With everything going on in the world right now, our heads are swimming with unanswered questions about our health: What kinds of foods should we be eating? How can we best promote our health and wellbeing? We found some answers through Ayurveda (or Ayurvedic Medicine), an ancient healing tradition originating in India thousands of years ago. Ayurveda is one constituent part of a whole body of wisdom that includes yoga. We hope these learnings help you as much as they’ve helped us!
For all things Ayurveda, we turn to world-renowned Ayurvedic physician, educator, and close colleague of Deepak Chopra, Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar, B.A.M.S., M.D. (Ayurveda). Dr. Suhas is one of many experts applying the tools of modern science to evaluate Ayurvedic traditions and to help educate the world about Ayurvedic practices. As a member of our Medical Advisory Board, Dr. Suhas has guided us in incorporating Ayurvedic principles into our products, company culture, and personal lives.
What is Ayurveda?
The primary goal of Ayurveda is to offer holistic practices that help people live long, healthy, and balanced lives without needing to rely only on prescription drugs or invasive surgeries. Whether you are suffering from an acute condition or are thinking preventatively, Ayurveda recognizes and celebrates individuality when prescribing treatments. The underlying notion of Ayurveda is simple: We all have the power to self-heal from within, and we can become our own greatest doctor if we learn to listen to, understand, and provide for our own bodies and minds.
Ayurveda identifies three doshas, or primary essences, that are present in all nature and people: kapha, pitta, and vata. According to Ayurveda, people have an innate inborn constitution made up of unique degrees of each dosha. Interestingly, the qualities and properties of the doshas have been found to correlate with more modern classifications of the human body, such as the somatotypes (endomorphic, mesomorphic, and ectomorphic classifications) identified by American scientist William Herbert Sheldon.
Ayurveda offers that disease and illness originate from imbalanced doshas in the body and mind. If you are suffering from inflammation, stress, or anxiety, you may find solutions to these challenges by addressing imbalances of a particular dosha. If you’re interested in learning more about what Ayurveda can teach you about your body composition, metabolism, digestion, and to learn dosha-specific lifestyle recommendations, we recommend this Dosha Quiz from our friends at Banyan Botanicals.
How can I practice Ayurveda in my daily life?
Regardless of your unique dosha, below are several ways Dr. Suhas recommends incorporating Ayurvedic principles into your daily life. Many of these tips and more can be found in his book, Change Your Schedule, Change Your Life.
1) Align your activity levels, food choices, and sleep with the time of day. Dr. Suhas suggests that the best and most impactful place to start is first to become aware of your circadian rhythms—the biological processes that give us jet lag and make us night owls or early birds. Our “clock genes” control more than we realize, and small changes can make the difference between battling our bodies and effortlessly managing weight, sleep, stress, inflammation, and more. The below tips are specific ways you can start aligning your life with your circadian rhythms.
2) Set a bedtime routine. Sleep is the reset button for the brain and body, and a lack of sleep can cause many health and mood problems. Dr. Suhas recommends going to sleep at the same time every night (ideally 10:30 p.m.) and turning off all electronics by 8:30 pm.
3) Exercise in the morning. Early morning exercise can have a positive effect on your sleep, weight, blood pressure, and stress level. Spending an hour on the treadmill late in the day isn’t going to do as much for you as 20-30 minutes of activity as soon as you wake up. Bonus points for taking it outside where your brain can bathe in natural light and strengthen your body’s natural circadian rhythm.
4) Start a daily herbal remedy ritual. Take a moment each day to nourish your body with the power of herbs. In Ayurveda, herbal remedies are prescribed for all sorts of conditions by helping to bring the mind and body back into balance. Ashwagandha, for example, is an Ayurvedic superfood that has gained popularity recently - for good reason! It’s an adaptogenic herb that can lower cortisol levels and balance thyroid hormones, helping to counteract adrenal fatigue when the body is overtaxed by stress. We prefer our daily dose of Ashwagandha in the form of our Double Chocolate Chip Cookie :)
5) Get serious about rejuvenation and relaxation. Chronic stress can dramatically decrease your quality of life, and lower stress levels are correlated with better health, longevity, weight management and overall happiness. One of the primary benefits of Ayurveda is better stress and anxiety management. Ayurvedic medicine values some good R & R, and is quick to prescribe meditation, yoga, warm baths, or any other form of relaxation to prevent or treat stress.
Fun fact: The tradition of dinacharya (daily routine) is one of the single most powerful Ayurvedic tools for improving overall health and well-being.
We hope Dr. Suhas’ wisdom inspires you to consider new solutions to health challenges you or your loved ones face. Ayurveda is just one of many disciplines that we at Agni look to in order to ensure every one of our products is as effective as it is delicious. Learn more about Agni and our Medical Advisory Board at www.agniforall.com.