What on Earth is Ayurveda: 5 Ayurvedic practices to balance body and mind
Anyone in the spiritual community has likely heard the term “Ayurveda” thrown around. You might even know it has something to do with food. But how many of us actually know why it’s so beneficial and how it works?
One of the (many) benefits of signing up for a Costa Rica yoga retreat is getting the chance to detox and with holistic food that nourishes and heals the body. Well… Ayurvedic principles take this a step farther.
Ayurveda was developed in India thousands of years ago and exists to reinforce a healthy mind-body connection. This is how Deepak Chopra explains this healing practice in his article “What is Ayurveda?”:
The two main guiding principles of Ayurveda are 1) the mind and the body are inextricably connected, and 2) nothing has more power to heal and transform the body than the mind. Freedom from illness depends upon expanding our own awareness, bringing it into balance, and then extending that balance to the body.
So, the question remains: how does Ayurveda work and what can you do to implement these healing practices?
1. Discover your prakruti and dosha.
“The prakruti, established at conception, is viewed as a unique combination of physical and psychological characteristics that affect the way each person functions.” Your unique prakruti is comprised of different balances of the three doshas: pitta, vata, kapha. These doshas have a specific impact on the body. Pitta represents the fire element, vatta is space and air, and kapha is comprised of water and earth elements. You can take this quiz to get an idea of what your dominant doshas may be; however, only a trained Ayurvedic practitioner, like Serena Arora at Peace Retreat, can accurately determine your prakruti and dosha profile.
2. Eat mindfully.
Eat colorful foods that are seasonal and appropriately prepared. Ayurveda practices encourage us to eat the six tastes (sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent) with each meal and to slow down the eating process, which aids in digestion.
Aim to get 6 to 8 hours of sleep every night, allowing your body to rest and repair. If you’re not waking up energized and rested, that’s likely a sign that you’re not getting adequate sleep to enhance mind-body health.
Find ways to move your body that feel comforting. Try asking your body, “how do you feel about this?” when engaging in a new activity or exercise program. And allow yourself permission to tune into your body and offer it the type of movement it needs, whether that be a meditative walk, a yoga session, or weight lifting.
5. Connect to nature
“As nature made you, what you need and what you want shouldn’t be in conflict. When you’re in balance, you naturally desire only that which nurtures your health and life… When you slip out of tune with nature, your desires become non-nurturing and you may crave junk food, neglect to sleep and exercise, and indulge in compulsive behaviors. Over time, a little imbalance can become a disorder and then a disease, bringing on more stress and neglect.”
I know this can all see overwhelming, but when you have the help of an Ayurvedic specialist in a calm, nourishing and peaceful environment like Peace Retreat Costa Rica, the benefits of Ayurvedic living are undeniably life changing and easy to implement.
For more information on Serena Arora, Peace Retreat’s on-site Ayurvedic Health Practitioner, and her Ayurveda-inspired yoga teacher trainings, click the image below or go to www.peaceretreatcostarica.com/ayurveda.