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.Introduction to the oratorsVaidya 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.
Why is a routine required? Today our speakers will discuss how routine improves the mind-body relation and help them meet. Introduction to the Podcast
At Athreya, it is our priority to bring Ayurveda to global awareness. Today Vaidya Jay is in conversation with R. A Leslie about the role of enthusiasm in the Ayurvedic journey.Excerpt from the podcast
“The most important result of the daily Ayurvedic routine is that it allows you to reconnect with your body and mind. The routine is the path by which the mind and body interact. It begins with doing good for the body and then moves on to the mind.”
February 13, 2023 | 35 minutes 20 seconds
By Vaidya. Jay Parla
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Namaste and welcome to the Athreya Herbs podcast. We welcome you again to this ongoing beautiful discussion with our friend R. A. These podcasts guide us in the routine of doing an Ayurvedic daily life support system. Ayurveda is a philosophy of long healthy life; each person has their journey. The specialty of Ayurveda is that it makes you the center of your health, mental well-being, spiritual growth and structures everything around it to have the highest human experience. R. A has agreed to discuss this and her journey. R. A is a transformational intuitive life coach, author, speaker, and the founder of the collective called Seeuatnoon, a career life coaching collective. She meets with individuals, does group coaching, and organizes retreats. In these retreats, she helps groups or individuals uncover childhood pain and societal conditioning so that they can grow into complete personalities by releasing their self suffocated creativity, changing their habits, and shifting their perspective on life in general. Welcome, R. A.R. A
- Thank you very much. I'm enjoying this whole journey we're on together.Vaidya
- For those who don't know me, I am Vaidya Jay, a longtime Ayurvedic practitioner, educator, and professor at a University. I associate with the Athreya Herbs because I want to grow a healthy, long-living, and thriving community in their lives. R. A told me earlier that she did her most prolonged routine today. Tell our listeners, how did you manage to do what you did today?R. A
- Last time we spoke, my routine in the morning wasn't extensive. I would love to tell everybody that when they trust themself, they get up in the morning and have a good night's sleep. Then, they can decide the night before what they will do and organize a short or long routine. This morning, my practice was about three hours long. I got up at 5:30 - 6 o'clock, did the Abhyanga, and applied oil to my entire body, focusing on my joints and muscles. Then, I spent 30 minutes on the trampoline, brushed my teeth with the gum powder, did tongue scraping, oil pulling, and some floor exercises. After that, I took care of my little puppy. It was wonderful. We all are in this mindset of not having time or rushing, a part of that is genuine because we live, we are part of a society, and we keep up with a pace. Would you agree with that?Vaidya
- Yes. When we are fast-paced or running, we pack many things with little time. In a 12, 14, or 16 hour day, our body keeps separating from the mind because we have activity. We have to do so many things that space expands and separates the body and the mind.R. A
- When we say we don't have time, it's about mind management. It's time management and mind management. If one wants to do more in the morning, one needs to stop thinking. It's the thinking that slows the activity down.Vaidya
- Absolutely. Mindfulness means cultivating what is possible and how much you can be separate from your body. If the distance becomes too long, the body starts showing deficiencies, and the mind will show ungroundedness and imbalances. That's what the Ayurvedic thinking process is.R. A
- Could you say that daily this process occurs like, we can be out of alignment one part of the day and in alignment another part of the day?Vaidya
- The most important result of the daily Ayurvedic routine is that it allows you to reconnect with your body and mind. The routine is the path by which the mind and body interact. It begins with doing good for the body and then moves on to the mind. Let's think about the scientific studies on the most extended living people on earth. The longest living people in Okinawa, California, or Loma Linda call it the Blue Zone. They have a tremendous social fabric in which they leverage connections and do everything the same every day, like getting up in the morning, doing a walk, or making green tea. It's a replay of the same set of activities. The great sages of Ayurveda recognized that repeating activities could improve health and keep the mind healthy and active.
Another thing that I want to mention is that the mind slowly loses its connection to daily activity as we age. If things change constantly, the mind is not comfortable. On the other hand, if you're doing the same thing, the mind knows how to do what the body is doing. A daily oil massage, for example, is a way to assure the mind that everything is fine and under control. The tongue scraping means everything is under control. Doing it every day gives confidence. As we age, we become anxious about things because we have less control over things. It is a way to reinforce that and have control over everything happening. Isn't that beautiful?R. A
- I love that. What you're saying is like, as we grow with our routine, we're keeping the elasticity and stretching ourselves, right?Vaidya
- Ultimately, it is the health of the nervous system. Even though we are bound to lose the active nerve cells as we age, the pathways for day-to-day things will remain strong. That's the specialty of routine. It's like a child; one has their mother to fall back on. Ayurveda is like a motherly science, it is loving and knows how difficult it is to follow a routine, but one can fall back on Ayurveda every time they need to go back to that support system. So our listeners have to incorporate that into their lives gradually.R. A
- It doesn't have to be a difficult challenge. Once anybody decides to live a healthy lifestyle, it's a forgiving lifestyle. Like you're saying, one can always fall back on it. One doesn't have to do all of the routines, like, I didn't do the neti pot this morning. I said it's okay, even though I would like to do it, I can do that tomorrow. I think that's important for our listeners to hear because this way, we don't get overwhelmed and stay in that momentary excitement. We can get up the next day, go for our walk, and decide on a list of practices for our routine. When we have a checklist, we have choices in practice.Vaidya
- A routine is precisely the opposite of momentary excitement. It is a way of systematically creating a sensory excitement, where each sense is activated. The oil, for example, not only tones the body and skin but also has a profound effect on the sense of touch. We as humans tend to use one or two sense organs less and overuse a couple of them. Nowadays, with all that is going on in our world, the eye has become the most dominantly used sense organ, and touch may be minimal because people are isolated, staying in their homes. With no social interaction or touch, the skin becomes completely isolated, and the eyes become overused, which according to the Ayurveda, is one of the causes of disease. Fascinating, isn't it?R. A
- Yes, especially the eye part, because everyone is glued to social media, phones, and devices, ignoring the other senses, especially touch and skin. People are not embracing the physical community right now.Vaidya
- Why don't we touch ourselves? The Ayurvedic oil massage will awaken every part of the body. One reconnects the body with the mind. Our brain has so many networks of neurons or nerve cells, and the nerve cells that regulate the touch are entirely different from the nerve cells controlling smell and so on. When we do a routine, we stimulate other parts of the brain because the great Himalayan masters incorporated or created a daily routine to reach out to each sense organ and create a sensory perception and reality entirely under our control. R. A
- When we look at the spirit, personality, reincarnation as the personality going on, we can all pretend that we're a little Himalayan master inside us.Vaidya
- Living with an aspiration to realize ourselves and then having 100 years of healthy body and mind. I would ask all of our listeners to take that as an affirmation, become a living Himalayan master in my heart, and embrace life to the fullest. In Ayurveda, routine connects to food. We talked about the spices and gave some of the beautiful spices that Ayurveda includes in day-to-day life. Has food played a significant role in creating the daily routine? I want our listeners to know how you shared your daily routine with diet or nutrition as one of the tools?R. A
- It's constantly evolving and changing since our last conversation. I ordered some fantastic fresh black pepper. This week, I added a lot and could distinguish between fresh black pepper and a store bought pepper. I've been eating much more cooked vegetables and soft foods. The spices make the difference. Every day is going to be pretty much not the same because one needs to have variety. I love the vegetables, the rice, and the beans, and it changes every day. It's not like eating the same food because I can add different spices and cook differently. I've also discovered that I don't want to eat first thing in the morning. I have my tea, my green detox and don't need anything before 11 or 12 p.m., and that can be anything from sweet potatoes and a sweet potato dish to cooked oatmeal. You had a recipe for hot cereal that inspired me; I saw that a few weeks ago. I don't remember what it was, but it looked delicious. Vaidya
- Going deeper into the depths of the Ayurvedic routine will ensure that our senses are calm and the senses properly stimulate our mind. Food and daily exercise provide excitement, while senses are constantly tamed not to over excite or derail the mind into temptations. The Ayurvedic routine gradually guides us. When it comes to food, it needs to be exciting. The spices make the food exciting. The color, smell, and touch of the food have a beautiful positive impact on our being. All festivals are around food. The food is excitement for celebrating life. It has to change; it cannot be like a routine. For that matter, Ayurveda takes out six tastes that are mandatory for everybody to consume daily. The source of the fountain of excitement is the food that one eats. Ayurveda says until and unless one has a strong urge of hunger, one should not eat. We have forgotten what real hunger is because we have so much food everywhere that's readily available. Real hunger is the source for us to connect to that excitement of what we create ourselves.R. A
- I noticed one day last week, I was hungry all day. I didn't eat breakfast early. Our listeners must understand what hunger is, how they're feeling and what they might be craving. If they're craving something unhealthy, it can be because of a deficiency or not getting enough fruits, vegetables, or protein.Vaidya
- Ayurvedic food has two primary physical attributes: foods that are light to digest and foods that are heavy to digest. Like soup and salad are light to digest, steak and fries are heavy to digest. Everybody would understand that something is light and heavy. When one's not hungry, they should eat light foods, and when they're hungry, they should eat heavy foods. Three tastes are heavy, and three are light tastes. Let's introduce our listeners to the six tastes concept. The six flavors are sweet, salty, sour, pungent or spicy, bitter, and astringent. The sweet, salty, and astringent tastes are heavy, whereas the bitter, spicy, and sour are lighter to digest. One can make a choice when they go to a restaurant. If they're not feeling hungry, but you have to eat with friends and family, then they can choose something a little spicy. They can buy a lentil soup with vegetables, ask them to bring a pepper cracker grinder, and then grind some pepper on top of their soup. The spicy flavor is provided by black pepper, while the soup provides lightness. Have an escarole salad, which is slightly bitter. Food choices are influenced by taste and quality, as well as the nature of the food. Hunger is a good sign because it indicates that our metabolism is strong and the internal fire that is natural to us is being kindled. I want to tell our listeners, don't be afraid of being hungry.R. A
- This is all good information. Would they have to get those six each meal?Vaidya
- Not every meal. Breakfast is an exemption, for lunch for sure, and dinner to some extent. Lunch is the biggest meal because the metabolism is the strongest, and internal fire is most vital. That's why a full meal at lunchtime with all six tastes, moderate to heavy, is recommended to all. It doesn't matter whether one's body type is Vata, Pitta, or Kapha, they have to have the most important meal at lunchtime, and that should include all six tastes.R. A
- How would people get to know what to add? Last time we talked about Lime, spices, or the things to put on the food before meals. Then you were going to tell us what to eat as far as spices go after dinner. Vaidya
- The fennel, dill, and seeds like that. One can put it in a small jar and carry it with them. Chewing on fennel is thought to be one of the best ways to help the gut secrete juices properly, allowing the food to break down entirely and moving the gut in the right direction, the downward direction. So chewing on fennel and dill is considered to be helpful. Then, after dinner or lunch, keep aromatic spices in the mouth, such as Cardamom or clove. Don't bite and eat them; keep them in your mouth to refresh it and to clear the palate so that the food gently clears the gut and makes room for the next meal. It improves the sense of taste and also the need for food or hunger. So I want to tell our listeners to chew fennel and dill seeds and suck cloves or Cardamom pods during the day. R. A
- Those are easy for people to take with them if they're eating out. There are so many little life hacks that one can do to incorporate the simplest things in their day and diet. It just takes knowing their routine, like when I go out anywhere; I make sure that I have a little jar of my supplements just in case I end up eating out. It's not a lot of work to make this a practice. Vaidya
- I keep some of these spices in my car. When I'm done driving or on my way somewhere, it's a nice feeling to have a mouth that's fully refreshed. The purpose of routine, in a nutshell, is to create a sense of well-being. Rice and honey have a sweet taste. Ayurveda considers any green to be lovely. Sweet doesn't mean that people have to eat some ice cream or cake. Dates are sweet; one can start their meal with one or two dates. Lime or lemon juice and sour vinegar are used for sour taste. Combine it with salt in the middle of the meal; then you end with something slightly pungent, bitter, and astringent. In Europe, people eat salad at the end. That's a great practice because they introduce an astringent, bitter taste at the end of the meal, so the gut is clean because the sweet, salty flavors always increase secretions in the gut and tend to clog. Ironically, all the food that we eat in the US is based on sweet and salty taste. We are addicted to these two tastes and are unfortunately clogging daily, never having the chance to cleanse. Ayurveda says we need to have the astringent and pungent taste to unclog all our channels, especially the gut. It doesn't take much time to introduce these into the everyday routine slowly. Whether one wants an oil massage or not, eating is mandatory; otherwise, we will not survive. Why not do it with all these six tastes incorporated? Lunch is the best time to have all these six tastes. We will continue the conversation about diet in the next episode as well. In the following podcast, we will discuss the sequence of eating and the essential aspects of preparing a meal for every body type. What ingredients should one have in their diet to help the body be vital and have an excellent mind-body balance when they're eating? Thank you so much again for joining us and sharing your experience. I get excited talking about this because we're getting your feedback on what it is doing as we speak.R. A
- Thank you very much. I would love to leave our listeners with a simple practice. Being isolated and not in a physical community, there was a lot of fear going around for a long time. Suppose they could practice any oil, whether it's coconut oil for Abhyanga. They practice that loving-kindness when they put the oil on and give themselves hug, love, and affection that will wake up their senses. They can take that out into the virtual world if they have to, or they can take it out into the world. Of course, everyone has to shower, and everyone applies lotion. Still, if they can use some oil with the intention of hugging, loving, caring, and self-compassion, I think that's an excellent simple practice they can incorporate.Vaidya
- That's an excellent tip for all our listeners. Thank you so much, Namaste.R. A
- Namaste.Ayurveda believes that wrong eating habits are responsible for many health problems; it promotes mindful eating and a diet routine. The importance of a healthy diet cannot be underestimated. So, let’s learn together why eating at the right time is important.