Characteristics: Kaphas are calm, thoughtful, loving individuals. Loyal, patient, supportive. Sometimes have difficulty letting go of things that no longer serve them (material items, jobs, relationships).

Sound like you? Learn more here.

Since researching and reading Ayurveda (Idiot’s Guides), I have taken small steps to incorporate general Ayurvedic practices as well as those that specifically cater to the needs of my dosha, Vata. After reading Sahara Rose and The Chopra Center’s breakdown of each dosha, it was crystal clear that I was predominantly Vata with some Kapha characteristics. I am always cold, small-framed, and go from bouncing off the walls to napping in no time…Vata, Vata, Vata.  So, I started with simple lifestyle techniques, such as dry brushing, tongue scraping, and the continued use of organic oils and feel a noticeable improvement.

As far as the eating thing goes, that’s an area I’ve been gradually exploring on a shallow level. My boyfriend’s mom, Rary, gifted me an amazing Ayurvedic cookbook for Christmas, The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook, so I’m really looking forward to taking the next step and giving my diet an Ayurveda makeover, which I will keep you guys updated on.

In my following post, I will dive deeper into why dry brushing, tongue scraping, and oils are so important to include in your daily routine. All natural and designed especially for you may sound too good to be true, but it’s not! Changing your lifestyle is intimidating, this I know, but improving it shouldn’t be. Being your best ‘you’ is in your hands, and this is a step in the right direction.

If I can do it, you can do it.

beauty, wellnessShaye Radin