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What Is Ayurveda?

What the Heck Is Ayurveda (and How Will It Help Me?)

Whether you've heard your yoga teacher sing its praises or saw the term listed on your local spa's menu, if you find yourself confused as to what Ayurveda is, you're not alone. The ancient Indian practice has its roots in Hindu culture, and as opposed to Western medicine that aims to alleviate specific symptoms, Ayurveda strives to balance the body as one system. While there's still very little clinical research supporting Ayurveda, practitioners believe that aligning the natural elements of the universe in the body promotes a long, healthy life and general state of well-being.

In Ayurveda, there are three doshas, or forces of energy, that exist in the body, and each individual has varying amounts of the three: Vata (space and air), Pitta (fire and water), and Kapha (water and Earth). While someone may be far more Pitta, Kapha, or, if you're like me, Vata, everyone has a little of each. It's our job to strive for doshic balance in our bodies for an improved life. Sounds great, right? The one question: how do you achieve this doshic balance?

Keep reading to see how Ayurveda can help you.

To begin, you've got to figure out what dosha is most indicative of you. I'm partial to this dosha quiz from the Himalayan Institute that is based on your responses to your emotional and physical qualities. Once you've determined your dosha type, Ayurvedic principle stresses that making specific shifts in your nutrition, exercise, and environment, with the addition of some herbal remedies, according to your dosha will bring balance to your body's constitution. Some suggestions may be as simple as going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day or staying away from very spicy or salty foods. If you're really not sure where to start, there are tons of Ayurvedic spas and practitioners who can help you determine a game plan.

While I know it can be difficult to revamp your lifestyle overnight, I've found that making little shifts in my life according to Ayurvedic principle has helped me achieve a new sense of calm, lots more energy, and way less day-to-day trouble in my body's basic functions. Have you ever looked to Ayurveda for relief? Tell me below!

Source: Flickr User Kerala Tourism

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