Do you want to feel balanced and take a holistic approach to your health? Perhaps you have underlying concerns that nothing seems to be able to nourish?
Ayurveda is the ancient holistic healing system that originates in India and is over 5000 years old. Ayurvedic philosophies offer us opportunities to step back and take a mind-body approach to our health so that we can better understand our needs and how we can use the laws of nature to support us.
What is Ayurveda?
Simply put, Ayurveda is composed of two Sanskrit words – Ayu meaning ‘life’, and Veda meaning 'knowledge of science.' Together, they mean 'the science of life.'
In India, Ayurveda is thought of as the mother of all health practices as it is one of the oldest systems of healthcare in the world. Ayurveda offers a holistic knowledge of life that can teach us how to live in tune with nature so that we can elevate ourselves into higher realms of happiness - which is the ultimate goal in life, right?
As an Ayurvedic Practitioner and Yoga Therapist, having founded two companies based on Ayurvedic principles; Sattva Soul Retreats and Sattva Soul Organic Ayurvedic Supplements, I have found that Ayurveda is the science of helping people to understand how to live a balanced life at every level – from the physical to the mental and emotional.
Ayurveda takes a preventative approach to health, providing tools to stay balanced so that you can live a healthy and fulfilled life. Using a preventative approach, people are empowered to address their health issues, looking at all aspects that might be contributing, allowing them greater self-knowledge in the process.
The philosophy of Ayurveda is centered around three primary energies, known in Sanskrit as doshas. The word dosha itself means 'fault' in Sanskrit, so we want to balance these energic 'faults' in our physical, mental, and spiritual bodies. The three doshas are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha – which are thought to regulate every physiological and psychological characteristic, from circulation to digestion, nervous system function, muscles and bones, and beyond. Balancing our doshas is key to keeping our body in harmony.
Now, I hear you say, how do we keep the three doshas in balance? First, you need to understand your own body makeup. According to some texts, everyone has their own unique constitution (or Prakriti), given to us at birth (or conception). As we go through life, we accumulate imbalances in the body from leading a lifestyle that comes with daily stressors or poor nutrition. This can cause a doshic imbalance and takes us away from our unique, ideal nature and balance. This creates a Vikruti, a state of imbalance in the body, and this is where we begin in Ayurveda by looking at the current Vikruti and doshic imbalance.
Many internal and external factors can affect our constitution: emotional state, diet, the season and weather, physical trauma, work, and family relationships. Once we understand that these factors can cause a constitutional imbalance, we can learn how to change them or minimize their effects.
Understanding the doshas:
Vata, Pitta, and Kapha all have different qualities. Let’s break them down so we can take a look at each.
Vata - The Creative
Elements: Air and Space
Vata represents momentum and air in the body. In Ayurvedic philosophy, Vata is responsible for all bodily activities and sensations. It controls the movement of blood through the arteries and veins, breathing, the delivery of nutrients to cells, and the removal waste products.
In balance, it supports flexibility, freedom, and creativity.
Out of balance, it can lead to fear, sleep disruption, and feelings of overwhelm .
Pitta - The Leader
Elements: Fire and Water
In Ayurvedic philosophy, Pitta represents metabolism. It governs digestion and the transformation of nutrients into biologically usable forms. It also imparts the capacity to absorb ideas and bestows intelligence and an enthusiasm for life.
In balance, it supports understanding, leadership, and intelligence.
Out of balance, it can lead to anger, hate, and jealousy.
Kapha - The Nurturer
Elements: Earth and Water
In Ayurvedic philosophy, Kapha provides substance and support, giving physical and psychological strength and stability to the mental and physical body. It supports our natural healing process for a thriving healthy body.
In balance, it promotes love, calmness, and forgiveness.
Out of balance, it leads to depression, greed, and jealousy.
Once you know your dosha imbalance you are set because the most powerful thing about Ayurveda as a health practice is that you can support your holistic health from the inside-out and then use its methodology as a preventative approach for your wellbeing.
Now, I hope some of that has resonated with you. Still, I'd like to share some great tips to get you started on your Ayurvedic journey with actionable tools you can use today, and one of those first things is to take control of your daily rituals. Daily rituals in Ayurveda are known as Dinacharya's, which are vital in harmonising your mind, body, and spirit.
Here are some simple tools I use with my clients as a beautiful place to start:
Vata Dosha Dinacharya - Aim: Grounding and calming
- Wake between 5am, and 6am
- Alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodhana) for 5-10 minutes to awaken the mind and balance the energy
- Slowly move the body in whatever way feels good for you
- Asanas to practice: cat/cow, downward-facing dog, forward folds, and child's pose followed by sun salutations
- To finish, spend a peaceful 10 minutes meditating and journaling or reading
- This will help set you up for the day in a calm and grounded state
- In the evenings, unwind with yin or restorative yoga followed by Yoga Nidra. This will help you release any stress you've accumulated throughout the day
- Go to bed before 10pm and take Sattva Soul Organic Ashwagandha, as the Vata time of day is at night, and the Ashwagandha will calm the mind and help with a good night’s sleep
Pitta Dosha Dinacharya - Aim: Cooling and balancing
- Wake between 5–6am
- A 30-minute morning practice that allows the body to stretch and relax will create a calm state
- Asanas to practice: backbends, supine twists, sun salutations, half-moon, bridge, shoulder stand, and child's pose
- To finish, spend time calmly meditating and journaling
- Take Sattva Soul Organic Ashwagandha capsules to support balanced hormones and stress response, which is at its peak for the day between 8-9am
- In the evenings, a cooling meal and meditative walk in the garden will help calm and ground Pitta dosha
- Before bed, practice Nadi Shodhana and a silent mediation
- Turn the lights out by 10pm
Kapha Dosha Dinacharya - Aim: Invigorating and energising
- Wake at 5am
- It's important to get your body moving as soon as you wake up. Kapha types tend to enjoy relaxing and stillness, which can cause further imbalance, so movement is key
- Practice a fire breath to awaken the body before moving onto your asana practice
- Asanas to practice: warrior one, two, and three, which bring energy and lightness to the legs and upper body. Backbends to help release any congestion in the chest area (common for Kapha), and a fast round of sun salutations to energise, plus inversions to increase circulation
- These asanas are recommended to get the body and blood flowing in the morning
- Take Sattva Soul Organic Ashwagandha capsules between 10am-2pm to support cortisol balance and energy levels
- In the evening, practice a humming breath before bed to soothe the body and aid with sound sleep
- Kapha doshas need less rest than other doshas, but they tend to love it the most. So, make sure the rest you’re getting is restorative and intentional
These daily Dinacharya combined with a stress support supplement, like Sattva Soul Organic Ashwagandha, are wonderful ways to bring balance to your dosha and stay in alignment. We live in such a hectic modern world, where stress support is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Along with your daily routine, Ashwagandha is a nourishing way to support your nervous system and stay grounded.
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha comes from a family of plants classified as Adaptogens. It is an ancient Indian adaptogenic herb that has been used in Ayurveda for centuries for stress, sleep, and nervous system support. It is also known as 'Indian Ginseng,' or the scientific name 'Withania somnifera.' More recent research is showing promise for Ashwagandha’s ability to support a good night’s sleep, bring back balance from burnout, and support feelings of overwhelm.
From both the promising research and years of usage, Adaptogens, like Ashwagandha, support the body adapt to stress, so when taken in a pure and organic form, they support balanced hormones like cortisol (the body's stress hormone), a good night’s sleep, and blood sugar balance. And those two factors alone will help you live a life that's more in alignment with your Dharma (which in Ayurveda is your life's true purpose.), and the more in alignment you are, the greater the quality of your life experience. If you’d like to give Ashwagandha a go for yourself to bring back balance, you can find it here at HealthPost.
I wish you the best on your wellness journey and am grateful to be part of it in this small way. If you need Ayurvedic support, you can contact me directly if you would like to book an Ayurvedic consult and dosha diagnosis at www.sattvasoulsupplements.com