Why I’m In Love With Ayurveda!Oct 09, 2022
You may recall that I wrote back in the summer about a course I was taking through Chopra.com to become a Certified Chopra Health (Ayurveda) Teacher. I’m very pleased to announce that I have now completed the program, and I am ready to share what I have learned with all of you!
Ayurveda is one of the oldest health systems in the world.
It is part of the Vedic body of knowledge, one of the most ancient wisdoms known to humanity, originating approximately 5,000 years ago.
The word Ayur-veda is derived from the Sanskrit words, ayus, meaning “life,” and veda, meaning “wisdom” or “science.” Ayurveda is therefore the science of life.
Not sure how to pronounce it? Like this: “Eye-your-veda” (not “R-U-Veda”)
Ayurveda is time-tested. It explains the ecosystem of our body-minds and how we interact with the world around us, using concepts that have survived through millenia because they work.
The key is an understanding of the rhythms of nature–daily, seasonally, in our lifetimes, as well as who we are as living entities in the universe.
Ayurveda offers a rich perspective and practical tools for leading a long, healthy, and happy life. Its purpose is to help us return to our natural state of health, balance, and wholeness.
In Ayurveda, health is not simply the absence of disease, but is a state of expanded consciousness or awareness that opens us to greater well-being, creativity, and joy.
What I have learned, and what the students in my practice classes also discovered, is that the principles of Ayurveda provide not only strategies to keep our minds and bodies healthy, but also a system to incorporate the strategies into our daily lives in a way that makes sense!
We are much more than our physical bodies!
The ancient sages knew that we were multilayered beings existing in harmony with the greater wisdom and timeless forces of Nature. Somehow in our “modern” study of science, this has been forgotten–although more recent “discoveries” of quantum physics now remind us about what the ancient and indigenous cultures have known all along!
Ayurveda is a consciousness-based approach to health and healing. Our essential nature is pure consciousness. The wisdom traditions of the world have a variety of names for consciousness, including pure awareness, spirit, soul, and being. Consciousness has no beginning nor end, no space nor time. It has infinite organizing power, and moves naturally in the direction of growth.
Consciousness is not your mind; instead, it is the unmanifest field of possibilities that gives rise to your body-mind, and everything else in the universe.
Energy and Matter
Modern Science is now beginning to understand the nature of the world in a way that parallels the ideas of the Ayurvedic physicians and sages of ancient times. Your 5 senses are the means for you to interact with the material world, and they tell you that the physical world is solid and non-changing, but this is not the full story!
When viewed through the eyes of a quantum physicist, the essential raw material of the universe is not material. Everything in creation, including your physical body, is made up of subatomic particles moving at lightning speeds through vast, empty spaces.
At a deeper level, even these elementary particles are simply fluctuations of energy and information.
From a quantum physics perspective, what we think is solid matter is really just energy vibrating at a very slow rate.
Everything is energy in motion, whether we can sense it with our 5 senses or not! In other words, the universe is made up of a lot more than just what we see, hear, touch, taste and smell. If you stop for a moment and listen to your inner wisdom, you may realize that this makes sense, that perhaps deep down you already knew this, you had just forgotten it.
Ayurveda, the Science of Life!
Ayurveda is experiential. There is no “one size fits all” prescription for well-being. Instead, every strategy is based on an individual’s mind-body type, and the needs that derive from it.
Ayurvedic practices include meditation, yoga, nutrition, emotional wellbeing, physical activity, breathing practices, interacting with the environment through your senses, daily routines and many other tools and practices for shifting our consciousness towards health and happiness.
I will be writing about each of these in the weeks ahead, including some practical strategies for you to try out.
So why am I in love with Ayurveda? Because it just makes so much sense! The practices allow me to be in touch with all parts of myself: mind, body and spirit. I feel healthier because of my new way of being and I'm sure you will too!
A Sneak Peak:
In Ayurvedic Nutrition, we will talk about Sattvic foods. These are foods that are light and healthy, and are thought to increase energy, happiness, calmness, and mental clarity. Here’s a recipe for a delicious, comforting, Sattvic food combination, Kitchari – Enjoy!
Recipe ~ Kitchari
A traditional Ayurvedic dish made with mung beans/lentils, rice, vegetables, herbs and spices that has a texture similar to porridge. Often used to rest and reset the digestion. A perfect Sattvic combination!
- 1 cup yellow split mung beans (or lentils), soaked overnight or for at least 2 hours
- 1 cup basmati rice, soaked for at least 30 minutes
- 2 tbsp ghee (or coconut oil)
- 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/2 tbsp grated or finely diced fresh ginger
- 7 cups of filtered water
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- Optional veggies: (select 2 or 3 according to your taste)
- ½ cup diced sweet potato
- ½ cup diced butternut squash
- 1 cup chopped mustard greens
- ½ cup chopped kale
- ½ cup chopped swiss chard
- ½ cup cauliflower florets
- ½ cup full-fat coconut milk (optional but recommended for a lovely creamy texture)
- Coconut yogurt, lemon or lime and cucumber slices for serving (optional)
- In a medium bowl, take mung beans and rinse well under running water while gently rubbing them together until the water runs clear. Soak for at least 2 hours.
- In a separate bowl, rinse and soak rice for at least 30 minutes
- In a deep pot over medium heat, melt the ghee or oil of choice
- Add cumin, fennel, mustard seeds and cook, stirring, for a few minutes until the mustard seeds pop and the spices release their aromas into the oil
- Add ginger, stir to combine for 45 seconds
- Add the mung beans and rice along with water and 1 tsp turmeric. Bring to a gentle boil and then simmer with the lid half open for 15 minutes
- While the mixture cooks, peel and chop vegetables of your choice, and add them to the deep pot. Stir and cook with the lid on for another 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables soften and meld together with the rice and lentils
- Add the coconut milk. Stir to combine for a few minutes
- You can add more water to this dish if you prefer a soupier texture. If you prefer a thicker consistency, reduce the quantity of water suggested
- Serve hot or warm with dairy-free yogurt, lemon/lime and cucumber slices or simply enjoy it by itself.
- Optional: Drizzle 1-2 tsp of ghee on top of your dish while serving
- Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- As Kitchari cools, it thickens, so thin it out by adding a bit of water when reheating.
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