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Introduction to Ayurveda

The Introduction to Ayurveda

Have you ever wondered what Ayurveda means? Its roots lie in the Sanskrit language, where 'Ayu' means the lifespan and 'Veda' means wisdom or philosophy. It's a holistic system of healing that includes natural supplements, therapies, medical oils, massages, Yoga, special diets to achieve wellbeing. Ayurveda is the science of life incorporated in 8 components or branches of study. 

How can Ayurveda help you?

Ayurveda is one of the oldest forms of an established health system that advanced during the 'Vedic Period' in history. The science is five millennia old, with existential evidence of it dating to the Indus Valley civilization. Ayurvedic traditions from the Himalayas have existed from prehistoric times. The medicine traditionally revolves around the imbalance of the three doshas or bio-energies and unraveling wellbeing. Ayurveda emphasizes on prevention of imbalances and protection of health.

Scholars like Caraka and Sushruta, one of the earliest practitioners, organized this knowledge into textbooks Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita, respectively. From the time of its origin, five thousand years ago, Ayurveda has stood the test of time and has proven to be one of the safest systems of health and longevity. Currently, Ayurveda is a sister science of Yoga with a rich source of health information for individualized health care. 

Ayurveda is a life of excitement and peace; some are driven by wanting to achieve everything in a single lifetime, whereas others enjoy the offerings as they tread through life. 

October 30, 2021 | 32 minutes
By Vaidya. Jay Parla

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Introduction to the orators

Vaidya Jayagopal Parla is the Founder and Director of Athreya Ayurvedic Integrative Health Center and the Co-Founder and Vice President of Athreya Herbs. He is an internationally known speaker, educator, and Ayurvedic and Yogic practitioner. 

Vaidya Jay completed his bachelor's from Bangalore University, India, and master's from Rajiv Gandhi University, India, and Southern California University of Health Sciences. With years of extensive clinical, teaching, and research experience, he worked as a Professor at American universities of Alternate and Complementary medicine and as a visiting faculty at the Japan School of Ayurveda.

R.A Leslie - R. A. is the founder at Seeuatnoon.com. She's an International life coach who has authored multiple books, a public speaker, and ultimately a mother of three. Fascinated about what makes people truly happy and curious to explore more, she spent the last thirty years transforming distressed lives and restricting beliefs to lives filled with purpose. 

With her endeavors to guide individuals through the past of their childhood and towards their vocation, this extraordinary listener started to help clients of all ages bring fulfillment to their lives by bringing forth their suffocated creativity and incorporating it in all areas of their professional lives. She supports individuals by using dialogue and journaling techniques, providing mental, spiritual, and physical tools to help them become authentic adults without losing their inner Child.

Seeuatnoon also supports women and children in various ways. The Find Her Division provides them gift baskets, paints their homes, takes them shopping, and cooks gratifying meals to help support them during grieving. This presently relies solely on the donations and support of volunteers, sponsors, and The Merlin's of the community.

What is life, if not healthy living? Today, our speakers will answer some of the questions of life and lifestyle, and what better time to share their insights amidst this raging pandemic. Ayurveda is one of the oldest forms of inquiry into the curiosity that is life.

So let's begin the holistic healing journey not because we have to but because we want to.

 Introduction to the Podcast

At Athreya, it is our priority to bring Ayurveda to global awareness. So today, Vaidya Jay is in conversation with R. A. on the benefits of the Ayurveda way of life.

Abstract

The article covers the application of Ayurvedic knowledge towards improving techniques adopted as a lifestyle amongst the community. We aim to provide profound insight from our expertise and experience so that you can understand health as a part of your lifestyle. We have a team of a Vaidya trained traditionally in India and a life coach who has shaped and mentored several lives. They are investing their time and effort to bring the best of plans and remedies so you can understand the blessing that is your body. Our speakers believe in the assisted establishment of the Ayurveda lifestyle. This article is a part of a series of podcasts specifically designed to help you to help yourself.

Excerpt from the podcast

'Suffering's going to be there in life because that's life, but we, in all our power, can prevent unnecessary suffering, whether physical or emotional. We don't have to torment ourselves through the wait until we're sick or stand idly by to see our life not go as planned but start to practice Ayurveda life today for a healthy and prosperous tomorrow. A ritual is as simple as saying," I'm going to get up tomorrow for a walk in nature. I think Ayurveda is a practice of holistic wellbeing and perception of life." 

Podcast

Namaste, Welcome everyone to the Athreya Herbs podcast. The ideal symmetry of the inner and outer being is conducive to a centenarian lifestyle or a life of over 100 years. This series is a guide for individuals to fulfill such Ayurvedic goals. 

A special task requires a special team, so we have an expert coach guiding people through careers who underwent an Ayurvedic journey herself. She is an intuitive transformational life coach, and her expertise lies in using dialogue and journaling techniques to help her clients uncover and understand childhood trauma. The commitment requires her to work intensely with her clients to shift their perspective, change habits, and release their suffocated creativity as the societal stimulus can become overbearing to the progression of life.

This way of life is so personal that it can change an individual's body, mind, and soul as they advance. Ayurveda has always fascinated me, but I didn't dive into it fully until five or six years ago when I came to Vaidya Jay. He checked my pulse, and he figured out right away what was going on without R.A mentioning the neck pain. As far as the diet goes, that was the beginning of my Ayurvedic journey. There was a time when I was moving a lot and couldn't commit, but when I moved back to New York, we met again. I followed your protocol, and it transformed my physical pain and overall emotional wellbeing. Age doesn't matter when it comes to the beginning of it all.

People beginning with the Ayurvedic way of life believe in starting their journey at a specific age or when they're feeling sick, but there is no age to embrace Ayurveda. 

Vaidya - Jay probably would know this from experience. People usually get help when they're physically sick or when their life isn't working out. 'Suffering's going to be there in life because that's life, but we, in all our power, can prevent unnecessary suffering, whether physical or emotional. We don't have to torment ourselves through the wait until we're sick or stand by idly to see our life not go as planned but start to practice Ayurveda life today for a healthy and prosperous tomorrow. A ritual as simple as saying," I'm going to get up tomorrow for a walk in nature,' I think Ayurveda is a practice of holistic wellbeing and perception of life.

Ayurveda is not a fixed path. It can be carved out by borrowing from knowledge and philosophy. R. A. has been a long-time Gandhi follower; his teachings and words have inspired her.

What brings her to Ayurveda in a Gandhian way?

Gandhi lived by the words of the Bhagavad Gita, the sacred book that the Hindu culture follows. I discovered the Bhagavad Gita about 20 years ago and started practicing the way of life that it professes. I found it helpful and inspiring because it put the value of life in perspective. As far as the Ayurveda journey goes, it can be a subtle leaning into it—a daily practice where you add a little knowledge to your routine, whether through diet, supplements, or meditation. I approach the Ayurveda journey like a good meal. You don't want to rush it. Savor it. Right? Also, you don't want to over-eat or eat fast. Instead, you can treat your eating like a slow meditation.

The vital thing to understand is that it's more beautiful than you can imagine, and we discover the beauty of Ayurveda when we tread slowly into it. I started with his supplements, and they were beneficial. I started implementing certain things with my diet, but I didn't rush or put too much pressure on myself because I knew I wouldn't stay with it if I did. This was without any provocation from him or his office, and they didn't say, 'hey, try the rose petal powder or something else.' He recommended some supplements and things to eat, but I kept up-leveling my Ayurveda practice as curiosity would have it with me. I would buy scalp or face oil. I believe with Ayurveda, you slowly grow into it and start to feel better, so the more you feel better, the more things you want to try to understand and incorporate. You don't feel pressured into it, and the better you feel, the more you want to feel even better. It's like a slow hug.

To Vaidya Jay, Ayurveda is a very compassionate system of reestablishing balance. It is pretty gracious, very patient, almost motherly, and reminiscent of a mother's natural love and care. It is inevitable, not something that happens by accident. You come to Ayurveda with a predetermined destination that you have unknowingly or knowingly chosen.

When I teach or work with my patient, they say, 'Wow, I feel excellent and humbled by this experience.' They deserved it because of all the suffering and pain, and Ayurveda was bound to happen to them. The multiple levels of shift you experience in your Ayurvedic journey are the seeds sowed at the spiritual level. Bhagavad Gita doesn't come to you without any purpose, and there may be millions of books and millions of teachings; why would you end up with Bhagavad Gita? Any spiritual quest or desire that you express is already a shift in your consciousness. Once the consciousness starts shifting, the change is bound to happen at the physical level, but of course, it will come through the mental planes—the spiritually changing, mentally uplifting, and physically enjoying the momentum of the living experience. Ayurveda aligns at the level of the three dimensions of our existence, the spiritual, mental dimension, and physical dimension, and that's when you feel alive. R. A. was saying how this experience makes us feel alive because we are at our best. Ayurveda gives us the tools and empowers each one of us to live life to the fullest. We conjure up what life offers and take it towards the next step to know what life is beyond this existence. I agree that the entire Ayurveda is a very philosophical science, and she agrees. We stumble upon some preachings of spirituality that are in alignment with the healing. I loved listening to her first encounter with the spiritual journey and then how she continued to discover it. When we first met about five years ago, she was busy and couldn't do everything. Then, three years ago, when the time was right and everything settled, her soul desired to reconsider or restart her program with Ayurveda.

R. A. believes that the Ayurvedic journey can be started with what supplements you need and a diet if you pay attention. Begin to journal, and take those nature walks. You begin to slow down, and you can't even put into words how alive you feel. It's to be understood on a visceral level the connection between you and the world and humanity. Everything in your life becomes much more conscious and aware. It's probably been more recently. We started working almost a year ago. One of the things I'd like to ask people is," how are they feeling?" If I had known this years ago, I would have started sooner. There's so much information out there, and not all of it is good. Even if you feel okay, you don't know if okay is good; it may be that you don't feel well, and you don't know until you're feeling great. We start to detoxify our bodies and ask ourselves what we are eating, do we have indigestion, are we sleeping at night? Ask these questions to evaluate if we can develop a routine or a ritual, starting with Ayurveda, before we don't feel well. Because the practice becomes a habit, the habit becomes subconscious. The more subconscious patterns they have, the more likely they will live this way without even thinking about it. 

I completely agree with you. It is a science of routines and creating patterns that gradually move towards content or reality and away from illusions. These are the steps that form a habit. 

The word I love and consistently talk about is routine. The sun, moon, and rain all have a pattern; why not humans? The great sages of the Himalayas thought we should spend our lives in the form of routines, and we repeatedly see that people who live the longest have a specific routine or a set of it that they do day in and day out. Those systems are the ones that keep them healthy and happy. The fear goes away when you have habits and routines. Ayurveda says that disease starts at the level of the mind. If the mind is uncertain and unclear of actions, it can surround itself with fear, jealousy, hatred, ignorance. These are the first seeds of disease in the mind, and then based on that, we make choices, and the body suffers because of those choices. It cannot make decisions for itself; only the mind can. 

Being in such a profession, does R. A. think that the mind is the source of disease?

What's interesting about what Vaidya Jay said is that we should speak of anger and anxiety when we talk about fear. Some of this has to do with the external stimulation that people are immersed in today, whether it's news, media, their iPhones, iPads, all of that. On top of it, the mind is everything, and if you're not eating right, there's no way your mind can be settled or is still enough to heal.

It is fascinating how the childhood patterns that we are exposed to imprint us. If these influences are not positive, you continuously look at everything in your life through the lenses of the stories you have created for yourself due to your childhood experiences. Ayurveda is that modality or philosophy that changes these impressions gradually so that you can see the world differently and come out of those illusions. It starts with food because it strongly influences keeping us healthy or unhealthy, just not physically. I agree, food directly impacts our thoughts, emotions, and previous patterns. Ayurveda also focuses on diet choices based on the texture, taste of the food, Etc. Thanks to R. A., who has agreed to lead us through multiple stops that one will expect or be prepared for when going through an Ayurvedic journey. 

Was it difficult to follow the Ayurvedic protocol, and what changes did it make to your mental awareness or patterns?

We'll have to talk about childhood another time because the childhood patterns are set by the time you're an adult and if you've had trauma that's already in your body. Ayurveda can help you reverse it so that you are not looking through life in a fog. As far as the diet goes, I have slowly and gradually gotten intensely into the Ayurveda diet and the Ayurveda vegan diet. I would say my meals are getting much more vegan, much more Ayurvedic. I ordered from an Ayurveda cafe, and the food was so delicious and clean, it felt good. If people are on an Ayurvedic diet or start with one such meal a week or every few days, they'll notice that they're naturally inclined to eat cleaner because you begin to feel better, and your subconscious mind seems to dictate you. You will start to crave less. I crave sweets more like once or twice a week, I would treat myself to pancakes or something really sweet, and I find that I mentally want that, but my body says no. Which is interesting, like my body is dictating now, going against my mind. I think that it's essential about Ayurveda that everybody realizes that much of the food they eat is poison. Do people even know what they're eating? We're at a point where, if we don't change as a massive group, there will be other problems globally, which is sad. When people start to eat clean, real food, it's simple. Your body just thanks you.

The communication between the body and mind improves. We'll discuss how important the diet is in keeping us healthy, constructive, positive, and uplifted.

R. A. told us how this made her get away from things causing an imbalance or were not healthy. One of my patients, a music performer, had many difficulties. He was getting treated for a condition that caused his toe to swell and an inability to move. There was acute pain that this person was experiencing, not able to put on socks or shoes. One of the things that he used to do after practicing and playing in concerts all day was pouring a couple of wine glasses and relaxing. No matter how many times other health practitioners told him, he would not give up those two or three glasses of wine at the end of the day. Finally, he came to me for help, asked me if I had anything in Ayurveda? I said that's one of the major causes, but let's try, and I gave him the herbs, the diet plan, and the breathing techniques we commonly use. He was from the East Coast, and his daughter was also a patient. After about two weeks, we had a follow-up when he returned to the East Coast, and he said the pain is much better. He was able to put on my socks and shoes and walk around. But the wine didn't taste the same; he joked about how I killed his taste for wine. About 13 years now, and he is hale and healthy like a rock. He performs and has a very healthy relationship with his wine.

Ayurveda and the Allied sciences, like Yoga, believe that your health and the earth's health are equally important, so when the health of the Earth changes, your health will be affected. Conditions like epidemics and pandemics come to us when we don't treat the earth respectfully. The concepts our listeners learned today from your Ayurvedic journey were intriguing and essential changes to expect. This podcast is to guide and put forth a path to help individuals find where the pitfalls lie, where they need to be cautious, and how we destine our health to 100 years of living. 

R. A Leslie - Yes, to know that their health is a part of their choosing.

That's so important because people need to understand that they are a part of the earth if they don't already. It's like what Gandhi said: The earth provides enough for our needs, but not for our greed.

The inspiration is to choose Ayurveda and stay with it. We will gradually and patiently help individuals get into a healthy state and wellbeing beyond words only experiential with R. A.'s. I loved talking with you, and thank you for this initiative. We are Athreya herbs and empower you with tools to help yourself, your friends, and your family. To build a healthy larger community where the earth's health is concomitant to individual health. Thank you very much, R. A. and Namaste.

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