By Ava Wentzel, LMT, Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist in training!
“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world … as in being able to remake ourselves.”
Ayurveda—translated literally from Sanskrit as “Life Science”—is an ancient system of medicine that has been practiced for over 5,000 years. It’s understandable that some are wary of Eastern medicinal practices such as Ayurveda or Traditional Chinese Medicine; we’ve all heard stories of people seeking out non-traditional healing methods who have ended up worse off than they were before, or maybe we ourselves have gotten “natural” advice that sounds our inner alarm bells. Allow me to explain why Ayurveda, this ancient Life Science, is safe and effective for every being spiritually connected to the Earth. (That’s you!)
Now, if you dive deep on the Internet, you will uncover Ayurvedic practices such as enemas, vamana therapy (which isn’t as pretty as it sounds), and even leech therapy. It’s true! All of these therapies, when utilized safely with an educated Practitioner or Ayurvedic Doctor, are incredibly healing and not harmful to our bodies. But these more “extreme” therapies, as the Western world might call them, are not Ayurveda. Ayurveda is an embodiment of life’s natural cycles.
When we practice Ayurveda, it looks like …
- Living in harmony with animals and plants.
- Eating the foods that nature is providing right now.
- Getting the proper amount of rest for our bodies every night.
- Mindful appreciation of how hard our bodies work for us every day.
- Taking in as much prana (energy) as we need—and knowing that there is always enough for all of us.
The bulk of Ayurveda is truly just to live a simple life with sustained presence. It is not, however, a pseudoscience.
The definitions of “science” vary only slightly, but generally all state that science is “knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method.”
“Scientific method” is what we call the “collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.”
Knowing that Ayurveda is a system of medicine and healing that has been around for over 5,000 years, whereas Western Medicine, as we know it now, has only been practiced for about 200 years (give or take a hundred if you like), it becomes clear that this ancient system of medicine has had quite a bit more time to work out a hypothesis or two! This is not to discredit Western medicine. The contributions Western doctors have made to modern medicine at large are invaluable. However, the fact that Ayurveda is still practiced in the modern world today is a testament to its success and effectiveness.
Ayurveda offers a massive wealth of knowledge that would take (and has taken) many lifetimes to learn. But being that it is, at its core, Earth Wisdom, it becomes easier to let it in when we take the time to ground ourselves in our bodies and truly, truly, feel. Feel what it feels like to be in this one body.
Here is a challenge: Remove your eyes from this screen. Stare at an object in the distance, out of the window if you can. Take three long, slow breaths. Focus on the exhale. What is happening in your body?
Most people cannot answer this simple question.
It’s okay if you can’t right now either. Most of us have become disconnected from our own bodies. It’s a wild time to be alive and it’s no secret that so many people have simply left their bodies. Stress, trauma, you name it. It overwhelms us, it’s too heavy a weight to carry, to feel all the time. So we simply… leave. Even if we don’t realize it. Even if we don’t mean to.
But Ayurveda offers us hope. It offers us a way back. It enables us to regain that essential connection to the most important thing in our life—our Self.
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः
Om, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti
(Om, Peace, Peace, Peace)