These days with so much information available about every diet, every individual food, every additive and every form of exercise, it’s easy to become obsessed and end up a victim of information overload. To how do you separate the useful information from the irrelevant and find a path that resonates with what you really need?
Also, very often information from respected sources seems to conflict with information from other respected sources, which makes it even harder to decide what’s valuable to you. So what’s going on?
Well, all expert writers will be writing from their own particular standpoint, their own sphere of learning, and their own particular body type and imbalances, (whether present or past), however hard they try to cater to the needs of others. There’s nothing wrong with this; it’s just how it happens, and it doesn’t make any of these experts any less, well, expert in their fields…
However, it’s up to us to find our own unique body types so we can sift through the information and find what we need at any given time. One expert’s knowledge might be exactly what you need at the moment, but don’t just discard the writings of another who you might not completely agree with, because this time next year, with a different set of physical imbalances, and a move to a hotter country (for example), what they had to say might be just what you need.
This is where the ancient Indian science of Ayurveda comes in. The superb classification system that Ayurveda runs on – the three ‘doshas’, vata, pitta and kapha – covers absolutely everything in creation. Once certain simple principles are learned, it’s easy to see whether a food, or an exercise, or a seasonal change, or even your preferred bedtime, falls under one of these doshas.
If you have an imbalance of vata dosha, which might perhaps manifest as restlessness, weight loss, headaches, poor sleeping patterns etc, you can easily turn your attention to the things that balance vata – regular routine, good sound sleep, warm nourishing food, gentle exercise, meditation and less stimulants and TV.
If you have a kapha imbalance, perhaps showing up as sluggishness, weight gain, sinus and allergy problems etc, you can choose foods and activities that reduce kapha, such as more salads, vigorous exercise, getting up early, etc etc.
So, what Ayurveda does is help you to gain more intuition about your own health by generally simplifying things down to just three key choices. Once you understand these principles, you can reduce the whole chaotic search for the next ideal diet or lifestyle down to whether it supports the balancing of the dosha that you need to balance at the time.
For example, you are trying to decide whether you need to follow a low-carb diet full of good fats, raw veggies and salads, or to follow a more regular diet, just watching calories and making sure the ingredients are wholesome. Which do you choose?
Well I don’t know, because I’m not you!
YOU are the one who can answer that, when you know exactly what you are trying to achieve in the context of the Ayurvedic system, and then it all becomes clear.
Of course the ultimate goal is just to pick and choose foods and activities that are best for you purely from your own intuition, which when developed is the most accurate way to stay on the right path. But for the moment, while you are developing that intuition, don’t get distracted and bogged down in details about the effects of that tiny amount of one ‘E’ number on your packet of soup, or the exact effect that pasteurised and homogenised milk has on the endocrine system. Let Ayurvedic principles help you to see the big picture and keep your sanity… and in the long run, your health!
For more info see my book, Pure Activity.
Originally posted 2014-02-09 14:32:20.