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A JOURNEY TO OPTIMAL HEALTH THROUGH THE AYURVEDAKushal ChettyWhat is Ayurveda? Ayurveda is an ancient source of healing. It means ‘science of life’ in Sanskrit and forms part of the ancient texts known as the Vedas or books of knowledge. The Ayurvedic approach to health has two principal pillars:
Preventative – with a focus on anti-aging, increasing vitality/life force or prana; and
Curative – with a focus on treating disease and restoring balance within the individual or homeostasis.
HOW IS IT PRACTICED?When consulting a Ayurvedic Doctor, the history of the patient is considered giving the practitioner a holistic understanding of the individual. Treatment is thereafter prescribed.
From the Ayurvedic perspective, the fundamental building blocks of everything around us, including ourselves, are the five primordial elements – either air, fire water and earth. These are referred to as the Mahabhutas.These 5 elements are then further categorised into 3 combinations or ‘doshas’:
Vatta – (Earth + Air)
Pitta – (Fire + Water)
Kapha – (Earth + Water)
EARTHWINDFIREWATERIdeally one wants to be Tridoshic – a balance of all three types, but this is rare in the context of our modern world. We are born with a particular combination of these three types, usually one type being dominant and one recessive.
Understanding the elemental constitution (Prakriti) of the person is vital in treating imbalances and disease within that person. After such a diagnosis the Ayurvedic treatment will begin.
There are numerous practices within the Ayurveda for treating a variety of conditions. One of the key practices, known as the Panchakarma (five actions), incorporates both the preventative and curative approaches to treat the ailments of the patient as well as improve their overall health and wellbeing.
The five Panchakarma actions are:
Consultation – (understanding one's doshas and history)
Diet (prescribing a diet to address imbalances)
Detox (to eliminate buildup of toxins in the body)
Ayurvedic massage (depending on needs various types are available)
Ayurvedic treatments are geared towards supporting the individual’s physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.These practices have been used for thousands of years and countless people have experienced its benefits.A bit about my journey into AyurvedaIn my childhood I learned some of the basic Ayurvedic principals from my grandmother. She would always treat our ailments with what was growing in the garden, or she would create a tincture of herbs in the kitchen. Through osmosis this understanding of herbs became second nature. At the age of 12 I traveled to India where I attended a Vedic school for the next 3 years. These early experiences formed the foundation of my understanding of alternative medicine.
I then met Claire Stephenson, a long practicing Ayurvedic practitioner, who along with Dr. Pooja and Myron Krost, a co-owner of The Green Side Pharmacy, encouraged me to further my Ayurvedic studies. Building on my organic understanding of the Ayurveda I undertook and completed my training with them.
With the assistance of The Green Side, we will be establishing an Ayurvedic practice at their Greenside branch. We will be offering these treatments at The Green Side in partnership with Doctor Pooja, a B.A.M.S Ayurvedic Doctor based in Rishikesh, Claire Stephenson a qualified Yoga, massage and Ayurvedic practitioner, and myself. From my experiences, I truly believe that the wisdom of the Ayurveda can greatly improve the quality of life of anyone embarking on this journey.