This is the first article of a series of three, where I have partnered with Pukka Herbs to guide you through the benefits of an ayuredic lifestyle, easy habit swops and tips on how to maintain the new changes. Ayurveda, or ‘life-knowledge’ in Sanskrit, is a system of holistic medicine that has evolved over millennia and is still widely practiced today in many parts of the world. The accumulation of thousands of years of knowledge has resulted in a science and philosophy that have been continuously proven and perfected. It is also being increasingly adopted in the West due to its effectiveness as a natural form of healing that complements modern Western practices.
At the core of Ayurveda lies the concept of achieving harmony between the mind, body and soul. When these three are not in balance with each other, we can see and feel the effects on our health and wellbeing, both internally and externally. Ayurveda is based on the belief that in order to achieve and maintain balance, we should pay attention to our lifestyle as a whole. Regular exercise, rejuvenating sleep and a nourishing diet all play an important role, as does looking after your wellbeing according to your dosha type.
Ayurveda is seasonal, it is individualistic, it is about promoting optimal gut health. All things that we know, in modern life, are important if we are to eat healthily in a practical and long-term way. It is also kind, moderate and adaptable – which is why it’s so perfect for modern life. There are foods that do not best support your body, and those that do, and it’s about balancing the two. It’s easy to underestimate the effect that the seasons can have on our bodies, but think about how much you change throughout the course of the year. Compare the food you crave, your energy levels, your sleeping patterns, your mood and appearance, in the depths of winter, or brightest warmest summer. Ayurveda believes that if we adapt our lives to the seasons we will avoid the unavoidable illness that come when we’re out of sync with the world around us, when we are unbalanced. We should anticipate what the weather will do.
We tend to come out of winter, and head into spring, with a lot of dampness in our systems – think of the chesty coughs and mucous colds, and also the lethargy we’re left with after months of darkness. Spring naturally supports change, and Ayurveda places a lot of store in this season, when it’s all about getting rid of the wetness that’s built up within our bodies. Of course spring is not without its typical ailments: whenever flowers start to bloom, hay fever rears its head too, and those who are most prone to colds in winter, will also be most prone to hayfever. We’re also in the process of getting rid of all that stagnant damp energy within our systems: many, many people suffer an annual spring cold at the beginning of March, which is the body’s way of trying to get rid of all the dampness also called Kapha. This cold is the body’s own bid to spring clean itself, but if you’ve been eating seasonally and ayurvedically throughout the winter there should be no need for a spring clean. The body will be given a head-start and will not have built up phlegmy or mucous deposits. To kick-start your digestion and sharpen your mind in spring, start with a cup of fresh, stimulating tea, like Pukka Herbs’ Turmeric Gold tea. Add the teabags into boiling water, allow to cool and add a small drizzle of honey to taste. Great for kids who still have chesty coughs and colds too! Food-wise you should focus on things that are naturally cleansing, as that’s what spring is all about. Pukka´s Clean Greens supplements are a great choice for seasonal cleanse, and support all three doshas. Focus on light and fresh meals that are easy to digest – we don’t want to add more stodge to a stomach that’s in the process of shifting winter’s excess. Food should, however, be warm – steamed, poached and grilled foods are all great in spring. Great seasonal meals for you and your family in spring include fresh pea soup, spring greens risotto, asparagus soldiers with boiled eggs, and grilled apricots for dessert.
As mentioned earlier, the core Ayurveda is the concept of achieving harmony between the mind, body and soul. When these three are not in balance with each other, we can see and feel the effects on our health and wellbeing, both internally and externally. The following article in this series will give you 6 easy habits to change for a more Ayurvedic lifestyle that support the coming season of Kapha, or spring.