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Introduction to Ayurveda (Part 2)

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 Caraka 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 seen as 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.

January 03, 2022 | 35 minutes 29 seconds
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 Japanese 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.

Is Ayurveda a momentary or sensory excitement? Our speakers today will help us know the difference between transient and sensory excitement.

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 Leslie about the momentary excitement when you begin an Ayurvedic journey.

Excerpt from the podcast

Ayurveda is not a science that is carved in stone; it is a flexible science. You can individualize Ayurveda as it recognizes that each individual exists in their mental state and conditioning. Ayurveda offers what works for you; choose it and then stick with it, making it an everyday sensory experience rather than a momentary experience. This sensory experience will align you to the joy of life, true happiness, where everything that we see, taste, or smell becomes a path to a healthy way of living.

Vaidya - Namaste, everyone. How are you, R.A?

R.A - Namaste, Vaidya Jay. I am very well. Thank you.

Vaidya - For those who join us through the Athreya Herbs podcast, R.A is here to share her Ayurvedic journey and experience with us. She is a transformational Intuitive life coach, author, speaker based in New York, and the founder of a unique platform for coaching called 'Seeuatnoon.' They provide coaching for individuals and groups and sometimes also retreats that people can attend and get benefits. R.A is a transformational coach who uses dialogue and journaling to help her clients uncover childhood pain and societal conditioning, which brings a release of suffocated creativity. We are fortunate to have R.A in our discussion to tell us about her journey and help others follow the Ayurvedic protocols or steps towards healthy living. That's what we are going to do in these podcasts. R.A, thank you for joining us.

R.A - Thank you for having me. 

Vaidya - When we last met and discussed how unique Ayurveda is and inspires a long healthy life, at least 100 years of living. If someone came across Ayurveda while attending a yoga class or reading an article, they learned about Turmeric. They'd ask, "What is Turmeric?" and when they know something about Turmeric that happens to be in Ayurveda, they get excited. Did you get excited when you discovered Ayurveda, and can you share your experience with us?

R.A -When I think about Ayurveda, it's just so expansive, as I discussed last time. You start with maybe the Turmeric, or in my case, as I recall standing on my head at the age of 12 from a yoga book given to me by my grandfather, that's where it started. When we discussed the momentary excitement, it is it for me, and I believe this is true for all of life, that the slow journey is essential to accept and embrace as a practice. I went gradually from standing on my head as the original introduction to knowing about Ayurveda over the years. When I met you and got acquainted with the Ayurveda diet and herbs, it goes from readings and lifestyle to everything.

Vaidya - So the world turned around or upside down when you discovered Ayurveda.

R.A - Yes, because you like Turmeric when you see it. People today see Turmeric as a big thing, just like Yoga. One can do a yoga class and not necessarily momentarily get pulled in a beautiful way towards Ayurveda. It's the slow moment of excitement; that's what Yoga is. When we look at it as gradual, you wake up today and think, I will try this; it's like children going to school. You don't directly go from kindergarten to graduate level.

Vaidya - Headstands may be easy when you're young and challenging as you age; the same thing happens with Ayurveda. You're already fixated on your ideas, your way of life; swinging may be difficult because you've been conditioned to do things a certain way. People get excited because they discover something hip and start looking at what they can get and easily be overwhelmed. The listeners need to understand that momentary excitement is not Ayurveda. I wanted to get your perspective on how you said that you were 12 when you discovered Yoga. It gradually led to Ayurveda and finding an Ayurvedic practitioner like me. How did you get away from momentary excitement, getting introduced to one thing at a time to adjust to this new way of life?

R.A - You get pulled, one has to look outside the window, and everything overstimulates you, and all is a trend. With Ayurveda, it's subtle. I could do the headstand and then try something else and fall back to old conditioning because it surrounds me. When we have an experience in any area of Ayurveda or Hindu scripture, it calls us back. That could be starting to journal, a few minutes of meditation, and questioning if Turmeric is good, and then you learn about it.

I feel I'm going down this beautiful rabbit hole of Ayurveda cooking. I didn't put any pressure on myself. This is something I tell my clients when it comes to any change, whether it's the Ayurvedic practice or even leaving a relationship, professional or personal. Don't make the transition painful and think about what the change will be, about not eating something that has preservatives or GMO or is non-vegetarian. Just think about it so that you don't stress yourself out with the anxiety of 'oh my gosh, I could never have sugar again.' This way, we make it more of a conscious choice, and then slowly we ask ourselves, did I feel better after the yoga class? Did I feel better after writing down my painful thoughts? That's how we progress and take it day by day without the pressure of having to win the marathon before we've done our warm-up to try out running.

Vaidya - I see that about 70 to 80% of my clients come to see me with this momentary excitement because they have seen their friend or relative or family change. We are taking this journey of Ayurveda because we want a positive change. A change that is physically, mentally, and spiritually uplifting. Ultimately, we want to live a long healthy life, which is the change inflicted by Ayurveda. People say that their colleague who came to see me feels a certain way and wants to experience the same. They are excited, and there's no question about it. It's the momentary excitement that could be good at first, but I don't believe that Ayurveda's purpose is like a pill-pop culture in which you take something and get extraordinary results. Suppose you look at the physical changes and say that it hasn't changed you entirely because of the Ayurvedic lifestyle. The change should be reflected in the body, mind, and soul. You said that there is spontaneous joy in the rabbit hole of Ayurveda cooking, that inspiration should be there. How we want to use momentary excitement as a checkpoint is essential. Questions like Am I just coming to catch up on a hip thing? Or what is Ayurveda? or Should I fully embrace it so that it becomes my lifestyle for the changes we want to make for the rest of our lives? Would you mind explaining why you stated they should journal, read, and think about helping this experience be more than just a sensory thrill? And tell our listeners the difference between momentary and sensory excitement.

R.A - It comes down to this: you don't spend your life in a day. If we look at Ayurveda as a practice, we must slow down so that it should only be about this moment when people come to see us. Even though the present moment is also a trend, most people have no idea what that means because they're so excited, which is false and is stimulated by fear, the media, the pandemic, and the madness of it all. I believe that Internal joy is the only way we will be able to succeed in life. It's not something you can wear on your outfit when you go out into the world, but it is an energy that people will begin to sense from you. I've heard it from some people I've met, and it all comes down to the sincerity, commitment, and earnestness they have in their lives, as well as their willingness to feel better. You must be earnest, and this is something that our culture needs.

We're so conditioned that we need to be serious about how to disaccustom and unlearn, as well as be open to new things we don't know. Try to understand Ayurveda's perspective and observe what appeals to you to commit today. I'm a Cardamom girl, and I love it, so I put it on everything. That's how I learned to immerse myself in one thing. I understand cardamom, Turmeric, my meditation, and my reading routine.

We do the spiritual reading that helps us to understand Ayurveda and Yoga. Everything comes down to when people come to see us. Are you committed? Are you willing to take it slow and appreciate the outcome? If you didn't get a good outcome today, forgive yourself, go to bed, and promise that tomorrow will be a new day with new opportunities. The baby gets up, crawls, walks, falls, gets up, and then before you know, they're running.

Vaidya - That's right. I want to remind everyone that momentary excitement is a projection of ego. 

R.A - Correct.

Vaidya - We need to remind people of this because they believe that momentary excitement is good because it releases reasonable amounts of adrenaline. 

R.A  - I was also going to say that the higher the excitement, the greater the low. It's like a marathon; if you start fast, we know you won't finish first.

Vaidya - Beautiful. I like that analogy. Ayurveda is a marathon; it's not a 100 meters dash run. We'd say that nothing is complete when the ego comes in; the ego is always incomplete. As R.A mentioned, taking gradual steps nullifies the ego, and exciting sensory inputs pass through the mind into our intellect and finally reach our souls. That is how Ayurveda aligns a sensory experience. It's not taken or seized by the ego; instead, it is taken from the sensory input to the mind, mind to the intellect, and intellect to the soul. I want to talk about how Ayurveda is a positive sensory experience rather than a momentary ego-based experience. Would you mind telling all of our listeners where you would position yourself and the things that resonated with you as you went through a couple of your first steps? Whether you're taking herbs or practicing self-oil massage, whatever you take up. How did it change you to have a better sensory experience?

R.A - First, I'd like to address the ego, and I'd like everyone to ask themselves if they're serious about change. It's a question of immaturity and maturity. Momentary excitement is immaturity, and adulthood is saying, "I'm not going to jump up for the ice cream," and instead, "I'm going to cool myself and look at this as a mature person." As far as sensory input or how I was affected, this time with you was initially with the herbs. We must first take care of the body; if there are any ailments, they will affect the mind. Once we settle the body down a little bit, we have a clearer mind to look at the other aspects of our practice. I've always been curious, and if I see something that resonates with me, I'll keep digging deeper. I've seen the timeline link up with Ayurveda over the last few months, from the headstand at 12 to try a little bit of this and that, then falling backward, going back into old conditioning, then going back and moving forward. Now, where I am, I feel that everything from the scriptures I've been reading for years, the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, and the Yoga Sutras, all are lining up with the food. That is beautiful because I didn't punish myself.

Vaidya - I take away from this because sensory excitement is essential; it is aided or propelled by either herbs or diet, which are the two major tools used in Ayurveda to change physical conditioning. We take herbs because the body contains certain toxins or because the body's tissues are not nourished. If the metabolism is not functioning optimally, the mind picks up on this and conditions itself to function in a certain way. The mind and body are given an opportunity through herbs, making an effort in this Ayurvedic journey. They are the tools to be used. Why are we using herbs and the diet? Are you implying that one must be willing to cook and eat or make conscious decisions? What is the best way to tell our listeners about it?

R.A - It's a good thing because in our culture, everyone is unique, and their lifestyles are different. Someone needs to consider, "What can I control in my current environment?" Are you a mother with a few children and don't have the time to do this because you're taking care of them? Are you somebody who has a demanding job where they're a slave to the computer? We need to ask ourselves, where can I be responsible? What can we control today in my surroundings, and where can we go from there? It's a discipline. Before you go to bed at night, set your intention: "Am I going to make this tomorrow?" "Am I going to do this?" I tell myself what I'm going to do the next day. Before I go to bed, I've already planned out what I'm going to do in my head. I practice six days a week, but if I feel naughty and eat something that isn't healthy, I might do it. Like I said last time, the further I go down this enjoyable Ayurvedic rabbit hole, the less I want to have things that might be detrimental or not very good for me, whether it's cake or a glass of wine, and I think it's a nice flow. I am not preventing myself from having something. If someone wants to lose 50 pounds, they can tell themselves, "I can have that cake, I am choosing not to have it today or now," there's less of the anxiety of depriving myself, and it works. If we tell ourselves that we choose to do or not do a sure thing, we take off the pressure of the momentary fear, not just the momentary excitement. We take that pressure away and ease into the maturity of knowing that we can make a choice. Everyone can say, "I'm having a stressful day today, and I may not be able to practice Ayurvedic cooking, and I can order from a healthy restaurant and make that choice and not be disappointed." 

Vaidya - I love that because Ayurveda is not a science carved in stone; it is a flexible science. You can individualize Ayurveda as it recognizes that each individual exists in their mental state and conditioning. As you mentioned, R.A, Ayurveda offers what works for you; choose it and then stick with it, making it an everyday sensory experience rather than a momentary experience. This sensory experience will align you to the joy of life, true happiness, where everything we see, taste, or smell becomes a path to a healthy way of living. I like how you said we should think of it as a marathon. The destination exists, but the beauty is a long-term destination rather than a temporary one. I'm sure all of our listeners wonder how they can progress from the initial ego-based momentary excitement to the longer sensory experience that is a realistic and soul-healing experience. I want to go back to your journey where you took some herbs and diet. Just tell us when do you think the herbs came in very handy? When you felt like, "I'm not sure if I can clear this hurdle," and herbs helped you jump higher and clear it. Can you tell us something about that?

R.A - I want to tell the people what they can do to help themselves at the beginning or middle of the journey. Journal about your feelings and how are your mind and body feeling today? I've discovered a lot of the time that people don't know that they are not feeling emotionally or physically well. Even if you don't know how you feel, you can write it down, and it will help you identify how you feel. Initially, I wasn't sleeping well. We won't be able to see 100% if we don't get enough sleep. We might be able to see a little better for part of the day, but we'll be tired. We should sleep, and the herbs helped with that and alleviated some joint and neck pain that I had. I also had to be more responsible on my part, which meant I could stretch more. I wanted to accelerate the process that I was already on. I didn't want to go back to not sleeping well or feeling pain. I thought that I was taking these herbs, but that's not my part; I mean, I can just put those in my mouth and swallow them.

What can I do today? Today I can stretch and go out in nature. No matter what I'm doing in the day, I make myself stop the computer, go outside, read a hard copy material of a book or something that will be spiritual, enlightening, and grounding. When I started with the herbs, I asked myself, "what am I eating that will affect my digestion?" Even though the herbs were helping, I had to make time. I needed to make time. I know this is a problem for many people because when I walk around in Manhattan and see people eating at these outside restaurants, I think to myself, Oh my gosh, I can't believe they're eating that, I can't believe they are eating so fast. How do they have a coke with that burrito? What is that going to do? So I said, I have to sit down and practice eating slowly, without doing anything else. Everyone can see what they're eating. I'm sure you can talk a great length about how people eat and how it affects their digestion.

Vaidya - True, R.A . Ayurveda is not only a body experience, and it always looks upon the tripod of life, which is the body, mind, and soul. If you're eating something just for the body, the benefits are limited. Take the example of somebody eating in a restaurant, and they're not mindful and aware of what they're eating for the momentary excitement. That is a disease-provoking type of lifestyle from an Ayurvedic point of view because you left the other components you did not eat for your mind and soul; when you come out, you will have cravings. You want to eat something else because you are not fully satisfied with the three dimensions of your existence.

The life process in Ayurveda is called Chetana. Life experiences will become limited, and these will be the ones that make us incomplete. When we are not complete mentally, we feel physically unsettled, and emotionally we will be a mess. We go through momentary excitement one after the other. The goal of Ayurveda is to embody the entire experience of body, mind, and soul. You were right that people are unaware, and the purpose of this podcast is to inspire people. It is okay sometimes you're with your friends and have to eat a burrito and coke. How would one compensate afterward because people should not say that you're changing and the entire world is still the same? You will say what happened to them? Why do they feel so weird? That should not happen.

Ayurveda doesn't make anyone a Sage or a 'Rishi' who is renunciate and doesn't have to do anything with the mundane life. Ayurveda is about having a social life and how you mindfully craft and carve out your Ayurvedic way of life and see how far you are willing to go and compromise on something like a herb or a diet. How would that compensate or compromise your body, soul, and mind experience? R.A believes they are, and you touched on some of the beautiful points today. Next, we will go to the fundamental question: are you committed? That's what we're going to take up in our next podcast. Hang in there, everyone; we will come up with an important question: Are you ready to commit? 

R.A - Yes, that would be wonderful. Thank you so much, Vaidya Jay. It's always wonderful talking with you.

Vaidya - Same here, and to all our listeners, please make this your journey as we walk through it. Thank you, R.A, for sharing your experiences so that our listeners who have just stumbled upon Ayurveda or have taken on an Ayurvedic journey will learn from your experience and the discussions. It should motivate them to incorporate it into their daily life and live a long healthy life. Thank you so much, Namaste, to all of you.

I am looking forward to seeing you in the next podcast. Namaste

R.A - Namaste.

Why Ayurveda?

Ayurveda emphasizes good health and treatment of illness through lifestyle changes. It believes in healing through natural and organic supplements rather than chemicals.

 

 

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