Crash Course in Ayurveda

Photo of Joanna Manning

Joanna Manning will be conducting a workshop on Ayurveda on June 9, 2012. Click on her photo to learn more about Joanna.

Ayurvedic Yoga is new to me. I have been acquainted with yoga postures ever since I was in high school (when, I became fascinated by a book called Yoga for Americans by Indira Devi) and have practiced the postures on and off for more than 45 years, but I never investigated Ayurveda. Tidewater will be hosting a workshop on this type of yoga on June 9, 2012 and so I am giving myself a crash course to see what it can do for my health.

Yoga is derived through the Sanskrit word for union and refers to the union of the individual soul with the universal soul, and of the body with the mind.

Modern is medicine catching up to this view and realizing that health isn’t just about the physical body. In any person the body, mind and spiritual essence are intertwined and must be dynamically balanced to generate true health. This is where Ayurvedic Yoga for health and healing comes in.

Ayurveda is an ancient Hindu system of medicine developed over 5,000 years ago in India that recognizes three basic physical/psychological types or doshas: Kapha, Pitta and Vata. Most people are a combination of all three but one type will predominate.

Kapha people are earthy, slower moving with good endurance and of solid build. They gain weight easily and have developed muscles. Pitta types are fiery, muscular, athletic and extroverted. Vata individuals are linked to the element of air and are energetic, restless and are thin with little muscle.

If you are healthy and balanced and in touch with who you are, you tend to be attracted to food and activities that complement your nature. The trick is to stay that way, however.

Ayurveda is a system that had it all worked out a long time ago and recommends different lifestyle activities, yoga postures and diet depending on which type you are, so it’s easy to stay on track. Filling out a questionnaire can help you determine your type.

Intuitively, I think I am predominantly Vata with some Kapha influences. So, according to Ayurvedic philosophy I should eat foods that are warm and moist. Sweet, sour and salty will calm excess Vata that can cause pain and nervousness. Cooked whole grains, root vegetables and savoury soups are good for me.

In terms of yoga postures, seated forward folds will calm, warrior poses will build strength and stability and restorative poses will encourage deep relaxation. Massage is good for me too, but I know that. I love massage and it’s one reason I became a massage therapist!

Generally the benefits of yoga include:

Strengthened intellect, increased efficiency and less stress

Peacefulness, concentration and mental steadiness

Feelings of well-being and vitality

Improved circulation and detoxification

A greater awareness of the body and mind’s genuine needs

Deeper consciousness, integrity and joy

Increased health and help with chronic illness Ayurveda gives a personalized, specific, consistent blueprint to make all of these health benefits happen.

Note: You can register for the workshop on our Facebook page. As an added bonus, I’ll be cooking lunch for the three doshas.

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