the sister science of yoga
Registration deadline is June 1st.
Those desirous of a long, healthy life, which is the means of achievement of dharma (purpose), artha (resources), and sukha (ease), should give their utmost attention and apply themselves fully to the teachings of Ayurveda.
Ayurveda can be translated to mean the “science of life,” “knowledge of longevity,” or “the art of living.” The word ayuh means life, and veda means knowledge or truth. It is perhaps the oldest system of holistic medicine that is still around today, dating back over 5,000 years. In India, where Ayurveda is still widely practiced, Yoga and Ayurveda are considered to be “two sides of the same coin.” While the ultimate goal of Yoga is self-realization, Ayurveda’s primary goal is self-healing. Ayurveda is a system based on the premise that the body is naturally inclined toward health and wholeness, and offers therapies for supporting the body’s natural intelligence to heal. Ultimately, Ayurveda provides the foundation in body and mind for pursuing a spiritual path through yoga. Together, these two systems afford a complete system of restoring health and harmony in body, mind, and spirit.
the five elements and three doshas
According to Ayurveda, all matter is made up of five elements: earth, water, fire, air, and space. Part of what makes each person unique is the varying proportions of these elements in their body.
The doshas of vata, pitta, and kapha are organizing principles that describe how these elements function in the body.
We can best understand the doshas through their functions and qualities:
vata dosha is the principle of movement, and describes the functions of space and air in the body. It governs all bodily movements, from the smallest nerve impulses to more obvious activities such as breathing and walking. Vata has the qualities of being light (opposite of heavy), dry, rough, mobile, cold, subtle, clear, and astringent.
pitta dosha is the principle of transformation, and describes the functions of fire and water in the body. Pitta is responsible for digestion—not only of the food we eat, but also the mental/emotional digestion of information and our life experiences. Pitta’s qualities include light (opposite of dark), oily, sharp, hot, fleshy-smelling, spreading, liquid, sour, and pungent.
kapha dosha is the principle of nourishment, and describes the functions of water and earth in the body. Kapha provides us with physical support and structure, and also nurtures us emotionally through love and compassion. Kapha has the qualities of being heavy, slow, dull, cool, oily, slimy, dense, stable, and can be either soft or hard (think of the difference between adipose tissue and bone—both are kapha).
When the doshas are functioning properly, we don’t notice them. It is only when they become imbalanced that we begin to pay attention to them—when we experience something that’s “not right” with our body such as dry, rough skin (vata), acid reflux (pitta), or weight gain (kapha). Although these symptoms are uncomfortable and annoying, they serve a purpose: the doshas actually go out of balance to protect your body’s tissues. They’re an indicator that something in your diet or lifestyle is provoking an imbalance, which gives you the opportunity to adjust your diet and lifestyle in order to return to your natural state of balance.
Unfortunately most western medicine is aimed at merely suppressing these uncomfortable symptoms, rather than addressing the root cause. If we continue to ignore or suppress these symptoms for a long period of time, they can become chronic, weakening our body's tissues and leading to disease.
This is why Ayurveda is such a useful method for preventing disease. In Ayurveda there are 6 stages of the disease process—and western medicine doesn’t acknowledge a disease until the 5th stage of this process (once it has begun to harm the tissues). If we can mitigate a provoked dosha before it gets to that stage, we have a much better chance at maintaining health and preventing disease.
Prakruti and Vikruti
We all have all three doshas—vata, pitta, and kapha—functioning in our bodies at all times. And we all have a natural and healthy expression of these doshas, which is your prakruti. Your prakruti is your natural state of doshic balance—the state of the doshas at the time of your conception. This is the state of balance that we aim to maintain and return to throughout our lives. The most accurate way to determine your prakruti is to have an experienced practitioner read your radial pulse.
Your vikruti is your present state, which is constantly in flux. Again this can be felt in the pulse, and also understood through exploring your health history and current symptoms. A perfectly balanced vikruti would match the prakruti, and that would be a sign of good health.
To balance a person’s prakruti and vikruti, we first apply diet and lifestyle changes that address the provoked dosha(s) at the vikruti level. Once balance is achieved, we can adopt a diet and lifestyle appropriate to the person’s prakruti.
Schedule a consultation with Debby to receive pulse assessment of your prakruti and vikruti.
Ayurvedic Consultation with Debby Andersen (Ayurvedic Practitioner, Panchakarma therapist)
This consultation includes a detailed assessment of your Ayurvedic constitution and present state. We will explore your health history, family history, diet, lifestyle, and current symptoms. Specific recommendations will be given to address your primary health concerns and goals. These recommendations are tailored to your unique needs with the intention of assisting you to shift from your current state of imbalance into your optimal state of balance and health. Together we will establish a workable program you can implement to achieve your short-term and long-term goals. Sessions may take place in-person or via phone or skype.
Holistic Nutrition Consultation with Courtney Miller Morris (M.S. Holistic Nutrition, Panchakarma Therapist)
This 2-hour consultation will lay the groundwork for how we grow together on your health journey. In addition to getting to know you, this assessment will include gathering information about your health history, sleeping habits, digestion, energy, current food intake and any other relevant information that might help me support you on your path to health and healing. From here, we’ll identify what areas need improvement, establish goals, and create an effective plan for change. After our session is complete, I’ll send over a customized protocol that will include nutrition & lifestyle recommendations, recipes, supplement and herbal protocols, and guidance for alternative healing options to support you on your path to feeling grounded, whole, and well!