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Ayurveda, the science of life

The literal translation of Ayurveda is ayur, meaning life, and veda, meaning knowledge. Put it all together, Ayurveda means “the knowledge of life”. It is a traditional medicine practice rooted in the oldest spiritual texts of ancient India, the Upavedas. The viewpoint being, that nothing in this world exists as an isolated entity. Working with the body mind and soul as a whole.

Three pillars which directly affect your body

  • The food you eat
  • The hours you sleep per night
  • The observance of bramacharya, meaning the wise use of sexual or vital energy
  • Wherever there is imbalance in the system, there is disorder and disease. ‘What rocks the boat, rocks the whole sea.’

Ayurvedic Health
Svastha: Established in the soul.
Ayurveda involves the improvement of health and aesthetics of the body, but more importantly, the practitioner becoming who they really are. Being at ease in the body and resting in the unchanging centre of our Self. Ayurveda wants us to develop a very close relationship to our own body, involving a strong emphasis on self-healing.
Our skin, our tongue, our belly, our emotions, as well as the struggles we go through in life, work, sex and relationships. We are asked to look at these elements of our life as a path towards healing because Ayurveda honours the direct and intertwined relationship between the bodies physical health and the mental/emotional body.

Study Guide

  • Where in your life can you simplify?
  • Where are you saying yes, when you really want to say no?
  • How are you going to use your creative potential and sexual vitality this season?
  • Ideas: New painting canvas. Start a garden. Take a pleasurable bath/walk/swim/yoga class.
  • If in a relationship, you can always work with your partner on deepening intimacy.

Ayurveda, The four goals of life

Health between the three pillars of Ayurveda and the four goals of life both originate from the ancient Indian Vedas texts, the Purusharthas. The Ayurvedic tradition takes these four core motivations and gives us permission to enjoy and pursue them, while not becoming overly attached to any of them.

The four goals of life

Dharma: Our essential life purpose
Ayurveda says that every human enters this life with a specific Dharma, and until we live that dharma, we will not feel filled. We aim to Embody our full expression and purpose by bringing our uniqueness to every one of life’s circumstances. Our dharma is different to how Society measures success. Our attitude within that job or position is what makes the difference. In order to align with our essential life purpose, we need enough balance to hear the inner voice of our intuition. Researchers are now confirming the existence of a creative psychological flow space that people enter in when working in their dharma.

Meditation is key. If i had limitless finances and time, what would I being doing right now?
write down “I would be…(sailing every sea in the world)”
Now write in present tense “I sail the sea” and notice all the resistance that comes up and write them down ‘I dont have the money’ or ‘I cant sail’ Your job is to loosen the grip of the negative statements. Write phrases to counteract the negative statements. ‘I cant sail right now but I am almost finished my course and will be able to next year’.

Moksha: Freedom. Ultimate happiness is inside ourselves
Waking up in the morning and feeling fearless. Unaffected by the recurring cycles of pain/pleasure and birth/death. Moksha is truly needing nothing and no one to be whole and complete.
The more we advance on the path of knowing who we are, the more this goal becomes clear and we can align our life choices with decisions and opportunities that will support our own true freedom.
Imbalance on this path manifests as spiritual egoism, attached to the idea of freedom. Attempts to freedom through attempting to run away from the ‘bad’ world by checking out into a ‘spiritual zone where we don’t deal with our issues. The teachings state this is impossible. We have to deal with our own internal struggles through the cycles of pleasure/pain and birth/death by becoming a loving witness to all of life’s dualities.

How fearlessly and joyfully do you live your life in this current, imperfect world?
How well do you surrender your negative feelings when you don’t get what you want?
We can delight in the existence of this illusory, temporary world of senses while at the same time, experiencing the delight behind it all.

Kama: Deep sensory satisfaction
Notice what happens when you smell onions simmering in olive oil. The digestive enzymes used for processing food are released at just the smell of delicious food. Be deeply aware when in thae present moment, while enjoying the pleasure. over-indulgence brings you out of balance in Kama. We risk overdoing it with our senses in control, whether it be chocolate, TV, Alcohol, shopping, sex, exercise…

Identify what you tend to over-indulge with? What do you do when you feel yourself clinging to pleasures?

Artha: The means for prospering
Notice what tools you have that help you move forward in life. From your clothes, to your house, to your good health and your phone.
Imbalance in Artha is when we become greedy or too focussed on materialism. Unconscious hoarding or spending, where a primary motivating force in life becomes acquiring things.
Artha imbalance is also evident in people who feel wrong or guilty to want for things such as a warm home or comfort. The opposite of the spectrum and just as harmful for our total wellness.

Journal on your Artha. Do you sense any imbalances?

Ayurveda is compassionate with our hearts. Why? Because the four goals act as sweet reminders that the heart has deep and perhaps even hidden, desires. These four desires are the cornerstone upon which your health and well-being can rest. When we make these desires a foundation point, we begin to live a more complete and balanced life: our soul begins to thrive at many different levels of existence – physical, sensual, intellectual and spiritual. The backbone of feeling truly joyful and deeply fulfilled is when you thrive and feel happy and you can be sure that the whole world feels the contribution of your soul, and in turn becomes a better place to live.

Study Guide

  • How are you currently thriving in each of these four life pursuits?
  • Which of these desires does your heart crave the most?
  • Once you have your answer, brainstorm some concrete ways that you can fulfill that desire. Put them in the present tense eg.:
  • Every day, I dance to my favourite music for 15 minutes because it brings me great pleasure.
  • I work on my book I am writing for 30 minutes every day.
  • I volunteer at the homeless shelter once every month.