Improving Sustenance with Ayurveda
In the fast-paced lifestyle of the West, we may find great difficulty in slowing down enough to be aware of our surroundings. This reminds me of being at a Fair, spinning around and around on a dizzying ride where amidst the spin, you are able to acclimate to your surroundings, but when you come to a halt, you find yourself still spinning.
Giving ourselves time to quiet our minds, we often find an influx of thoughts and emotions that seem to be without control. All these things can contribute to an overall sense of instability. We know that some aspects of yoga can aid in our sense of rooting and foundation. When we allow ourselves to feel that groundedness, we often find the space to evaluate not just where we are presently, but also where we are coming from and where we are going. This is where sustenance comes in and becomes very important.
Ayurveda, defined as 'knowledge of life' is a systematic model for living which is personal and accessible for everyone. The ideas are simple to understand and the application is as easy as remembering to brush your teeth every day. "First and foremost Ayurveda teaches us awareness, it helps a person get in touch with their current state of health. Very often, people aren't tuned in to signs of failing health and can t interpret what their body is trying to tell them. This is especially important when the signs are subtle, of course, because it is in the early stage of dis-ease that we can most readily reverse it. As a result, once a person can begin to pay attention to, and analyze some of the messages the body is sending about its current state of health, things begin to unfold very quickly in a positive way." says Kristen Rinaldi, RYT, graduate of the Classical Yoga Teacher Training program, and certified Ayurvedic Consultant by the Kripalu School of Ayurveda, in a recent interview.
When the human body is looked at in parts, we only address one part of the issue if we are dealing with illness or imbalance. Looking at a balance posture like the tree, if we only look at the feet when feeling imbalanced in the posture, we may not see that the hips are not centered or that the mind is not concentrated, which may be causing the imbalance. We can take that model and apply it to the skin. If we find the skin ailing, all the lotions and treatments are likely only addressing the outcome of the imbalance, but not addressing the cause. Painting over a rusty panel on an automobile doesn't fix the rust . . . it just covers it up temporarily.
"There is room for many methods of healing in our world," says Kristen, "some methods work for different people in different ways, and some different methods work for people at different stages of their lives and state of health. Between Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, Yoga, Allopathic medicine, Homeopathy, Complementary & Alternative Medicine, various types of energy work, and so on, any of the perspectives from these methods should be considered. It is critical to be educated about how the various methods attempt to heal illness, to understand what is available to us when we are sick, and to advocate for one's own health as much as possible.""Specifically to Ayurveda, I think the most moving perspective that stands out for me is the concept that through the practice of Ayurveda, very often we can avoid getting sick in the first place! Clearly this is optimal. It frees us up to enjoy excellent health and it removes a whole layer of worry and confusion, such as trying to understand how medicines interact, or suffering from accompanying side effects, etc. This is a concept with a lot of freedom to it."
Ayurveda and Yoga are often referred to as 'sister sciences'. Ayurveda can be practiced without Yoga. "However, in my humble opinion, one will reap greater benefits by regularly incorporating the two as often as possible." says Kristen, "Yoga asana benefits us by keeping us supple, limber, and mentally focused, to name just a few. Ayurveda relies, in part on Yoga to support the physical body, the physical routine, and the calming of the mind. These are just some of the concepts that Yoga and Ayurveda share that contribute to optimal health!"
"The draw to study Ayurveda came from wanting to rectify my own health issues and, because my father had passed away at a very young age, I wanted to learn a way to try to break genetic health patterns for myself, and for my family. My personal goal in studying Ayurveda was to learn a way to achieve a long life combined with quality of life, not just longevity for the sake of longevity, but to achieve a full life of vibrant health. I also wanted to understand more about the connection between physical and spiritual health, that is to say the way our lifestyle practices and habits, which can be driven by both our mind and by our physical tendencies, affect our health overall." says Kristen.
So what has drawn you to Ayurveda?