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What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is an ancient form of holistic medicine from India, the word ayurveda literally means "the science of living a long life."

Ayurveda is not just a system of medicine Ayurveda is a lifestyle. Thousands of years ago the ancient rishis of India discovered that each and every human being is made of the five elements Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Ether, they also discovered that not only are we made of these elements but that we have unique combinations of these elements with some being more prominent than the others, they called these elemental combinations "doshas."    

The building blocks of life

Everything in the manifest world is made up of different combinations of the five elements of ether, air, fire, water, and earth. These are the building blocks of life, What makes Ayurveda unique is that not only does it recognize the five elements it recognizes the unique combinations of the elements within us which makes up your unique constitution called a dosha,  the word dosha is Sanskrit and it translates to "that which can cause problems". Vata dosha is a combination of ether and air, Pitta is a combination of fire and water, and kapha is water and earth. These doshas have a particular home within your body and each has a specific set of qualities. kapha lives in the upper body (sinuses, mouth, lungs, stomach) its qualities are cold, wet, slow, soft. kapha is the mucous membranes of the lungs, stomach, and the saliva in our mouths. Pitta dosha lives in the small intestine, pitta is hot, sharp, oily, and acidic in nature. when we excessively consume anything matching the particular qualities of one dosha, if for instance a kapha person eats a lot of yogurt that particular dosha can build up in the tissues causing it to spill over and once it spills over it can move throughout the body, it will always take the path of least resistance and will always settle in the weakest part of the body so a minor condition could become a major issue quite quickly, this is why the doshas are called that which can cause problems and the doshas are seen as the main causative factor in the disease process.

The Doshas

The doshas are the primary forces and subtle substances behind all physiological and psychological functions, they produce the body and are the causative factors in the disease process.

 Vata dosha is the biologic humor of space and air. its qualities are dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, and mobile. Vata dosha is responsible for all physiological processes, it governs the breath, sensory and nervous systems, because of vatas involvement with the nervous system vata type disorders have more severe implications than pitta or kapha as it will affect the entire body through the nervous system.

Pitta dosha is the biological humor of fire and water the fire here is a liquid fire like acid, fire by itself can't exist in the body it would destroy it, so we can say fire contained by water. Pittas qualities are hot, sharp, slightly oily, light, mobile, and liquid. pitta governs digestion, temperature, sight, hunger, and the luster of our skin.

Kapha dosha is the biological humor of water and earth kapha is the glue that holds us together it is cold, wet, sticky, heavy and dull. Kapha is the mucus lining of the stomach and lungs, the saliva in our mouths that helps to break down food and the mucus that traps invaders in our noses. Think of clay when clay has a good wet to dry ratio it is moldable and mobile, too much water and you have a gray puddle you cant do anything with, not enough water it becomes brittle and breaks easily.

 All three doshas are needed in the body vata is movement and energy, Responsible for the coordination of all of the bodies functions, Pitta is our inner fire, our radiance, through which we digest impressions, thoughts, air and food, while kapha is our vigor, the internalized essence of digested air, food, mental impressions, and our mental endurance.  

Keeping the doshas in balance is important and doshic balance can be maintained easily by knowing and following your dincharya (daily recommended routine) and ritucharya (seasonal routine).

As an Ayurvedic Wellness Consultant, I educate and I coach. I educate through group workshops, seminars and retreats, while coaching takes place one on one. 

How do I assess the doshas  and decide upon treatments? 

*please note that I use the term "diagnosis" not in the sense of a particular disease or illness but rather as a diagnosis of a particular doshic imbalance. 

Most westerners are familiar with visiting a healthcare provider when we feel ill. The provider diagnoses the sickness and determines which pathogens, such as bacteria or virus, caused it. The treatment is then geared toward selecting a technique to battle those pathogens. The same medicines, procedures, and doses are often used for multiple people battling the same illness.

An Ayurvedic diagnosis, and subsequent treatments, differ from this Western process in that the diagnosis is made not only on the disease level (called roga), but also on the individual level (called rogi). The exhaustive examination helps me to individualize or tailor treatments for each person.

To make a diagnosis, I use a method called rogi-roga pareeksha, which combines disease analysis with deep examination of each individual.

The Ayurvedic consultant considers the whole human being, believing that people have within them the required energy to bring the body back to a healthy, or balanced, state.

So instead of focusing on a treatment or medicine to heal the illness, the Ayurvedic consultant concentrates on the techniques that will strengthen the healthy elements inherent in every body, which will in turn help the individual to recover. This tenet is called svabhavoparamavada, and it refers to the Ayurvedic ideal of helping the body call upon its own energy to heal. Treatments and medicines are a part of this process, but act only to support the body's self-reparation, rather than cause it.

Ayurvedic Wellness Coaching

The first step is the initial consultation. This is where we discuss your wellness goals, discover your unique Ayurvedic constitution and assess for constitutional imbalances  I'll use the information gathered here to create your unique ayurvedic wellness plan. 

What happens during the initial consultation?

Ayurvedic consultations generally consist of three parts:

1.Observation (Darshan): Evaluates general physical health by looking at the individual and observing his/her movements, body contour, color of the skin and eyes, facial lines and ridges, shape of the nose, and qualities of the lips, hair, and nails.

2.Touch (Sparsha): Touch evaluates tissue qualities, including blood pressure. There is special focus on the pulse, tongue, nails, and speech.

3.Questions (Prashna): Asking about complaints and symptoms, as well as the duration of discomfort and disease progression. Mood and mental state are evaluated here as well.

Next is the follow up consultation. Here I'll go over your wellness plan with you step by step, discuss any concerns you may have and address any obstacles you feel you may encounter, as well as any additional supports or treatments that may benefit you.

Provide ongoing support and education, Through weekly or bi-weekly meetings to assess your progress and modify your plan as needed, additional treatments such as massage, reflexology, yoga, meditation, auricular medicine, and herbal supplements may be recommended. 

Education is necessary to maintain good health through ayurveda, it's important that you know everything you need to know about your particular dosha so you can maintain your health for the rest of your life.

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