The Beginner’s Guide To Ayurveda

How to live a more balanced life

The world is on fire, and so a lot of people are seeking solace wherever they can find it. “More and more individuals are thirsty for life-changing experiences that positively affect their mind and body and help alleviate the stresses of modern daily life,” Dr. Shri Subhash Chandra, chairman of YO1 Luxury Nature Cure, tells us. And a lot of them are turning to holistic practices, like Ayurveda.

The word "ayurveda" means life (ayur), and science or knowledge (veda). It’s a 5,000-year-old practice for healing and well-being that works to enhance your mental and physical state by nourishing your mind, body, and spirit. It is based on the idea that no two people are alike and each of us is made up of unique energy. When your energy, or your dosha, is out of balance, that’s where Ayurveda comes in. 

First, let’s start with the different doshas. There’s kapha (earth and water), thought to be dominant in people with slower digestion, good memory, and emotional steadiness. Pitta (fire) personalities are more flexible both physically and mentally, passionate, and dominant in their relationships. Vatas (air and space) tend to be more spacey and have very active minds. All three are said to be present in everyone, but the idea is that your dominant dosha affects things like the shape of your body, food preferences, and your emotions (so, like your horoscope but not). When it’s balanced with the other two, you’re healthy and happy, when it’s not, that’s when things like skin issues, poor digestion, and anxiety come in to play. “When the doshas vitiate from normalcy, it leads to an unhealthy state,” Chandra says. “Ayurveda helps bring them back through proper diet, education on daily regimens, and therapeutic measures.”

So, how does one figure out what their dominant dosha is? Ideally, you’d go to an Ayurvedic doctor, and they’d take your pulse and assess your appearance, but since not everyone just happens to have one on call, you can take a quiz like the one here. Once you know what dosha you identify with the most, you can read up on what foods you should be eating, what kind of routines are best for you, and general life tips. Everyone’s different, but Chandra notes there are a couple of Ayurvedic tips all doshas can incorporate into their day-to-day to feel a bit more balanced, like:

  • Meditate for 20 minutes daily
  • Rise before sunrise
  • Always sit down to eat (avoid eating in front of a TV or while driving)
  • Try to incorporate herbs like ginger, turmeric, and brahmi into your meals
  • Eat vegetarian meals as often as you can
  • Get enough sleep
  • Exercise outside when possible
  • Stretch daily and/or practice yoga
  • Give thanks, always

Having a bit more stability in life can certainly never hurt.