Ayurveda – How does it work?

Ayurveda, one of the oldest sciences of complementary health care system, translates as ‘Science of Life’ offers comprehensive and complete care for mind –body-spirit. It helps with maintaining wellness by maintaining health, improving immune system against wear and tear, illnesses and offer quality of life

The working principles of Ayurveda are

  1. Mind-body-spirit are interdependent
  2. wellness, healing, rejuvenation starts from inside out and is guided by choices of lifestyle with eating habits, restful body-mind, healthy exercise rhythm

Health is defined by Ayurveda as the state of a sensitive balance of the three life forces of Vata-Pitha-Kapha, body tissues, Digestion & metabolism, management of excretory products….[book Asthanga Hridaya , sutra sthana]

It is not as difficult as it sounds, your Ayurvedic practitioner can help you draw this plan as easy as possible. It is a comprehensive way of being at ease with understanding the basic principles, adapting them in the most practical way to the modern way of living with choices for day to day life. Your personal wellness consultation helps with understanding your mind body make, so that you can choose compatible way of following food and nutrition, home remedies, supplements, yoga, meditation/mindfulness programmes to suit detox and rejuvenation.

Ayurveda assists you to understand digestion and nutrition in a holistic way of nutrition. It concentrates on the effect of different food articles on your body both at macro and micro levels of functional aspect of cells , by effects of the following

  1. Basic taste of food while harvesting, storing [translates as Rasa] There are 6 of them – sweet, sour, hot [pungent/spicy], sour, astringent [drying], salty
  2. Transformation of taste of food to three different tastes at the macro and micro levels of body tissues [Translates as Vipaka]- there are 3 of them – Sweet, sour, Hot
  3. Potency of food articles which are unique to them regardless of taste at source and taste at transformation eg., Ginger is hot by taste, but transforms into sweet after digestion and hot by potency

This way, Ayurveda focuses on experience rather than content of food and its compatibility with your unique mind body type [of course it is done during your initial and follow up consultation]

Ayurveda does this interpretation using a simple system known as rasya, virya, vipak, which translates to taste, potency, and post digestive effect. Using rasa, virya, vipak, Ayurveda efficiently classifies the medicinal properties of food and shows you how to do it too. Practitioners generally learn about this system in Ayurveda tutorials and then teach it to their clients. Here are the basics.

If your food is right, then medicine can work very well for you

Have your every experienced few problems which keep interfering with your day to life, out of the blue?

Some examples are

  • ‘I develop dry skin patches from time to time out of the blue’
  • ‘I get repeated mucus.chesty cough and cant seem to get rid of even though I try to take care of myself’
  • ‘my weight is unhealthy, but I have been eating the same way in the last number of months, I might have changed few things like activities but nothing major, still can’t understand why my weight is unhealthy?’
  • ‘I have pains and aches and get temporary relief from time to time but can’t get to the bottom of resolving the issue and tone myself’
  • ‘I train to be a good athlete and Im conscious of what I eat, but sometimes I get lot of discomfort of varied signs and symptoms and find it hard to practice, and I would like to get to the bottom of the problem, and looking for an efficient approach.

Using Rasa, Virya, Vipaka system along with understanding the effect of food and nutrition on the body, it is possible to assist with the complementary management of various complaints.

Our body is what we eat, digest, metabolise food and nutrition along with keeping the immune system strong.

Sweet and heavy foods, taken at a time when metabolism is at its lowest can add on the body weight – eg., having starchy foods in considerable amount of food at late evenings can give rise to slowed metabolism, retention, aches and pains, inflammations, gain of extra retention, etc

Dry food articles like potato, cranberries, increased intake of honey can result in dry skin

Excess intake of dairy products, at very early morning and late in the night can give rise to mucus related probles

Eating foods with opposite qualities can result in affecting strength of immune system and getting seasonal infections, regular inflammations etc

What is the solution?

Simple methods of assessing the mind body make up and ruling out any food article that could possibly affect efficient digestion, elimination, nutrition, adopting lifestyle with Yoga [of your choice], mindfulness to help with burning calories, toxins, and to tone musculo skeletal tissues will start you on the journey of healing. Ayurveda also offers a comprenhensive range of detoxing and healing therapies to assist your needs from time to time and for any details please look up www.ayurvedadranu.com and /or www.midletonyoga.com

Ayurveda breaks up your food experiences into 4 parts.

Part 1

It is the first taste of the food, either raw or when a recipe if prepared. It is the first experience of the ‘taste’ of food, and this determines the palatability of the food as to whether it is enjoyable or not. The emotional relationship with the food can also determine what taste is highly preferred over the others.  Taste connects food, body, blood chemistry and cravings together. If you are struggling with cravings, the science of rasa can help you. Rasa traces down to knowledge of the 6 tastes in Ayurveda – sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. Each taste is made up of 2 elements and correlated with numerous experiences (gunas).

Taste Element Effect on Dosha Guna
Sweet Earth + Water VP-, K+ Cool, Oily, Dull, Heavy
sour Fire + Earth V-, KP+ Liquid, Heating (GI), Cooling (blood), Mobile
Salty Fire + Water V-, KP+ Heavy, Sharp, Hot, Liquid
Pungent Fire + Air K-, VP+ Sharp, Hot, Light, Dry, Mobile
Bitter Ether + Air KP-, V+ Cold, mobile, light, dry
Astringent Air + Earth KP-, V+ Cold, dry, rough, hard

 

Some foods have more than one taste. Eg., apples are sour and sweet, garlic has all sweet, sour, pungent, astringent, sour but no salt, etc. This taste has its compatibility effect on mind and body. If you wish to evaluate your body type please check our upcoming blog to evaluate the same.

By definition, rasa refres to nutrients of food and also the blood plasma. For example, the sweet juice of pear is rasa. In the blood, rasa is the proteins, fats, carbs, vitamins, minerals that ‘sweeten up’ your blood. When taken the rasa in food transforms into rasa of blood, once the rasa of food enters the body , it transforms from first experience of food into long lasting impression

The effect of food on digestion and metabolism affects the streamlining of effective breakdown of the food in the entire digestive system, its absorption, its availability to the body at microscopic cellular level, where the food is selectively transformed into cytoplasm where its utilization results in release of energy and along side unwanted products, which need to be efficiently managed and excreted . In this process the nutrition side of the metabolism helps the body with sustainance of energy, immune system, clearance of in built waste products which result in freeing up of various channels in the body systems which protects against retention, inflammation, bloating and various other symptoms

Part 2: Virya

As you digest it, food has a heating or cooling effect on your entire body know as virya.

A heating virya balances Kapha and vata and increases Pitha, increases body heat, metabolism, circulaton, energy levels, reduces chronic inflammation

A cooling Virya balances Pitha and increases vata and kapha, slows down digestion, metabolism, soother irritation and new inflammation, lowers body temperature, promotes growth and weight gain

If the overall virya of your diet is too cold, it can lead to indigestion. If it’s too hot, it can lead to hyperactivity and irritation by gastric juices.

These aspects can be related to body when we are mindful of our habits

Please make a note if you feel around eating and soon after eating

  1. Your heart beating faster?
  2. Do you sweat?
  3. Do you feel warm?
  4. Do you feel more alert and mentally sharp?
  5. Do you feel angry and irritable?
  6. Do you feel dizzy and not able to do high intensity activities?

Observe if you feel cold,

  1.  Feel a chill?
  2.  Feel more sluggish mentally than before you ate?
  3. Do you feel your pulse rate slow down?
  4. Do you get congestion increasing in your head / sinuses/chest?
  5. Do you feel cool, calm and collected?

Part 3 Vipaka

The vipak is the long-term impact of a food. Vipak describes the total post digestive effect of food on your body. It includes the medicinal effects of the food on your body that linger after digestion is complete. Vipak begins with the food’s effect on your bowel elimination and your colon but continues beyond the colon. It includes the effect on your urine, feces, sweat, and mind. Vipak also describes how the tissues of your body are nourished by what you eat.

 Part 4: Prabhava:

Prabhav is the uniqueness of effect of each and every food under a general catefgory as each of them have their own individual variation – learned through. The prabhav of each food makes it valuable for unique conditions. Prabhav can affect specific areas of the body or have a special potency, depending on its special power.

Coriander, being  a great digestive,  unlike most digestives which are hot, is cooling. This cooling effect makes cilantro very useful for indigestion associated with inflammation.

Another example is honey. Generally sweeteners are cold in nature and result in weight gain, but honey is dry and heating and improves fat metabolism.

Asparagus, for example, is a nourishing antimicrobial. Unlike most antimicrobial herbs are depleting. This makes asparagus useful for weak or underweight individuals suffering from a gut bug.

Conclusion

Lifestyle choices deal a lot with what we do in terms of watching food and nutrition, activities and taking care of our mind body health, and Ayurveda, through its time tested and trusted abundant knowledge of lifestyle offer a complete and comprehensive care for health, wellness and immunity against wear and tear and illness

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