Ayurveda 101: Ancient Remedies for A Renewed You

Ayurveda is considered one of the world’s oldest healing sciences, originating in India at least 5,000 years ago. This Sanskrit word translates as “the wisdom of life” or “the knowledge of longevity”.

In accordance with this definition, Ayurveda views health as much more than the absence of disease. Health, from an Ayurvedic perspective, is defined as maintaining a bright and clear state of the body, mind and spirit, including a balanced state of one’s natural constitution, bodily tissues and digestive system. Knowledge of Ayurvedic practices enables us to create this balance and teaches us how to make lifestyle changes to bring about and maintain a state of mind-body equanimity.

Just as we all have a unique fingerprint, each person has a particular pattern of energy—an individual combination of physical, mental and emotional characteristics—which comprises our unique constitution (dosha). But doshas are like anything in life; they are fluid and affected by circumstance, emotion, or even the seasons. Thus, Ayurveda takes a holistic approach to individual health, believing that all aspects of life contribute to balance including nutrition, lifestyle, seasons and long-term tendencies.  

In taking time to understand the unique nature of a person and situation, we see that people have a mind-body type that is specific to them, and movement away from this state is the source of health imbalances. If such imbalances are not addressed, disease may develop. Thus, the early signs of imbalance serve as a wakeup call to make gentle and natural shifts like adjusting our diet, modifying daily activities and taking herbal remedies.

The Basics

While Ayurvedic principles can be used to explain the complexity of not only health, but the world around us as well, there are a few simple basics:

  • Ayurveda’s fundamental approach to well-being is that you must reach your unique state of balance in your whole being—body, mind, and spirit.
     
  • The first line of defense in combating imbalances is to remove the cause of the problem. If the trouble-maker is out of the picture, the body starts being able to heal itself.
     
  • If there are any lingering imbalances after removing the inciting cause, then balance is established by using opposites. For example, the Ayurvedic remedy to excess heat is to use something cooling. So for excess heat or acidity in the digestive system, you use cooling foods.
     
  • A primary starting point is to support digestive fire (agni), so that nutrition can be absorbed and waste materials can be eliminated.

Sachi Doctor

Elemental Alchemy, 90 Rio Vista Avenue, Oakland, CA, 94611

Sachi Doctor is an Ayurvedic practitioner and holistic health coach who founded Elemental Alchemy with the mission to provide a resource for those navigating their way towards optimal mind-body health.

Diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at a young age, Sachi has spent over twenty years exploring different health modalities, treatment plans, diets and mindfulness practices to help alleviate chronic pain and restore balance.

After years of looking to others for a model of health with no relief, Sachi realized that the answers she sought were not hidden in someone else’s prescription for wellness but unique to her, and that the first step towards discovery was actually tuning out what was right for others and tuning into herself.

As she tapped into the wisdom of her own body, she discovered that the elements foundational for health  — the blueprint she so fervently sought — was within her, within each of us. Since then Sachi has been passionate about helping others also cultivate clarity and inner wisdom for vibrant health.

In addition to her Ayurvedic and nutrition education, Sachi has completed over 800 hours of yoga teacher training and continues to study with her mother, her first yoga teacher, for whom these practices are a way of life.

Sachi is a board member of the Prison Yoga Project at San Quentin State Prison and serves as an ambassador for Yoga Gives Back, a non-profit that raises funds within the US yoga community to support microcredit programs for women in India. She holds a Msc in Development from the London School of Economics.