The Wellcome Collection exhibition Ayurvedic Man: Encounters with Indian medicine (16/11/2017 - 8/4/2018) displaying in London authentic Ayurvedic materials, has highlighted the growth of Ayurveda in the wellness industry.
The modern wellness industry has embraced many aspects of Ayurveda including herbal remedies and massages. However, the main principle of Ayurveda involves practising mind-body connection. It is believed that the balance of energies known as doshas are responsible for our health and wellbeing. The three doshas defined in Ayurveda relate to the elements of the universe and each individual typically inherits one dosha stronger than the others. The Vata dosha is space and air, the Pitta dosha is fire and water and the Kapha dosha is water and earth. According to Ayurvedic principles, doshas are responsible for bodily functions. Therefore, individuals who practise Ayurveda dedicate themselves to balancing their doshas in the hope that this will maintain their health.
The Ayurvedic notion of tuning in to your mind and body can be a powerful tool to achieve mental wellbeing as well as physical health. Meditation and self-awareness can help manage stress and mental disorders such as depression while many lifestyle-dependent diseases including obesity and diabetes could be prevented by learning to respond to natural hunger and satiety signals. Ayurvedic teachings also specify the importance of a balanced diet. Eating fresh, colourful and appropriately prepared food, attaining the six Ayurvedic tastes (sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter and astringent) and eating mindfully are all thought to promote health and longevity.
In addition to tuning into your mind and body, Ayurveda emphasizes the significance of sleep. Insufficient sleep is believed to disrupt the balance within the body and negatively affect health by increasing stress and compromising the function of the immune system. While getting enough sleep and eating well are widely understood as ways to maintain good health, the Ayurvedic practice of “living in tune with nature” is less known. According to Ayurveda, we are made by nature and should therefore live in harmony with the natural rhythms of our bodies and the world we live in. This means connecting with the environment and life around you. Developing a strong mind-body connection, tuning into your senses and desires and living mindfully in the present may be the key to long-term health and happiness.
+ Words: Yasmin Razzaque
Yasmin Razzaque is a Biochemistry graduate with a keen interest in health and nutrition. She uses her scientific knowledge and ability to critically analyse research to write articles about healthy and sustainable eating and wellbeing.