If you’re feeling a bit low, fed up and unmotivated by our current situation, it would hardly be surprising – it’s January, it’s grey and cold and we’re in lockdown! Generally during the dark winter months after Christmas, many of us lack energy and vitality and feel at low ebb health-wise, and I was thinking that this could be a good time to take up a little project – learning more about how to improve your general health and wellbeing!
Bearing this in mind, can I suggest that an idea to start the New Year off on the right foot is to have a look at the Beginner’s Guide to Ayurveda that I launched last week? It has taken me about eighteen months of spare time putting it together and I did it especially for people like you, who have an interest in health and wellbeing and pursuing it through diet, healthy lifestyle and the use of natural medicines.
The aims of the course are:
- To open a door to the profound system of Ayurvedic knowledge acquired over thousands of years, and yet still relevant today.
- To guide you to a deeper understanding of yourself and your individual health patterns.
- To introduce a comprehensive system of preventative and remedial healthcare for you and your family.
- To give you practical advice about the right foods and herbs for your constitution to keep you healthy and happy.
- To provide yoga students and teachers with a complement to their classes and practices.
- To give a taste of Ayurveda for students considering enrolling in the Living Wisdom course.
I’m offering the course at an introductory price of only £95 to make it as accessible as possible. I thought I would give you a little taste of the kind of thing you might find in the course, here are the first few paragraphs…
Health and Happiness
I wonder if you have ever asked yourself, “What do we all want?” From my experience as a practitioner over the last 40-something years, I would say that most people want health and happiness for themselves and their loved ones (and of course world peace!). That sounds so simple – but as we all know, it can be anything but simple to achieve!
It’s not for lack of information. These days we are inundated with facts about health and wellbeing, snowed under by articles on how to steer our way through potentially unhealthy influences in our lives, from an overload of sugar to working too hard. There are daily, actually hourly, social media posts on how to live a life that feels #vibrant and #fulfilling, but many people I meet are still confused and often find these articles and posts present rather fluffy or conflicting information.
Do you find it rather overwhelming trying to disentangle what can truly help you from the flaky and new-fashioned? Have you ever wished you could find simple, straightforward guidance that relates specifically to you, and points you in the direction of vibrant health, clarity and wisdom, joy and contentment?
The thing is, the human organism hasn’t changed recently, so we may not need masses of new information about how to navigate the journey of life healthily and happily, as we have an abundance of ancient wisdom that has been tried and tested over millennia. This body of practical knowledge is now being verified by a wealth of modern research and can provide us with systems of medicine and reliable frameworks of advice to enable us to feel confident and assured of their efficacy.
This is why I’d like to introduce you to Ayurveda. It is the most wonderful guide to living a healthy life and feeling balanced in both mind and body that I know. Its roots are lost in the mists of Indian antiquity and yet it is totally contemporary. After all it addresses the essentials of human life and we are still…human!
Ayurveda – A Complete Way Of Life
Ayurveda is more than just a system of medicine aimed at treating illness; it is a body of knowledge that provides insight into a complete way of life designed to enhance our health and wellbeing and increase longevity. It teaches us how to find balance; physically, emotionally and spiritually, with the ultimate aim of finding nothing less than bliss, or moksha.
The name Ayurveda comes from two Sanskrit words: ayur meaning life or longevity and veda, meaning wisdom or knowledge. So Ayurveda means ‘knowledge of life’ or ‘knowledge of how to live’.
Ayurveda as we find it today is based on the accumulated knowledge and evolving understanding of vaidhyas or practitioners through thousands of years and yet it is totally up to date. It offers practical and effective treatment for many modern disorders such asthma, IBS, auto-immune disease, hormonal problems, anxiety, depression and skin disease. Its practical tools include dietary advice, herbal medicines, oil massage, detoxification, advocating a harmonious (sattvic) lifestyle and spiritual practices such as yoga, breathing exercises (pranayama), meditation and mantra.
Buddhist monks preserved the early literature that tells us that Ayurveda evolved from the deep wisdom of rishis who lived in the Himalayas in Northern India over 5,000 years ago. Rishis were spiritually enlightened prophets and their teachings were transmitted orally from teacher to disciple for thousands of years until around 400-200 BCE when they were set down in the renowned Sanskrit poetry known as the Vedas. These verses distilled the prevailing historical, religious, philosophical and medical knowledge of the time and still form the basis of Indian culture. Ayurveda comes mostly from two of these volumes; the Rig Veda and the Atharva Veda.
Though ancient and born out of another, almost mythical world, Ayurvedic philosophy is based on a deep understanding of eternal truths about the cosmos, nature and the human body, mind and spirit. It has been a wonderful discovery for me to see how applicable Ayurveda is to us as human beings today and how, if we embrace its incredible wisdom, and follow the path of its recommendations, our lives can be transformed!
Did you know?
Rishi is the Sanskrit word meaning seer, sage and prophet. Rishis are people who, through contemplation, meditation and total immersion in the natural world, achieved highly developed intuitive and spiritual insight into human beings and their relationship to the natural world around them. Historically, this knowledge and awareness was then passed on through hymns or sacred poetry.
It is important to understand that when we talk about health in Ayurveda, we are not just talking about relieving or removing symptoms of discomfort or disease experienced by the body. According to Ayurveda, a state of health comes about through harmony of mind and body in relation to the world around us. When we have a harmonious relationship with our environment and we are in balance, then body and mind are able to heal themselves. Ayurveda focuses on the importance of preventative health and developing an awareness of early signs of imbalance before they develop into actual health problems, so that we can address the underlying causes and take steps to rebalance mind and body and remain in vibrant health.
Most of us are becoming increasingly aware that our health depends very much on our diet and lifestyle and Western doctors are starting to prescribe a ‘healthy diet’ and ‘regular exercise’ for what are often termed ‘lifestyle illnesses’. On a practical level though, what does this mean? What specific changes do we need to make to our diet and lifestyle to have a positive effect on our health and wellbeing?
Ayurveda does not assume that we are all the same – as we know one size does not fit all! Ayurveda addresses this issue by its constitutional approach, meaning that each person has their own individual constitution. An individual’s constitution is made up of a combination of three doshas (or energies) and this combination varies from one person to another. Imbalances in the doshas will show themselves in physical symptoms, mental and emotional as well as behavioural tendencies, all of which give us clues as to which dietary and lifestyle adjustments are needed to achieve balance.
With its constitutional approach, Ayurveda gives us a wide framework within which we can understand what health means specifically to each of us and this framework allows us to analyse the causes of imbalance and illness, which can vary from one person to another. Ayurveda embraces medical science, philosophy, psychology and spiritual wisdom, as well as astrology and astronomy.
If you are interested in more details, please do have a look at my website.
All my best wishes