How Ayurveda Helped Me Love My Body

By Lucia Whalen
August 31, 2016

R..Pulse. Credit - Rohit Tandon
Like many young women, I grew up idolizing images of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and the Spice Girls, all of whom graced magazine covers with size 2 bodies and gave off the impression to five year old girls that it was normal to wear belly shirts everyday.

 

Mixed Messages and Me

Now, I have never been a size two, and never will be. In fact, I think the closest I have ever come to a size two was on the day of my birth. As an athletic kid, I grew up with more brawn than slim. Because of this, as a young girl being fed a one-size-fits-all image by the mainstream media of what “attractive” women look like, I failed to develop an appreciation for my natural body-type. As I moved into my teenage years, my poor-body image, along with the mixed messages from the media about what I “should” and “shouldn’t” eat (Fat is Bad! Eat as many Avocados as you want! Eat cabbage soup for a month!), I developed a very distorted understanding of what my body truly needed in order to be healthy. The worst part was, I loved to eat! And the more I deprived myself in order to look a certain way, the unhappier I felt.

 

Discovering Ayurveda

After years of confusion and dissatisfaction with my body, I received a pulse reading from Dr. Lokesh, a globally renowned Ayurveda and Pulse assessment expert, when he visited my hometown of Chicago. And after years of feeling that I wasn’t the person I was supposed to be, I was suddenly reminded who I truly am.

“…after years of feeling that I wasn’t the person I was supposed to be, I was suddenly reminded who I truly am”

I sat down beside Dr. Lokesh, and he immediately asked for my wrists, skipping over the nervous chitchat played out at the usual doctor’s office visit. After a few minutes of his listening to my pulse, he announced that, out of the three doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha), I had a predominantly Pitta constitution, along with a little Kapha. What did this mean? According to Dr. Lokesh,

“Pittas are intelligent, focused, attractive, and leaders. You also have strong digestion, but because of that you often think you can eat anything. You also have a strong appetite – never skip a meal. And don’t get seconds, as you have the tendency to overeat.”

And the Kapha?

“Kaphas have a strong build and stamina. Kapha people are patient, strong, and loyal. However, you can get lazy and have a sweet tooth. Stay away from sweets and overeating to avoid weight gain and diabetes.”

All of my body-image “shoulds” were wiped away within the span of 15 minutes as I learned the reality of my constitution and what I need in terms of food, herbs, and lifestyle to experience optimal health.

“All of my body-image “shoulds” were wiped away within the span of 15 minutes as I learned the reality of my constitution”

Recognizing my Strengths

Learning about my constitution through pulse reading has helped me to identify my strengths, rather than weaknesses. For example, while I may not be a top candidate for the spot of fifth Spice Girl, I am blessed with a strong stamina and athletic build, which allows me to be a top competitor in sports, and will allow me to stay active late into life. Those competitive traits, when balanced, also support my natural leadership skills and focus.

Besides providing me emergency body-image relief, pulse readings with Dr. Lokesh have often unearthed the non-physical aspects of my life that may be affecting my health. As Ayurveda takes a holistic approach to health, incorporating body, mind, and spirit into each evaluation, guidance provided by Dr. Lokesh has helped me transition out of a dead-end job, identify how romantic relationships affect my health, and develop trust.

For those interested in receiving a pulse reading for the first time, remember that pulse assessments are not a replacement for western medicine, but rather are a strong complement, and can provide basic insights into food and lifestyle often overlooked in the pharmaceutical-dominated medical industry. Whether you are new to Ayurveda or are a pulse-diagnosis pro, I invite you to take advantage of Dr. Lokesh’s United States tour and listen in to what your pulse has to say!

lucia whalen blog writerWritten by Lucia Whalen
Editor’s Note: Thank you for sharing your life-changing experience with us Lucia.

If you’re interested to learn about your body type, register for a free telephone consultation with an Ayurvedic practitioner – click here

             

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.

 

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TAGS: Ayurveda , Ayurvedic diet , Body Image , constitution , dosha , health , kapha , natural lifestyle , pitta , Pulse Assessment , wellness

Ayurveda 101: 2 Keys to Understanding Ayurveda

By Andrew
June 12, 2015

Prevention and Restoration

In our last article, swastya, or health, is described as the aim of Ayurveda.

Given that health is our goal, Ayurveda has two main purposes:

The first is to assist healthy people to stay well for a long time.

The second use is getting people healthy.

The first supports preventive health and the second is part of an integrative approach to health and wellness.

Being well and getting well…

1. How to Stay Well: Prakruti

Align with Your Nature

Prakruti means your original nature. Each person is born with a distinct natural constitution.

By understanding our nature, we have the foundations to build a healthy lifestyle. An optimum lifestyle supports our specific nature through diet, activity and self-care.

 

Specific food choices may be positive for one person while irritating for another. This is because the salutary effect of a particular food depends on our nature – so it’s vitally important to understand our nature first.

 

2. How to Get Well: Vikruti

Due to the influence of climate, stress, lifestyle or nutrition, the body falls ill from time to time.

Ayurveda plays a key role as part of a complete, integrative, approach to health. It can help complement standard medical techniques in reducing complications, invigorating health and restoring balance. “Vikruti” means falling out of line with our nature. It is a state where balance has been lost. Returning to balance is the second goal of Ayurveda.

 

An Ayurveda consultation starts with the question: what is your nature, your prakruti? Simply by feeling your pulse, a skilled Ayurveda health practitioner (AHP) can tell your nature. Based on this, recommendations can be given for the food, lifestyle habits and supplements that will best support your health.

In the second part of the consultation, an Ayurveda health practitioner assesses where alignment has been lost with your nature.

Stunningly, what has come out of alignment can be described in accurate detail. Often done without any discussion, by merely reading the pulse. Suggestions can then be made for the practices, foods and supplements that should be used as part of a complementary health approach to align you with your nature again.

Being well and getting well, prakruti and vikruti, are the two key concepts for understanding Ayurveda’s amazing, integrative approach to living with vibrant health.

   

If you’d like to learn how to energize your lifestyle through Ayurveda, check out our free guide, “Ayurveda 101: Vibrant Health through the Science of Life”.

 

button-ayurveda-101

 

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.

 

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TAGS: Ayurveda , Ayurveda 101 , constitution , health , prakruti , vikruti , wellness

Know Yourself by Knowing Your Ayurvedic Body Type

By Lokesh Rathuri
February 6, 2015

DoshaBodies

KNOW YOUR TYPE:

Your Ayurvedic body type, or constitution, is at the heart of Ayurveda’s approach to well-being. Knowing your constitution allows you to maximize your quality of life, health and happiness by following the recommendations for food and lifestyle for each constitution.

An Ayurvedic pulse diagnosis with an expert is the best way to recognize one’s constitution.

I’ve spoken about the general characteristics of each body type to help familiarize readers with general tendencies. So read on to acquaint yourself with the main constitutions and the self-discovery that is the joy of Ayurveda.


THE GOOD LIFE (for your type):

Ayurveda means the science of longevity; it is the science of how to live a long, healthy life. “Ayu” is the life span we spend with the body. The spirit is immortal — it can be with the body or without it, but the union of body, mind and spirit — how long that combination stays, that time span is called ayu. How to live that time happily and in good health is the knowledge of Ayurveda. So how do we live this way?

In this respect, Ayurveda says there are four aspects:

  • What is good for the body
  • What is unhealthy
  • What makes us happy
  • What makes us sad

It is like driving a car in that once you know the rules of the road, you can drive safely. And it is the same with life also, once you know these four aspects.

For that we need to know the body and mind. The body is made of five elements, space, air, fire water and earth. Physiologically, these elements function as three bio-dynamic forces, called vata, pitta and kapha.  These are called variously dhatus, substances, dosha, or prakriti, our natural constitution. What is the importance of knowing you Ayurvedic body type?

While every individual is born with five elements, the constitutional makeup and the relative proportions of each element are a little different, and our lifestyle also differs based on your type.
Doshas_vata

 

VATA

Those who are born with more of the space and air element have a vata constitution. Generally, a vata person will be very thin, more talkative, restless; they  typically have a lower body weight, dry skin, brittle nails, thin hair, and small, slightly sunken eyes.  While walking, their joints may make sounds. In terms of climate, they tend to prefer warm or hot weather, while they may have trouble tolerating the cold. They have a hard time gaining weight, so they tend to be thin with a low weight.

 

Doshas_pitta

 

PITTA

Next are pitta people, those who are born with hotter constitutions, containing more of the fire element. A pitta person is generally active, good looking, a perfectionist, dynamic, intelligent and also short tempered. They may have leadership qualities, a moderate build, a smart personality, a sharp nose, and their eyes will also be sharp, sometimes offset with a  slight pinkish tint. Due to the unfortunate ease with which a pitta person gets imbalanced, hair loss and early greying are common. They are generally slightly warm to the touch with rosy lips and pink nails with a slight curve.

 

Doshas_kapha
KAPHA

Kapha indicates a preponderance of the water and earth element. People with this kapha constitution are generally cool, calm, lazy,  cheerful, stocky (if not overweight). If assigned a task, they never complete the task in time. Actually, Ayurveda says that because a kapha person is the least bothered, happiest type of person on the whole planet, the best constitution is kapha. They’re cheerful all the time! Other qualities include a thick build, thick, dark hair, big eyes with white around,  and prominent, shiny, white teeth. The skin may also be thick, moist, and a little cool to the touch. As a personality type, while they tend to accumulate stuff, they also have a sharing streak that moves them to service for society.

 

These are the three main Ayurvedic body types, though mixes also appear — pitta-kapha, pitta-vata, vata-kapha and saamya, one whose constitution contains all of the five elements in equal ratios.

 

Constitution is what we are born with. When we eat the proper food and follow the lifestyle that suits our Ayurvedic body type,  we have better chances of staying fit, healthy and happy for a long time.

 

We’ll continue in following posts with more detail on each constitution and some tips for each type to keep your body in balance. To talk with an Ayurvedic practitioner about your body type, you can select a free consultation via telephone at the link below.

 

ayurveda consultation

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TAGS: Ayurveda , constitution , dosha , kapha , lifestyle , pitta , prakriti , vata