Holistic Lifestyle and Ayurveda

Living a holistic lifestyle has far-reaching benefits that are both physical and mental. Its roots are found in ancient natural healing systems. The whole philosophy and practice of nature cure is built on basic principles. It basically means living your life and healing your body through natural remedies. What is unique about the holistic way of living is, instead of looking at diseases and health issues as a physical state, you observe your entire body and your surroundings as a whole, and try to understand the cause of the problem.

Nature cure is a constructive method of treatment which aims at removing the basic cause of disease, instead of curing only the symptoms. Bottom of Form

The background of the sickness can be emotional or psychological, not just physiological. Therefore, through a more holistic lifestyle, you are more prepared for challenges in life as you observe your circumstances and surroundings fully.

Nature cure, Ayurveda and Mindfulness are the most powerful tools applied in Holistic Lifestyle.

Ayurveda, often called the sister science of yoga, is an ancient Indian practice, roughly translated to ‘the science of life’. Knowledge of Ayurveda can be found in the Vedas and has been passed down orally, with experts tracing its existence back as far as 5,000 years ago. It is considered to be the root of many modern naturopathic practices we are familiar with today, for example, herbal medicine and aromatherapy.

Nature cure and Ayurveda is unique among the many options consumers have today. Their body-mind-spirit approach is not only entirely holistic in its application, but also emphasizes personal empowerment. Thus, the aim of a holistic health coach is to teach her/his client to heal themselves.

The practice of holistic health care involves using preventative methods to ensure optimal health and then treating imbalances (and diseases) when they arise. This is in contrast to Western medicine, which typically takes only a reactionary approach. Ayurveda, for instance, is a practice that takes a natural approach to healing and wellbeing—using diet, lifestyle changes, herbs and the mind to create and/or restore balance to individuals.

Ayurveda teaches that each of us is born with a Prakriti—a specific combination of the five elements, which is our natural state. These elements (i.e., ether, air, fire, water, earth) appear in us as doshas (i.e., constitutions) and each of us will have one or two primary doshas that determine our physical appearance, thought patterns and behaviors. Doshas can also be referred to as the mind-body type. The three doshas are: vata (ether and air), pitta (fire and water) and kapha (earth and water). In Ayurveda, it is important to first identify our Prakriti and then work to restore balance.

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Vata

Vata, made up of ether and air, represents movement and change. In our bodies, vata controls the movement of bodily processes and our breathing. People with vata as their dominant dosha typically display the following characteristics:

  • Lean or slim build
  • Dry skin
  • Cracking joints
  • Low tolerance for cold temperatures
  • Active minds
  • Busy, on-the-go lifestyles
  • Creative type
  • Adaptable to change
  • Poor memory
  • Easily fatigued
  • Restless
  • Great at starting new things—less good at sticking to them!
  • Susceptible to air-related diseases such as asthma and arthritis
  • Susceptible to nervous conditions such as anxiety

When there is too much vata in the mind or body, it manifests as:

  • Impatience
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Sleeping problems
  • A feeling of being ungrounded
  • An inability to focus
  • Excess gas and constipation
  • Female reproductive issues

People with vata as their primary dosha should consider the following dietary needs:

  • Avoid raw and cold foods
  • Eat warming foods like soups and stews
  • Eat small meals regularly and snack throughout the day
  • Consume plenty of oils
  • Legumes should be limited and, when eaten, should be split and soaked before cooking
  • Avoid sugar, caffeine and tobacco

If you have an excess of vata, it can be balanced through:

  • Following the vata diet above
  • Engaging in relaxing exercises such as meditation and walking in nature
  • Slowing down and making space for down-time
  • Allowing your creativity to flow
  • Keeping the body warm
  • Enjoying warm baths and oil massages
  • Cooking with warming spices such as cinnamon and chilli
  • Attempting to become grounded through connecting with the earth, practicing grounding meditations, and keeping a good network of people around you
  • Creating a routine to help with focus
  • Going to bed early each night to ensure a good rest

Pitta

Pitta, made up of fire and water, represents transformation. In our bodies, pitta controls digestion as well as our hormones, immune system and skin. If vata is the creative force, pitta is our logic and intelligence. People with pitta as their dominant dosha typically display the following characteristics:

  • Medium, athletic build
  • Clammy skin
  • Warm hands and feet
  • Low tolerance for hot temperatures
  • Big appetites
  • Sharp minds
  • Great at making things happen
  • Excellent planners
  • Good focus and concentration
  • Competitive
  • Susceptible to fire-related diseases such as eczema and inflammation
  • Susceptible to nervous conditions such as anxiety

When there is too much pitta in the mind or body, it manifests as:

  • Impatience
  • Anxiety
  • Anger and aggression
  • Jealousy
  • Ulcers
  • Cardiovascular issues

People with pitta as their primary dosha should consider the following dietary needs:

  • Follow a vegetarian diet
  • Avoid warming and spicy foods
  • Include plenty of raw fruit and vegetables
  • Avoid nuts and seeds
  • Use cooling oils (e.g. coconut oil) instead of warming oils (e.g. sesame)
  • Dairy products like milk and yoghurt are good
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco

If you have an excess of pitta, it can be balanced by:

  • Following the pitta diet above
  • Doing plenty of exercise, ideally outdoors in nature
  • Loosening up by engaging in creative exploits
  • Keeping the body cool
  • Enjoying cool baths and oil massages
  • Engaging in volunteer work and karma yoga

Kapha

Kapha, made up of earth and water, represents stability and nurturing. In our bodies, kapha controls bodily fluids and the lubrication of our joints and organs. People with kapha as their dominant dosha typically display the following characteristics:

  • Big, sturdy build
  • Moist, smooth skin
  • Big appetites
  • A slow, calm approach
  • Excellent memory
  • Nurturing types
  • Grounded
  • Resistant to change
  • Pleasant personalities
  • Tolerant
  • Deep sleepers
  • Susceptible to water-related diseases such as flu and water retention
  • Susceptible to headaches

When there is too much kapha in the mind or body, it manifests as:

  • People pleasing
  • Laziness
  • Emotional eating
  • Envy
  • Oversleeping
  • Constipation
  • Being overweight

People with kapha as their primary dosha should consider the following dietary needs:

  • Avoid dairy and fats
  • Avoid oily and fried foods
  • Plenty of vegetables with a focus on leafy greens and not too many root vegetables
  • Minimal nuts and seeds
  • Avoid sweeteners
  • Use plenty of spices
  • Coffee and tea are beneficial

If you have an excess of kapha, it can be balanced through:

  • Following the kapha diet above
  • Engaging in energizing exercises such as Vinyasa Flow Yoga
  • Get motivated by creating goals and plans
  • Creating variety to avoid feeling stuck
  • Do not nap in the daytime

Balancing the Doshas

Understanding our Prakriti and how imbalances manifest can help us to be aware of the changes we need to make in our lives. Most of us will predominantly be a combination of two doshas, but with one being more prominent, for example, vata-pitta or pitta-kapha. Do you know your dosha? Take some time to reflect on this information and decide what your Prakriti is. There are also some online quizzes you can take to aid you. Once you identify your primary dosha(s), think about what lifestyle and dietary changes you can make to bring your body and mind more into balance.

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