Ayurveda is an ancient practice, with centuries of written history detailing medicinal traditions and practices. While not widely practiced in the United States, there are nonetheless pockets of practitioners to be found in most regions. If you’re acquainted with the supplement space, you may already know that many of these herbs and concoctions (like those from VPK Maharishi Ayurveda) have been passed down from Ayurveda’s ancient history.
However, Ayurveda is much more than supplements. As beneficial as Ayurvedic selections from Motherlove or Banyan Botanicals may be, practices like meditation and exercise are just as important for the fully realized practice of Ayurveda. Let’s take a look at the benefits you might be able to expect if you were to incorporate Ayurvedic practices into your own life.
Ayurveda’s Holistic View of Health
Western medicine tends to focus on cures, rather than methods that work to promote the health of the body and mind each day.
As such, practitioners of Ayurveda are urged to engage in simple healthy practices such as walking. Walking has always been an important building block in Ayurvedic tradition. As simple and fundamental as breathing (another behavior Ayurveda wishes us to master), walking is good for the circulation, respiration, posture, balance, and muscular development. People able to walk long distances are likely to experience better health overall, and the slower pace of walking provide peace of mind when compared to something else, like going for a long drive.
Similarly, Ayurveda would have us focus on the needs of our own unique bodies. Does your body tend toward dryness or oiliness? Does your metabolism tend toward heat or coolness? By determining your own physical tendencies toward these basic poles, Ayurveda can direct you to specific practices that will improve your individual health. Breathing and meditation exercises can be adapted to any unique characteristics of body or mind, and traditional Ayurvedic nutrition is a natural next step.
Nutrition and yoga go hand in hand in the Ayurvedic tradition. Yoga challenges the body and mind to stretch beyond its normal limitations, though the challenge is always gentle and scales to the skill of the individual. Likewise, Ayurvedic nutritional practices seek to gently supplement the diet of the individual, providing a bounty of vitamins and natural nutriment through delicious ingredients made of herbs, nuts, fruit, and natural substances like honey.
In all of these cases, the Ayurvedic practices we’ve mentioned are preventative. Of course, Ayurveda can also be restorative, but this is not its primary function. Ayurveda was developed with the hope that its practitioners would live long, healthy lives.
The Benefits of Ayurveda
While Ayurveda can’t prevent all suffering, due to the unpredictable nature of our bodies, mind, and world, Ayurveda can provide some control over our internal circumstances, so to live within the world with the greatest amount of dignity, purpose, and peace as possible.
Ayurveda’s participants have lived all throughout history in every circumstance imaginable. Not all of them have lived perfect lives free of pain, but in every case, Ayurveda provided a helping hand in making personal progress. In this way, Ayurveda isn’t the secret of life. It’s simply a path forward. Because all lives are different, your results on this path may vary. But you can bet that your time spent following Ayurveda will be better than having no path at all.