What Ayurveda is NOT.

Ayurveda is not a magic bullet. It is not a one-size-fits-all system of healing. And though it does have herbal and lifestyle-based cures for disease, Ayurveda is not primarily a cure-oriented system. Which brings me to what Ayurveda actually is.

Very simply, the phrase “a stitch in time…” summarizes  the core belief of ayurvedic healing. Which means, live in such a way that disease is nipped in the bud. To be able to do that, learn as much about yourself as you can. Body, mind, emotions—everything that makes you you.

Learning about yourself is easy, if you simply pay attention to the often-neglected requests and complaints that your body-mind sends out from time to time. For example, not being able to sleep. Or getting annoyed at the drop of a hat. Even something as simple as a recurrent twitching of the eye.  Hiccups. A niggling feeling of restlessness…

None of these, in the ayurvedic scheme of things, is to be taken lightly. They need your attention and respect. In fact, each of them has its origin in some part of you that is feeling overused, abused or misused.

The great thing about this approach to wellness is that you actually get to take control of your health. You take center-stage as your own physician, rather than relying on a doctor’s opinion and medication.  This also means you slowly wean yourself of the need to pop a pill or take a shot. You self-monitor, and self-correct. The earlier you catch a potential health problem, the faster and better you are able to get rid of it.

This is the beautiful, can-do approach to life that first attracted me to Ayurveda. And the closer I drew, the more impressed I was. I realized that though the dictionary lists Ayurveda as a noun, it is actually a verb!

If you want to reconnect with your often-neglected self, a good starting point is to spend some time assessing your physical health. Answer this simple set of questions, and you should have a fair idea:

Is my breathing slow and steady, deep and unrestricted?

Is my appetite sharp?

Do I experience thirst at regular intervals?

Is my waste (urine, stool, sweat) output normal? (Healthy urine is light-colored and odor-free, occurring without obstruction or urgency; healthy stool occurs once or twice a day, floats in water, and does not smell foul; sweat should be free of strong odor, too—and not be either profuse or insufficient).

Do I feel my five senses (sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell) are performing well?

Is my skin lustrous and supple?

Am I generally free of ulcers, lumps and bumps?

Do I feel active and energetic?

Is my breath fresh and  are my teeth strong?

Are my joints well-lubricated and healthy?

Is my sexual urge normal?

Do I sleep well?

Now you know where to begin. Congratulations—you have taken the first step toward better health, and complete well-being.

-By Shubhra Krishan


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