Buffalo, Ayurveda can change your life, it has actually saved mine many times.
I grew up with hippies and so I think it was natural for me to gravitate towards holistic wellness. In high school, I was lucky enough to spend some summers touring with the Grateful Dead and for many years thereafter I experimented with communal living and a holistic lifestyle. When I went off to college, I met some kids with whom I became very close who grew up with Ayurveda. At the time I had no idea what that was, but for the next twenty years of my life I found myself studying and living it. It seems I am one of a small group of people who share this passion in the City of Buffalo, and it is my goal to share the many benefits and positive improvements that this ancient knowledge has brought to my life.
Even if you've never heard the word "Ayurveda," there may be some mainstream connections that do ring a bell. Deepak Chopra is an Ayurvedic genius. I'll bet you've heard of him. What about the Beatles? They traveled to India to meet the guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and to receive Ayurvedic wisdom. Or what about the netti pot that people use to clean out their nasal passages when they have a cold and during allergy seasons. This technique is used in Ayurveda.
And everyone has heard of Yoga. Well, Ayurveda is Yoga’s sister science. In fact, one can hardly be practiced without the other. It is actually alarming to me that so many people in yoga classes have no background knowledge of this science if only because it could help them so much.
Ayurveda is a holistic medical system that originated in India. It promotes health on all levels: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Its methods of healing include diet, herbs, exercise, lifestyle regimes, and yogic practices like asana and meditation.
One important part of Ayurveda is the determination of one’s individual natural-born physical and mental constitution, a special recipe made up of different proportions of the five elements of nature: ether, air, fire, water, and earth. This is called your prakriti.
Over the course of our lives we change, straying from who nature made us. The proportions of the elements can be out of balance, causing diseases of the mind and body. This imbalance is called vikriti.
Maybe you are just about ready to stop reading. Perhaps this seems a bit too “New Age” to you…but it’s actually thousands of years old. So before you stop, let me ask you a few questions:
Ever have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep because your mind is racing?
Ever feel lethargic when it’s time to get up in the morning?
Ever get indigestion or heartburn?
Is your skin really dry?
Ever have a lot of mucus when awaking in the morning?
Ever feel overly irritable, angry, and critical of yourself and others?
These are symptoms indicative of an imbalance of the elements within and around you.
- Your skin is dry? --- too much air
- Have heartburn? ---too much fire
- Feel lethargic? ---too much earth
What if I literally promised you that there are simple ways to alter your lifestyle that could alleviate these ills? Would you keep reading then?
Ayurveda recognizes two basic principles:
Like Attracts Like
Someone with a lot of air in their constitution likes dry crunchy foods.
Someone with a lot of fire in their constitution likes spicy salty food.
Someone with a lot of earth in their constitution likes sweet heavy foods.
Someone with a lot of air in their constitution likes to do activities that require a lot of movement and expression.
Someone with a lot of fire in their constitution tends to like competitive sports.
Someone with a lot of earth in their constitution tends to like gentle forms of exercise.
Someone with too much fire should stay away from the spicy food and go for sweet tastes.
Someone with too much air should skip the chips and go for more warm cooked foods. Someone with too much earth should skip the sweet and heavy foods and go for something lighter.
Someone with a lot of air in their constitution should take time to sit still and relax during the day.
Someone with a lot of fire in their constitution should have fun and smile while they are exercising.
Someone with a lot of earth in their constitution should engage in more invigorating exercises.
These concepts are easy enough to take into consideration when planning meals or exercise routines and the pay off can be huge. But what I am really curious to learn is if this is interesting and useful to you. Please share your thoughts in the comment section.
In my next article I will teach you about the Ayurvedic concept of the doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha and hopefully get you thinking about which dosha is dominant within you (and therefore what elements) and what that information can teach you about yourself and your healing journey.
I am not kidding, Buffalo. Most major cities in the world have at least a couple of Ayurvedic centers for people to attend and receive guidance and support in establishing a more Ayurvedic lifestyle. While Buffalo's enthusiasm and discipline for yoga is evident (most yoga classes are packed) this component is missing.
I encourage you to tune in to this series to learn more. In the meantime, there are some solid people and places in the city able to help you on your journey to healing through Ayureveda.
Harisa Ayurvedic Wellness Center
Here you can get an Ayurvedic consultation by a classically trained Ayurvedic Clinician, Shanthy Jayakumar. She can tell you what dosha or doshas are in balance or out of balance within you. You can receive guidance on an appropriate diet, herbs to help balance you, and daily routines that support balance in your life. She is also a liscensed massage therapist and offers massage therapy to supprt healing. You can also find Harisa on Facebook here.
Arise From Within, Balance for Your Life
Margaret Tuerk is a local Ayurvedic Lifestyle Practioner and Life Coach. She can help you heal from imbalances that have developed in your life. She can work with you so you sleep better, eat better, relax more, have less tubulent emotions, and establish more nurturing daily routines through Ayurveda. She can suggest personalized herbs, body oils, and essential oils to help you in your healing process.
Monica McGuire at Metta Body
Monica is an Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist and massage therapist. She does private consultations in Auyrveda and can help you understand how the five elements manifest themselves within you. She can help you see how the elements around you in our environment are affecting you. She can suggest diet considerations and exercises that are a good fit for you, and guide you on how to use daily routines to help you find balance within. Monica is a compassionate listener and could be a huge support to anyone on a path to health, healing, and wholeness. Monica also teaches the best yoga classes at Yoga Parkside.
The Himalyan Institute at Buffalo, NY
Buffalo is blessed with one of the greatest resources for all of your Ayurvedic needs. The bookstore has everything you need to live an Ayurvedic lifestyle: oils, herbs, netti pots, yoga props, and teas, as well as the best selection of books on Yoga and Ayurveda in the city. The people here the friendliest and most helpful. Stop in, - the bookstore is open to the public - or check out the website to get the schedule for the Hatha yoga classes or upcoming workshops and events. You can also find HIBuffalo on Facebook, here.
Other helpful online resources: