For a few months now, I have been studying ayurveda. Ayurveda means the science of life and it greatly complements yoga, especially pranayama. I find it fascinating for two main reasons: first, the treatments it proposes are usually simple and don’t have many contraindications and, second, it accounts for change in us, and in seasons. It seeks what is appropriate for you and at the present moment. This, of course, requires some self-knowledge (svādhyāya), the ability to let go and a focus on what is happening right now around you. The needs of your body change with the seasons and paying attention to these helps you to constantly re-balance, giving yourself what you need so you can feel at your best.
If you want to begin the journey of getting to know your self in ayurvedic terms, I recommend finding out what your dosha is. There are three: Vata (air and space), Pitta (fire and water), Kapha (earth and water), and they are present in the body and in all living nature. Doshas are the three energies circulating and governing physiological activity. A dosha is what we have in excess. The proportion of the three energies determines your individual temperament and physical constitution and, when unbalanced, cause a disposition to particular physical and mental disorders. You can take a dosha test here. And if you want to go deeper, my favourite books are Vasant Lad’s Ayurveda, the Science of Self-healing: A Practical Guide and Robert Svoboda’s Prakriti: Your Ayurvedic Constitution. You won’t go wrong with them. They are simple, rigorous and very accessible.
January 2020 will be a momentous time, as a new decade opens for us. To help you to start it in the best possible way, Rosina and I are teaming up to offer three mornings of practice on the 3, 4 and 5 January (see below for full details). We will be nourishing mind, body and breath, creating awareness, stability and easy within the body. What a way to balance the Christmas season and to mark the beginning of the 2020s!
Thank you to Neil for this month’s topic suggestion. If you want me to write or explore anything in particular, please do let me know. I love these challenges!