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 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.
Why does the Ayurvedic lifestyle lead to a long, healthy life? In this podcast, our speakers will explain why Ayurveda is beneficial for people's health and healing and helps live a disease-free life.
April 20, 2022 | 34 minutes 31 seconds
By Vaidya. Jay Parla
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
"Ayurveda has inspired people to balance life with nature from the last 5000 to 8000 years. It's a science that has been relevant from the time it was discovered to the time when it is being looked upon as one of the systems to help human beings to live a long and healthy life. Textbooks written by the great sages say that Ayurveda has no beginning and no end. It is a knowledge base that is meant for human beings and other forms of life."
Vaidya - Namaste, everyone.
R.A. - Namaste
Vaidya - Namaste R.A., welcome to the Athreya Herbs podcast. We are on a journey as we are talking to my co-host, R.A. For those who are just joining this podcast series, R.A is an Ayurvedic enthusiast. She will discuss an exciting Ayurvedic journey that she has undergone and how you can take your Ayurvedic journey. The entire purpose of this podcast is to inspire people to take an Ayurvedic lifestyle, an Ayurvedic routine, and enjoy a long healthy life—those who don't know R. A are transformational intuitive life coaches distressed, authors, and speakers. She's based out in New York. She is the founder of a coaching collective called Seeuatnoon, which inspires people and individuals by doing individual coaching or group coaching and conducts retreats. R.A. uses dialogue and journaling techniques to help people uncover their childhood pain and societal conditioning. By doing that, she shifts people's perspectives, changes their habits, and then releases suffocated creativity. Today, R.A. and I will explore how one can personalize a personal Ayurveda journey. Thank you, R.A., for joining.
R.A.: Thank you, Vaidya Jay, for having me. I'm enjoying this.
Vaidya - Those joining today, please listen to our previous two podcasts to know the continuum thought of how R.A. took her journey and how Ayurveda has helped her. We're going to explore more about how we can customize or personalize your Ayurvedic journey. We were at the point where we were looking if you're ready to commit and continue with that thought process. One thing that we look at is the Why Ayurveda question. Every time we talk about the journey, there are so many journeys one can undertake. It can be a journey through traditional Chinese medicine or nutritional therapy. Why specifically Ayurveda? Let's listen to R.A.; she had given us some exciting experiences she had, but first, listen to why Ayurveda?
R.A.: We touched previously on that, and I went back to when I was 12, learning how to stand on my head, being curious, and paying attention to diet and nutrition throughout my life. Also, as a journey, we can fall back into old patterns depending upon our lifestyle and where life is taking us. Ayurveda began when I was 12, but I was always drawn to Indian philosophy, Chinese philosophy as I grew. I was drawn towards eastern thinking, and I explored that forever. I mentioned the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, the Hindu scriptures. The more I looked into that, in conjunction with other beliefs and other cultures, it always made a full circle where we could find Ayurveda, we could see the Bhagavad Gita, the story, and other stories. It's more like a collective of universal teachings and philosophies that are all-encompassed in Ayurveda.
Vaidya - That's true because Ayurveda is not something that is forced on oneself. It's not that you will start taking steps towards the pills or something because you're feeling a certain way. Ayurveda is not that because it forces nothing on you. It is a motherly, transformative science because I think Ayurveda is made of love. It is tender and wants you to transform to have a permanent net on which you can fall at any time. This net on which you lose is not just the physical net, and it is a fabric of spirituality that is interwoven and tied up into emotions and your experiences. It all starts with physical steps and those other routines that we will introduce to all our listeners and see that we do what R.A. went through. R.A. said that she knew something was there and looked into the scriptures and the spiritual lure of not only the Indian philosophy but also the Chinese philosophy, but coming home was starting the routine. Can I say that, R.A.?
R.A.: That's 100% correct. You just scribed it perfectly. It is like coming home, nurturing, and loving gradually. I've used the example of children or babies who just learned how to walk, and they fall, they get up. Ayurveda is like that because the more I know about something that I'm practicing, whether it's a supplement, a tea, or now my recent interest is in how many ways I can make dal. You get more curious because it's subtle but also a universal truth. As a human being, when you become curious about the steps, you get naturally drawn to wanting to know more, learn more, and then it becomes a part of your everyday practice and life.
Vaidya - I want to tell our listeners that as you adapt and become an Ayurvedic lifestyle, diet follower, and finally a person who embraces Ayurvedic philosophy, you gradually let go of your ego, the guard. The thing that prevents you from being one with everything is ego. When we talked in the last podcast about that momentary excitement, how that ego builds up, we go into that. That ego is what we slowly and gently dissolve to become one with the joy of the universe. I love the idea that you gradually transform and come back to your healing space. Healing space is what we will be exploring. Let's also look at how Ayurveda came into existence. What is the context in which Ayurveda came into existence? People know Ayurveda is quite old. Being something so primitive, is it relevant even today for our fast-paced lives? Is it something that makes us slow and not in this society where everything is fueled with constant excitement? Is Ayurveda a science that can support our current lifestyle?
That's what I wanted to talk about to our listeners today. They should not feel that because they follow Ayurveda, they have to let go of everything and lead a different lifestyle where my friends see me as a foreign entity altogether, but that's not true. Let's go back to the time when Ayurveda came into existence. It is an ancient system. It came into existence probably around 5000 to 6000 years ago. Amid time, we cannot pinpoint and say this was when Ayurveda originated. It is when humans started living a social life. It is documented in the 5000-year-old textbook of Ayurveda. It says humans left the natural way of living in the forest. According to the circadian rhythms, people will live a beautiful life, and then they decided that they want to have more of a civilized way of living that is settling into Cities, an urban way of living. That's when the diseases started. The disorders became more prevalent and complex when people began living society lives. Can you believe that? There was a change in the type of diet they ate, the surroundings that they were living in, but it is because of thought pollution people started having emotions like jealousy, anger, sadness, and desire. Those started making waves into humans, which is the first cause for the diseases to become more and more complex. All the people who were living in society started experiencing physical, mental-emotional imbalances. They all gathered, and they went to the Himalayas. They were these great masters called Rishi. In Ayurveda Rishi, means the one who discovers the knowledge and dissipates the learning for the upliftment of the society or the human beings. These great sages went to the Himalayas, and they meditated.
I want to emphasize two points for all our listeners: Ayurveda was not Discovered in the lab; the second thing is that Ayurveda was never given to or discovered by the sages for their benefit. They did not do it for a noble prize, but they did it for a noble cause of taking away suffering. What inspired Ayurveda to come into the picture? Human suffering. Who Discovered? The great sages wanted to uplift society, free people from diseases, and lead a long, healthy life. They went into a deep state of meditation, started having visions, revelations, and listened to certain things. They came out of meditation, and they started putting all they have discovered in their meditation and started documenting it. When they began reporting this, there were certain aspects that they never knew.
Whatever they saw in their deep consciousness, they started writing everything down and also observing correctly. Sages were about knowledge, and they cross-checked and watched nature and started documenting that to double up theories. Distinctly there were two types of knowledge. One was the knowledge meant to take care of the body, and another was for grooming the mind. The first one, which is for the body, is like a manual. This manual is used to take care of all aspects of the human body as Ayurveda. The primary domain of Ayurveda is to protect and promote body health. It doesn't neglect the mind and emotions, but it's mainly helping the body. That's where we start our journey; as R.A. said, the journey begins from body health. The second manual of all the information that they put together from their meditation was Yoga. Yoga is the science of taking care of the mind. This discovery is impressive because it looks at the space from where Ayurveda is coming. It comes from a space of mercy on human beings, helping them empower because anybody can practice it. Any part of the world can adopt it because the principles of Ayurveda, the theories of Ayurveda are universal.
Back to the question of the purpose that now came into existence about 5000 to 8000 years ago. How would it be relevant today? Did you think of some of the things I suggested and discovered as part of your Ayurvedic journey? Did they feel that they were very ancient and not like, my gosh, how would I do this? Did you ever have that type of situation come up?
R.A.: First, I love everything that you just said and explained because this wasn't discovered in a lab or necessarily with drugs. It's more relevant now than ever because collectively, as the world, we can look after the planet where we are evolving as human beings. We're going back to what was organic and natural because nothing is working right now. Western medicine does have its place, but when you talk about the two types, the mind and the body. From my experience with you and the supplements, I did have to work with my body first because by working on the body with the supplements and food, our mind will feel better. When I lived in L.A., I noticed all the homeless people there are; you can't help but wonder how they can function if they're not eating? If they're not fed? When we look at the United States, the poverty of food, or the lack of food quality, how can people not necessarily think about an antidepressant or medication because they're not giving their body the nutrients it needs? How can anybody be functioning optimally? Those are critical points, 5000 years ago, when we think about it, the food, the quality of everything was pure, and the fact that we came into more urban life, our emotions were going to be the culprit.
Vaidya - It came naturally to you. I guess the answer that you gave me is because you had an open-mindedness. It looks like you never felt this is something ancient and embraced it. Most people come across Ayurveda; that's what happens; they slowly embrace it even before thinking how old or relevant it is?
R.A. - I think the older it is, the more relevant it is.
Vaidya - Yes, because it is time tested and many people have used it. Ayurveda is a time-tested system of healing and self-care.
R.A.: Trust is important for people to hear that it's time-tested when you look at Ayurveda and the 1000s of years, and it still works. Today when we look at that, especially in western thinking, a lot of the time, the things that are FDA-approved causes illness. When you look at Ayurveda, herbs, and the diet, there's nothing in there that will hurt us. Everything needs balance, and we don't want to take too much of one thing with anything we're doing. I would love people to see the history, which is more relevant now because we've done so much damage to our bodies and minds with technology and the exploitation of our planet. It is more relevant now, and we should be grateful to Rishi's(Himalayan Sages) who went and discovered all this for us because they probably knew on some level that 1000s of years in the future, we would need this.
Vaidya - The moment we separate from the planet, the universe, our environment, we get suffocated, and the diseases will take hold of the body. True if you say Organic, biodynamic farming replenishing the soil is a significant issue. It will continue to grow much more prominent in the future as we discover how the world's most fertile soils have depleted using all the unnecessary chemical fertilizers and pesticides and how these have spoiled our water sources. That's a vast topic to discuss, but Ayurveda and the philosophies of Ayurveda help us be part of the greater human universe; it never separates. You separate, you become egoistic, and your ego becomes your expression.
Diseases are waiting on the corner at the moment you put on the egoistic approach. Ayurveda is a universal healing system that heals the planet, the healer. Believe it or not, I get healed whenever I'm sitting with the people who come to see me or when I'm doing their therapies. I've often said that Ayurveda is the only system where one's being healed. The healer both gets the benefit of being healthy and long-living. We are responsible for taking a beautiful put-together universe that never separates us from us. We need to encourage all our listeners to be in the universe or nature, or the circadian rhythms to help long healthy life. It starts with the food, so we go back to the square one that is food; that's where R.A.'s journey began. She started eating in specific ways, and then she started noticing her mind and emotions are working differently. She saw the world upside down doing a headstand. Ayurveda and Yoga are about promoting our health rather than a fact that is cutting short our life. Ayurveda has inspired people to balance life with nature from the last 5000 to 8000 years. Currently, we can adopt Ayurvedic principles. Water has been the same since the universe created the earth and made water available. If water exists and relates to human beings, however long it has been. Ayurveda is a science that is like water, and it is relevant from when it was discovered to the time when it is being looked upon as one of the systems to help human beings to live a long healthy life. If the earth, the sun, the wind are relevant, Ayurveda is also relevant. Textbooks written by the great sages say that Ayurveda has no beginning and no end. It is a knowledge base that is meant for human beings and other forms of life. I wanted to tell you that there is Ayurveda for horses and elephants, which can be used for any form of life. From the time life came into existence, Ayurveda existed. Nobody teaches a dog when to get out there and eat some grass and throw up. It's not that the dog feels so happy that it goes out, and when excited, it eats the grass for a change instead of a bone and throws up. It is the choice of the dog, and it comes as an instinct. It has to chew on some grass, and it doesn't digest it, and it throws up, and all the mucus comes out on it. It doesn't do this all year long but in one specific season. What is the science of Ayurveda or the science of life that exists in the dog's instinct? Ayurveda is here to bring us to that level of understanding of life and brings us to a space where we can heal ourselves.
R.A.: What you also said is vital about animals. I had two dogs and one just recently passed. I've seen that disease in pets is now more prevalent than it was years ago, and that's because the animal and the pet food industry isn't giving the animals what they need. We see it everywhere. Do you think these are things that people search for in reality?
Vaidya - There is depletion of the natural sources in many venues, no question R.A., you're right. The food is depleted, and there are many fully engineered products that we eat. The other day, I read that about 80,000 food chemicals are permitted and can be used in coloring or stabilizing.
R.A.: They were FDA approved?
Vaidya - Yes, I think so. I don't know whether it's specifically approved, but it is supported by food regulating bodies. They may be safe, or nobody will know how long these things will work in our bodies and how they are excreted. For short-duration, they're fine, they go into the body, but we cannot estimate the food pollution or the depletion in these human-created products. Every form of food is depleted, and Ayurveda is here to tell us to eat locally. Eat food that grows things in your backyard if possible, or eat from the farmer's market. Look at the resources that are fresh and alive. That's where the journey of a long, healthy being starts. It starts with choices.
R.A. - I would like people to hear that our society has to change and that change can save us simply by making different choices. If we make different choices, we don't have to wait for politicians to say that things will change politically. Instead, ask ourselves, what can I do to simplify my life, my children's life, and my family's life? We're going to see a gradual change, and nobody's going to lose anything. We're not going to lose our lifestyle and shift it so that we're functioning better and happier. So I would love to see everybody make one contribution a day, whether it's recycling plastic or not using it or just thinking about the choices they're making.
Vaidya - Yes, it is not only self-help but universal help. Those small changes that you want to make in your society, the chain starts with you. The word that I want to use is a gene, sometimes it is good, but the transformation is better because change tends to shift, but the transformation is more permanent because you need to go into a trance to make that form of change. The trance comes from a higher dimension of transformation: you belong to the universe and are responsible for taking care of yourself. The universe is a powerful message that Ayurveda gives to all. R.A., we need to continue with this in our fourth podcast and talk about how Ayurveda extends the universal elements into the body. I also want your input on how you see that happening in your Ayurvedic journey so that all our listeners can embrace the change or transformation?
R.A.: Well, it is a necessary transformation.
Vaidya - Yes, we'll talk about it. I'm so grateful to join this conversation and share your beautiful experience and expertise as a wonderful practitioner. I love every part, discussion, and aspect that we visit and bring this to the listeners and for the greater good.
R.A.: Thank you for having me.
Vaidya - Thank you so much. Namaste.
R.A. - Namaste.
One does not have to wait to become ill to embark on the Ayurvedic journey supported by the 8000-year-old practice and belief of healthy living. So what beautiful role does enthusiasm play in keeping the Ayurvedic journey going?
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