What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a subtle, simple healing system that beckons us to reconnect with the nature and the natural Divinity of our Soul.
It is one of our most ancient systems of health, coming from India the texts that brought Ayurveda to us are inextricably linked with those of Yoga.
It is said that Yoga (a system of bodily postures, meditation, breathing exercises, contemplation and philosophy) was created in order to teach us how to die gracefully - the ultimate transcendence - and contrastingly Ayurveda is designed to teach us how to live well.
The Sanksrit term loose meanings are - Ayur = Life Veda = Science therefore, Ayurveda is the science of life.
It is known as being written for longer than 9000 years and has been passed down verbally through Vaidyas who are Doctors born into the tradition for over 10000 years.
More and more modern science is proving Ayurvedic notions as correct. It includes both physical and emotional health. As a science it’s aims are to urge us to move away from modern separation, to seek and sit within our natural environment - to use our earth as a compass.
urging us to Allow time to cultivate our seed of self to turn the soil, provide nourishment, sun, rain and love to the quiet, yet omnipotent part of our being that yearns to bloom To grow into a most bountiful, radiant, sweet and truthful you One that is interwoven and yoked with earth, her fruits, her oceans, trees, all living beings, spirit, the silver moon and the golden sun.
When we move toward a state of balance with the great Uma (mother) when we realise that we ARE the majestic whales, wild horses, the unfurling peony rose, we begin to know deeply in our being that what resides within our hearts; that both what our cells contain and are made of is the brilliant dancing cosmos herself.
Make space for this transformation, understand that you are pursuing the path of the Bhakti Marga; those who live in total alignment, complete embodiment and unwavering devotion to the force that is Love.
Carve out time for this knowledge.
One of the key and simplest terms within Ayurvedic wisdom is that of the Maha Gunas, the ruling, overarching energies that influence all things including you.
These are Tamas, Rajas and Sattva-
Tamas is any sense of heaviness, sluggishness, inertia, slowness and powerlessness felt in all sentient beings.
While Tamas rules all of these elements it also governs a sense of groundedness, is needed; as in calmness, gravity and can be felt in nature with monolithic stones, majestic whales and the weight of water.
Within human life Tamas is embodied as a state of resisting higher consciousness thereby, a state of darkness or ignorance which can eventuate as sadness and depression.
things that will increase tamas are: sleeping in, not exercising, coldness, darkness, too much slowness and lack of excitement, anything that is heavy, fried foods, sad conversations, complaining, procrastinating. things that will calm tamasic qualities are: fluid movement, anything that is light - laughter, fresh, bright foods, happy conversation and comedy, a brisk walk in nature, gratitude.
Rajas can be sensed as passion, it is quick moving, changeable, adaptable, flexible, artistic. It is said that the energy of Rajas sparked the beginning of the universe and therefore, it must be present in the birthing of any new concepts, ideas and art.
The fast moving river, the wind, the sudden thunderstorm and a school of fish, scales refracting and mesmerising all hold qualities of Rajas.
We experience Rajas as creative ideas, the force and impetus in making and when out of balance this can manifest as anxiousness, a sense of lacking grounding and an erratic mind.
things that will increase rajas are: caffeine, loud music, rushing, wind, computer screens, working late at night, lack of routine, being disorganised. things that will calm rajasic qualities are slowness, meditation, consideration, being organised and methodical, anything that you personally find grounding.
Sattva is our guiding star, our compass, what we’re aiming for with internal and spiritual work - in the simplest terms this course is intended purely to conjure a more Sattvic way of being.
Sattva speaks of what is in harmony, in balance with nature and this is often sweet, joyous, childlike. It is High Vibrations.
The first lick of sunrise, the luminescent glow of mother of pearl seashells, daffodils, honey and bees are incredibly Sattvic.
Modern day humans have spent much energy and effort moving away from what is Sattvic, we can begin to recapture this feeling by being more curious, kind, wholehearted, by nurturing and caring for one another. Removing violent thoughts, conversations moving our bodies with dance and sunshine will all make us feel this concept of Sattva. To be completely Sattvic would be ultimate ascendance and for that fact while we always gravitate towards what is most pure, harmonic and Sattvic this state in its entirety is not of our world.
things that increase (this is good) sattva are: honey, flowers, sunshine, sweet conversations and actions, bright colours, feeling belonging, friendship, community, feeling you are on-purpose, achievement, prana rich food, yoga practice, meditation, healthy movement, spending time in nature. things that will decrease (not good) Sattvic qualities are: worry, anxiety, sadness, preoccupation with the past or future, lethargy, laziness, negative dialogues, social isolation, living in a city and being removed from nature, processed foods.
Spend some time now journalling or contemplating on how (maybe who) these energies are present in your daily life. What makes you feel the above energies. Especially think about what brings more Sattva into your day - for me, morning tonics, movement, gardening, being with plants and animals, honey and laughter are all things that add Sattva.
With this information considered the first practice for this week (to be layered on top of last week) is to work with the Yamas and Niyamas.
These are the ethical structures that we work within when we’re embarking upon the Yogic path the Yamas can be explained as our social restraints or the way that we need to act in order to behave kindly and in a way that is beneficial to our greater community. The Niyamas on the other hand are more internal, they can be explained as self-disciplines or things that we need to work with in order to cultivate the best state of being with ourselves.
Ahimsa - non-harming, non-violence, kindness
Satya - truth, but in a kind and conscious way - white lies to avoid hurting someone are okay, speaking your truth in full knowledge that it could hurt someone is not Satya
Asteya - non-stealing
Aparigraha - non-grasping, non-possesiveness, non-hoarding and therefore, gratitude for what is, already.
Brahmacharya - the rightful distribution of energy which will result in the maintenance of vitality.
Tapas - purification through discipline, I reference this as what I need to do, my to-do list and what I need to have energy for.
Santosha - contentment
Saucha - purity, also sweetness
Svadhyaya - self-enquiry, self-awareness, self-study and self-led study (this course is an act of Svadhyaya)
Ishvara Pranidhana - devotion - to yourself, your work, your Goddesses or Gods, to nature
We will work primarily with Ahimsa, Aparigraha and Brahmacharya however I invite you to ponder all of these, most days as they as incredible structures for rightful living.
In your journal each day allow yourself time and space to journal 3-10 points for each below:
List things are that perfect, lovable, special, sexy, important about YOU. This can be very uncomfortable at first but it should be a very simple practice and by the end of the course this will be much easier. They can be profound or completely shallow - list whatever comes to mind.
What are you grateful for? Again this can be profound or mundane.
The simplest way to thing about this is what things are you doing in your day that is taking most of your energy. If you think about your day as a pie chart begin to break down where most of your attention and day goes. If you are working full-time a lot of your weekday would go to work, also if you are studying or a mum, but also note if there are small things draining your energy ie. housework, errands, sitting on social media. Begin to consider how you could refine this distribution.
Our second practice for this week is quite a bit more time-consuming and it may be something to consider in the last journalling point. It is beginning to create your own Dinacharya.
Dinacharya means daily routine and it traditionally consists of a specific set of rituals and exercises, it would also sit under the Niyama of Tapas. We do the same thing every day at least in the morning as it calms the nervous system and quells negative thinking - which we will discuss more later - just know that routine is the second most healing thing we can work on (only second to food).
The traditional Dinacharya (and what I do) would look something like this:
Tongue scrape with copper scraper
Drink a glass of room temperature Tamra Jal (filtered water that’s sat in a copper vessel overnight)
Put on ginger tea to sip on throughout the practices
Salt water gargle
Meditate 22 minutes or more
Pranayama - breathwork
Asana - yoga movement
Svadhyaya - journalling
Chanting or mantra practice
Garshana - or ful body dry brushing
Abhyanga - full body self-massage with warm organic black sesame oil or herbal medicated oil
Walk in nature (with your dog would be ideal)
Begin your day
* Yes this is a lot and yes I get up at 5am and do this by candlelight.
I’m not suggesting that you do all of these things but I am suggesting that you at least:
Tongue scrape (additional this week)
Self-massage (additional this week)
As you can see you’re building your own Dinacharya now throughout the course. If you have time to complete the entire list please go ahead and use this course as container to gauge the changes that happen in your life because of your dedication to the practice - yes you will have greater expansion and manifestation if you do the whole thing but we are also working with … Ahimsa, non-judgement remember!
* you can source organic, black sesame oil from most good health food stores or Indian grocers otherwise get in touch with me for the real deal or book in for a session with me to get an oil that is specifically medicated for you.
To recap - the focus of this week is to navigate, begin to see the Maha Gunas in your life and work on creating your own Dinacharya including journalling (Svadhyaya).