What is Ayurveda? And what does it have to do with weight control?
In a word, Harmony. Ayurveda is an ancient Indian healing art dating back 5,000 years ago to the Indus Valley in India, known to be one of the five cradles of early civilization. In response to major climatic shifts and political invasions along the Indus, the wise sages of India gathered to address the need of the peoples, Indian and others, to defend themselves from disease.
Ayurveda, translated loosely from Sanskrit as meaning the study of life cycles, grew out of meditations of those sages as a means of eliminating disease. The principles developed by the sages were based on the notion that a body in harmony with nature was a disease free body. The essential purpose of Ayurveda is not the treatment of disease, but to promote the body’s innate intelligence to maintain its optimal well-being.
Today, Ayurveda has come full circle into the Western world with its influence upon yoga, meditation and astrology, and more recently, on conventional medicine. Medical doctors are becoming trained in the principles of Ayurveda, and medical specialty programs now exist in the United States through Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa.
Massage therapists are beginning to utilize Ayurvedic principles by applying aromatherapy techniques as well as specific aromas recommended for one’s constitutional type or dosha. There are three primary body types: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Combinations of these types govern body structure and both physiological and psychological action tendencies. According to Ayurveda, when there is an imbalance present in the doshas, this subsequently manifests as disease or a problem that ultimately could lead to disease.
Weight control techniques are taught in accordance with one’s dosha. In Ayurveda it is believed that no excess weight shall exist unless there exists an imbalance in the body. An Ayurveda specialist or consultant is likely more concerned with when you eat than what you eat. It is recommended that we eat our largest meal when Pitta is the sharpest, offering the most digestive energies to completely digest the meal. This is during the peak of sunlight around 12:00 – 12:30.
Diet Gurus of Ayurvedic leaning will also be concerned with what else you eat, as the balance of foods is important to support the balance of the body. What you eat should change depending on the time of the year as well as the time of the day. This is confusing to dieters who are given contradictory advice about weight loss. The balance of the body with nature means that we eat larger amounts of heavier foods in the winter months for warmth, and smaller, lighter meals in the summer months for coolness.
Today’s culprits are not so much the chocolate cake for dessert as the late hour at which the dessert is eaten. According to Ayurvedic principles, the body is healthiest when sleep is begun at around 10PM when the light evening meal has been partially digested. The price we pay for violating this law of nature is often insomnia or acid indigestion because we are demanding that our bodies get busy digesting when they naturally want to rest. Paying attention to these and other simple laws of nature will permit the body to behave according to its own intelligence and excess weight should disappear.
Hypnosis, when combined with the teachings of Ayurveda, allows the body to recover its innate programming and can address the whys of overeating. As a perfect complement to Ayurveda, hypnosis is also used to install new exercise behaviors recommended specifically for your Ayurvedic dosha type. Strenuous exercise may be contraindicated for certain constitutional types! The time of the day one engages in exercise is also critical to the success of a body transformational program. When we go against the flow, disobeying the laws of nature, our bodies grow out of harmony and develop excess weight or even disease.