A tradition of holistic health exists that celebrates individuality and rejects the idea that ‘one size fits all’: Ayurveda. The Science of Life, Ayurveda, does away with the universal paradigms of “healthy” and “unhealthy”. Ayurveda confirms what we feel intuitively – the road to health is not the same for you as it is for me. No matter how often we try to look and be like others, time and again, the truth smacks us in the face: there is only one of you and one of me and balance and harmony look different in each of us!
I often wonder why we let ourselves manipulate by the news or women’s magazines – and sit and nod when one article after another about health and new research is published? One week we’re told that it is unhealthy to drink coffee, and the next that it is healthy. We become swamped with all the “new” healthy things we are supposed to do. Why do we follow the changing winds when we may not like it or it doesn’t feel right? I think many of us are drowning in the everyday comings and eagerness to perform – which I allow myself to call “the struggle”. And in the heat of battle, we may have lost confidence in ourselves or have become lost and we end up listening to others.
When I first became involved in the world of health through yoga, I focused on all those things which were not considered “healthy”. I almost developed multiple allergies by thought alone. My eyes itched just by looking at bread and I was sure that I could not tolerate milk and sugar. I eventually figured out that I could rid myself of these obsessions and live a more balanced life on all levels – when I listened (and continue to listen) to myself.
Our children know completely what they want to eat, play and do. It is when we begin to listen to something outside ourselves – commercials on TV, well-meaning parents or the smart kid in kindergarten – that it starts to go wrong.
It is when we are told that it is too naive, reckless or risky to go after our dreams and believe we have something special that we really lose our footing and connection to who we are.
Ayurveda tells us that all life consists of a special combination of three life energies, called doshas: vata, pitta and kapha. You absolutely don’t need knowledge of this theory to live a life in balance. However, you can get more clarity about your specific combination of these energies and thus support the return to balance by taking a dosha test or doing a pulse diagnosis, but basically it will not be new information for you. You are the captain of your own life and the only one who can really feel your way.
Ayurveda is a deeper and more complex wisdom than just a “three type personality test”. It’s about gaining insight and understanding into how the energies express themselves in nature, in and around you. This understanding becomes a kind of map or GPS, which you can navigate to lead you back on course – back to you. In that way, you can return to a life that fully reflects the person you are and where you master your own health.
According to Ayurveda, there is no right or wrong way to live – there’s one way for each of us. Once you learn the principles and begin to experiment with them, you awaken your own senses. And, you will begin to live, act and note your truth, instead of following the dictates of the latest trends.