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The 4 pillars of Ayurveda

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Everybody is speaking about it, but what is it actually ? what are the founding principles of Ayurveda ? in this article I will attempt to give you a glimpse of what it is, and if you get to the end of it, you might even want to try to identify your typology. Principle no1. : we are made of a balance of elements

Ayurveda literally means “the Science of life” (vital flow). In the same way as Chinese medicine, it is a global medicine which takes into account all the components of the human being (physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual) and its environment (its natural ecosystem).

The principle of this medicine is based on the five elements which we find around us (on planet earth and in the univers) and inside each of us: Earth - Water - Fire - Air - Ether

We find these elements in everything: plants, animals, emotions, food. These elements will constitute the Doshas, the vital energies which are the forces responsible for bodily, physical and psychological functions. We distinguish :

Vata Dosha (Air+Ether) - Pitta Dosha (Fire+Water) - Kapa Dosha (Water+Earth)

The Ayurvedic diet is based on the Doshas and flavours: bitter, sour, astringent, sweet, salty, spicy. Flavours impact the Doshas. For a meal that gives complete satisfaction, which balances the tissues and the Doshas and does not cause cravings, you must find these 6 flavours on your plate.

Principle no.2 : balance and energy through food

In Ayurveda, we do not think of food in terms of vitamins, proteins or fats: we think more in terms of “energy”. Eating well therefore involves carefully choosing your “fuel” but also following certain rules to contribute to good digestion. Contrary to what is often believed, Ayurvedic cuisine is not strictly vegetarian: it uses, in particular, ghee (clarified butter) to cook, as well as dairy products. You can also eat meat, fish and eggs, but always in moderation, or during periods of convalescence. We only cook and eat fresh food, never canned foods, ready-made meals or even frozen foods. We try to consume what was cooked the same day, the next day at most but not after. This does not necessarily result in complicated dishes, but in good combinations of foods and spices. We eat only when we are hungry (and not out of a simple desire to eat, or out of social habit), copiously, enough to satisfy yourself but without exceeding your appetite, without ever "filling yourself up": in Ayurveda, the rule is that The stomach is filled with one third solid, one third liquid (water but also soups or juices) and one third empty, which allows it to contract more easily. And when you don't have an appetite, you don't force yourself to eat and you limit yourself to drinking herbal tea, don't force yourself.

Eat in a pleasant place, calmly, slowly and mindfully, with joy, without bringing your worries and concerns to the table and never in front of a screen. Eating while doing something else or in poor conditions upsets the digestive process. The dishes are beautifully presented, to fully enjoy the flavors and textures, scents and their visual appearance, which, again, promotes digestion thanks to salivary enzymes.

Don't spend hours at the table. Even if they are tasty, meals should remain simple and quick. All dishes are served at the same time.

Principle no.3 : balance through body care

"Watching over your body and maintaining it daily is one of the major concerns of Indian thought, because the quest for purity is fundamental for the development of the being. In Ayurveda, it is considered that without the support of the body, the soul could not be there. We must therefore maintain this body,” explains Sylvie Verbois, author of various works on Ayurveda.

Body care helps in particular to eliminate ama, these deposits of toxins that can harm the proper functioning and regeneration of different tissues. They are also an opportunity to observe this body which, sometimes, sends us signs of imbalance.

These different gestures constitute the "dinacharya", this "daily routine" which, alongside diet and state of mind, constitutes one of the three pillars of health according to Ayurveda. “These daily actions are of crucial importance for those who want to approach health and well-being from a preventive angle,” emphasizes Michèle Beck, Ayurvedic advisor and therapist.

Principle no.4 : balance through healthy lifestyle

Morning, afternoon, evenings and nights carry different energies.

The ideal is to get up early when the energy is strong, but also pure and light. The body is rested, recharged with energy, cleansed of toxins, and breathing is good.

At work, we recommend remaining as calm as possible and limiting pressure as much as possible to save energy. We break off at midday to have a copious lunch (this is the main meal) around 12 p.m. (12:30 p.m. maximum), the time when Agni (digestive fire) is strongest, which allows for much better digestion and assimilation of nutrients. .

At the end of the day, we relieve stress by taking a walk to connect with Nature, but also by practicing a creative activity, by surrounding ourselves with family and friends. A vata person will need a snack: he needs to feed several times during the day (always in small quantities). If you are Pitta you can eat 3 meals a day, no need for a snack because he eats in quantity and digests well. Moreover, he is hungry at mealtime, which he often even waits for with impatience and appetite! Kapha is a born snacker. She just has to watch what she eats so as not to swallow anything and gain weight.

Because the night heals, repairs, rebuilds, we must make sure to sleep well, ideally by going to bed around 10 p.m. maximum to be able to get a good night's sleep and wake up early refreshed and ready. Vata is generally exhausted in the evening and doesn't hang out too much, while Pitta is relatively in good shape and Kapha, more of a "night owl", has difficulty going to bed early... hence his problems with emerge in the morning.

In our online retreats, we observe these principles and slowly integrate them into our routine.

Sign up here to get the E-BOOK with much more details and the online test to find out your dosha !

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