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Ayurveda: What I’ve Learned So Far

If you’ve been following The Sweat Fearlessly Podcast, you might have seen that I’ve been running an Ayurveda series the second half of this season. If you haven’t listened to the podcast yet, you can check it out on Apple, Spotify, Google, Anchor, or anywhere else you get your podcasts.

I have had the pleasure of interviewing four Ayurveda experts thus far, and I have learned so much from each of them. I’ve been really intrigued by how each of them found their way to Ayurveda, how they administer services around Ayurveda, and what simple tips they have shared.

What is Ayurveda?

Each of my guests shared their definition of Ayurveda, and I encourage you to give them a listen to see the subtle differences in how they define Ayurveda, but speaking very generically here, it is the science of life, and it has existed for at least 5,000 years.

Full disclosure: I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I am solely practicing Ayurveda; I visit a Board-certified doctor on the rare occasion that I’m sick or injured and get an annual physical with blood work so that I can look at the actual data around my health. I consider Ayurveda a way for me to stay in balance, eat healthier, practice self-care a bit more frequently, and just generally get more intuned to the goings-on in my life.

Now, let’s dive into what I’ve learned about Ayurveda from my guests.

Ayurveda is accessible.

When I first started diving into Ayurveda this year, it became pretty overwhelming pretty quickly. I learned so much and felt like I was barely scraping the surface – which is true – and didn’t realize that I could break it down at a very basic level to begin practicing Ayurveda. Some very simple practices, such as tongue scraping, drinking turmeric tea before bed, and self-massage (abhyanga) are just a few things that are easy to incorporate into your regular routines. I started with tongue scraping, and I’ve incorporated tons of Ayurvedic practices into my life over the last six months or so. 
If you feel like you’re not sure where to even begin, check out this episode with Dr. Manisha Mittal. We live-streamed this episode on Facebook, taking questions from listeners, and making turmeric tea. I received so much great feedback from this episode, I knew that this series was going to be a hit! Dr. Mittal made things so easy to understand, and she has such a warm personality – I could’ve interviewed her for hours! 

Ayurveda is about finding balance. 

Learning your dosha type is just part of learning about how Ayurveda practices can enhance your life. My main takeaway from all the experts I’ve interviewed and the books I’ve read is that Ayurveda is all about finding balance in your life, whether in your diet, lifestyle, relationships, or any other area of your life. Thinking in this way has helped me find more comfort and peace in my life. This mindset shift has been the greatest gift I’ve received in 2020. Check out this interview with Felipe Munoz to learn more about finding balance, and maybe even meditate with us at the end?

Ayurveda helps you manage stress. 

How? The biggest way I’ve found that Ayurveda has helped me manage stress is unexpected in a way: Creating rituals/routines around self-care has helped me to manage stress and get better sleep. I mean, stress eating is great and all, but have you ever tried dry brushing and followed it up with an oil massage? Just taking those few minutes to breathe, calm my nerves, and focus on something that is all about taking care of myself has done wonders for me!
There are some rituals you can practice that are related to the seasons, and others you can do every day. Check out this interview with Salila Sukumaran for year-round Ayurveda practices, or this interview with Carly Banks to learn some rituals that may help you get through the winter. 

You can eat Ayurvedic foods. 

I’d heard about Ayurvedic herbs and spices in the past, but I genuinely didn’t know what that meant. It’s sort of like when you hear a term, and you can tell it’s associated with something positive, but you have absolutely no idea what it means, but see it everywhere. You know what I mean? That’s how I used to view Ayurveda. I think it’s a good thing, so I’ll buy this tea/spice mix/lotion, but I haven’t the slightest idea what it actually means.

Now that I have a better understanding of what Ayurvedic herbs and spices are, I’m on the lookout for them everywhere! In fact, I am purposefully planning to make more Ayurvedic meals and ordered a bunch of spices, grains, supplements, and herbs that were recommended to me by these Ayurvedic practitioners. 

There are distinct traits related to each dosha, and mine are spot on! 

I’m not going to lie to you all: I have felt personally attacked by my dosha type. I have felt “seen.” I am predominately a pitta dosha, and everything these experts told me has been SPOT. ON. How did they know about that road rage? Yikes!
As I mentioned before, learning your dosha is not the end all be all of Ayurveda, but it does help. I’m almost always Pitta, but I do have some tendencies more towards the Kapha dosha, and it’s helpful for me to know how to bring myself back into balance. Take a dosha test (Salila has one on her site) and let the exploration begin!

You have to mix it up!

This was something that really hit home for me during my interview with Carly. Things that help keep me in balance in the summer don’t necessarily work at keeping me balanced by the time winter rolls around. 
I hadn’t considered the relationship between the doshas and the seasons beyond what I read during my 200-hour yoga teacher training, but now I can’t stop thinking about it! In fact, I recently received an Ayurvedic consultation from Salila through her company, Ayurgamaya, and during the consultation, I shared that I typically get sick twice a year, like clockwork, the same time every single year. She asked me what I change around that time of year, and I said, “nothing.” She helped me realize that by not doing anything different year over year when I know I’m going to get the same upper respiratory infection at the same time of year every year, why would I expect a different result. [lightbulb]

I’ve learned more about myself.

This is my greatest takeaway from this whole experience. I have learned about what keeps me strong and healthy, which habits are working, and which habits need to disappear with all of the other junk in 2020. I have so much more clarity now, and I think it’s going to help me make 2021 my best year ever!

Do you have questions about Ayurveda? Do you know an expert I should interview for the series? Use the comments or send me an email to let me know!

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