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Ayurveda In Practice
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It is amazing how Prakruti (nature) has made each of us so unique! Fingerprints, eye images, foot prints and even our DNA are so unique that people can be identified on the basis of many such codes that nature has designed.

Humans are made of the same materials as the rest of the Universe, but the composition, the ratio and the complexity of each design is so different that it makes us all unique! So it makes sense for us to treat each human being differently when it comes to healing.

Most of the analysis and examination by Ayurvedic practitioners are performed by observation and question and answer sessions. Rather than getting input from a blood pressure monitor reading, it is easier for the physician to understand why the person is so nervous or anxious. This helps the doctor get closer to the root cause.

Ayurvedic practitioners question their patients on more than where a pain is felt or which part of the body aches. They may ask questions like:

  1. What makes you happy?
  2. What makes you sad?
  3. Are you tired a lot?
  4. Are you anxious or worried about something?
  5. Are you eating a well balanced diet?
  6. How do you relax?
  7. Do you know meditate regularly?
  8. Do you visualize a healthy body always?
  9. Are you a positive thinker?
  10. Do you have consistent sleep patterns?
  11. Do you speak the truth always?
  12. Are you spiritual?
  13. Do you play childhood games and have fun when you are with children?
  14. Do you feel good when helping others?
  15. Do you laugh often when you hear jokes?
  16. How do you deal with change?
  17. Are you happy with family life?
  18. Are you satisfied with your job?
  19. Any aches and pains?
  20. Any breathing problems?
  21. Any excretory issues?
  22. What is a day like for you?
  23. What do you do in your spare time?
  24. Are you fulfilled?
  25. Are you looking forward to the holidays/summer/future?

Remember, these are just examples of what an Ayurvedic doctor may ask you. Of course, if the diagnosis is simple, such as a common cold, then they don’t need to ask you so many questions. The patient is usually sent home and asked to gargle with salt water and take lots of fruits to allow the body to heal and to coax the immune system to get ready to thwart the next attack. Instead of a cough syrup and decongestant, we may be asked to use honey + lemon juice mixture or something similar to soothe the throat and prevent unproductive coughs. Here you see a difference in the way simple conditions are "not" treated with harsh chemicals.

Another way by which an Ayurvedic doctor may decide on the treatment is by looking at our personality (prakruti) profiles. As mentioned earlier, there are three major types of personalities among people. They are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Most people are a combination of two of these three doshas. Rarely, you will find people who have all three doshas combined.

Vata is the electric component of our body which creates movements such as breathing, excretion, menstruation, etc. Pitta is the tool of transformation; it controls the physical, mental and emotional elements. Kapha is believed to be responsible for our structure (bones, muscles, joints, etc.)

Food is our fuel. Just as a petrol or gas dependent car splutters and comes to a stop if we pour cooking oil into the gas tank instead of premium gasoline, our bodies get blockages and disease if the food is not of the optimum quality. The Ayurvedic sages knew that "food is our medicine". Eating the right foods at the right time in the right quantities makes a person, healthy, wealthy and wise!

According to Ayurveda, food is complete only when it has each of the following added to it in the correct proportion:

  1. Salt
  2. Sweet
  3. Sour
  4. Hot/Pungent
  5. Bitter
  6. Astringent

Anyone who has had Indian or Thai food can understand the idea behind the amazing ways in which it is prepared. Most of the dishes in a Thai restaurant usually have a majority of these flavors. The balance of these flavors makes us satisfied with less amounts of food. That is because our body is satiated and we feel content. On the other hand, food in many countries lacks most of these flavors (except sweet and salt maybe! ) and people tend to continue eating without feeling satisfied. This is a major reason for obesity.

Tender coconuts

To get rid of addictions and to remove disease from the body, Ayurveda recommends juices and sprouts. Juices are amazing because pure fruit juice not only has the healthiest form of water, it also has the purest ingredients that nature makes for us. The body can easily and efficiently absorb natural fruit juices even when the person is in a very weak state. There are cases when the diseased body cannot absorb or retain solid food, and this is the time when fruit juices save lives. One of the best juices that Ayurveda recommends is tender coconut water. Ayurveda lists about 20 healing properties from the simple coconut water. Just imagine how much information the practitioners have gathered over the centuries of practice!

Also, when there are toxins in our cells, the best way to remove them is with a juice only diet. This may be the juice of fruits as well as vegetables. Sprouts also are held in high esteem by Ayurvedic practitioners. Maximum nourishment is attained when we ingest a seed that has begun sprouting since the life giving energy of the seed is beneficial to the body types that can digest it.

In addition to fruit juices, Ayurveda uses moong sprouts, fenugreek sprouts and other lentil sprouts depending on the diagnosis. Ayurveda believes in cleaning the body so that efficient digestion can take place. One of the problems with eating meat is that it is believed to take longer for digestion and it may even decay or get trapped between the intestines. This may lead to toxic conditions even if the meat was pure and fresh. The meat we usually eat contains hormones, preservatives, additives, coloring, curing chemicals and what not; it may just be an impediment to efficient digestion.

Although Ayurveda does not encourage eating meat, many of the people in cooler countries get most of their protein from meat. The only way to eat healthy meat is to buy it fresh and prepare it well with spices and herbs to encourage the digestive enzymes to help clean the colon well after digestion.

Regardless of the problems a person may have, it is important to determine what is the best type of food they need and also the best way to prepare it.

Ayurveda also believes in the transfer of energy between all living things. If we destroy nature, some of the negative energy created during this onslaught will be transferred to us. Similar to the practice of "libation" that the old pagans had, we should also thank a tree for its fruits, water it to show our gratitude and preserve our environment so that every individual in this world can enjoy this beautiful planet for generations to come.

By Zachary Lingh Dgree
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