The Twelve Days of Ayurveda
By Andrea Foster, Education Director
Borrowing inspiration from a holiday song you may have heard of, we at the dhyana Center would like to present The Twelve Days of Ayurveda. These 12 concepts give a taste of the wealth of knowledge Ayurveda offers in understanding how to live in balance. Feel free to sing along…
12. Biorhythm Periods
In Vedic healing lore, different times of day are particularly significant for different organs in the body, such as 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. correlating to the lungs and 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. related to the liver. Tune into your body’s rhythms to learn when it’s best to let an organ rest or to link imbalance to a particular system.
11. Organs Tracking
An Ayurvedic practitioner can monitor 5 superficial organs and 6 vital organs that control all the body’s work. Superficial organs release waste daily and perform all the active tasks in the body. Vital organs, much like office managers, have multiple jobs and depend on the superficial organs in order to do these jobs. All 11 should work smoothly to keep the body healthy.
10. Pulse Levels
In Ayurveda, the body’s pulse can reveal information about all the body’s organs, bones, nerves, tissues, and even energetic balance. There are 10 total levels that can provide all the information about your health and wellbeing.
9. Important Liquids
Important liquids, called Anupāna in Sanskrit, are the best drinks or substances to take after eating or to deliver medication. They are water, coconut water, milk, yogurt, buttermilk, butter, ghee, oil, and honey. What’s inyour mug?
8. Chakras Spinning
Chakras, translated as “wheels” in Sanskrit, are spinning centers of energy that line the central axis of the body. Ancient Vedic literature describes eight chakras, situating a mind or point chakra in the hypothalamus between the third eye and the crown. Chakras are places where imbalance can begin and are directly connected to the glands of the physical body.
7. Nourished Dhatus
Continuing your Sanskrit education, the dhātus are tissues in the body. These play an important role in the body’s development, nourishment, and maintenance and they form the structure of the body. The dhatus are plasma, blood, muscles, fat, tendons and ligaments, bone marrow, and reproductive tissue.
6. Rasas Tasty
In Ayurvedic nutrition, it’s important to represent the six taste factors or rasas in order to bring maximum balance to the food you take into your body. The rasas are astringent, bitter, pungent, salty, sour and sweet. You may also crave a certain rasa when there’s an imbalance occurring and your craving can reveal important clues about how to nourish yourself properly.
Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Ether. These elements combine in your body to varying degrees and represent what you feel, how you think, health and states of disease, and what food serves you best.
4. Tiers of Health
Feeling off? The best course of action is in the following order:
- Look at emotions moment to moment,
- Use food as medicine, daily,
- Add remedies and supplements when needed, and
- See a practitioner to get advice prior to dis-ease.
3. Doshas Balanced
Quick quizzes that promise to tell you your Ayurvedic constitution may label you as Kapha, Pitta, orVata. But, these three doshas are all found within you from your birth. Imagine a scale with three pans instead of two – the goal of living would be to keep all three pans level. Anything can tip a side, from too much cheese to an argument with your best friend. And you can describe imbalance in any body system in terms of the doshas and their more subtle aspects. Mastering an understanding of all the manifestations of the doshas can take a lifetime.
2. Ida and Pingala
These two concepts represent feminine and masculine, matter and pure consciousness in Samkhya philosophy, the Vedic understanding of creation. Ida and Pingala also exist energetically in the body, loosely twisting like the snakes of the caduceus around the spinal cord. Balancing these two nerve pathways is one goal of hatha yoga.
And A Pancha Karma Cleansing Retreat
Whether you travel to India or to the dhyana Center, whether you treat yourself once a lifetime or as part of yearly health maintenance, a pancha karma retreat is Ayurveda at its best. This life-transforming journey can melt away old attachments, reset digestion, invigorate your immune system, and inspire deep change in your life. It might be the best gift you could possibly give yourself or another.
We here at the dhyana Center hope this little ditty, irreverent as it may be, has brought a smile to your face and a perhaps new understanding of an ancient science. We certainly hope that your holidays will bring you joy, balance, and positive growth. Here’s to your health!