An Ayurvedic Guide To Spring

herbs closeup

Lighter mornings and evenings; the popping up of crocuses and daffodils; the budding of trees –  all the newness and lush growth surrounding us in nature signifies it’s the perfect time to give ourselves a kick-start. However, coming out of winter into spring can feel quite harsh, there’s a sense that we should be bounding with energy, yet we’re not quite in full swing. This is very natural – all holistic health systems recognise the need to support the body during seasonal transition.

In Ayurveda (the Indian ‘science of life’), it’s recognised that our inner systems are affected by our outer environment and the cold, damp air of early spring increases our susceptibility to catarrh, mucus, sniffles and colds as well as allergic rhinitis, hay fever and asthma when trees and flowers begin to release their pollen. This is seen as kapha imbalance – kapha being one of the system’s three doshas; sets of qualities relating to constitution which need to be in balance for good health. Kapha tendencies also include lethargy, water retention and weight gain which makes sense of the sluggishness we often feel after months of hibernating from the cold and dark. We might feel melancholic too, and coming into the brightness of spring light can literally and metaphorically leave us blinking. The good news is the Ayurvedic approach is to adjust our eating, exercise and body care routines subtly so we gently shake off the vestiges of winter and emerge into the longer days slowly and gradually. Read More…

Ayurveda: What Your Dosha Can Say About You

Ayuvedic tea

Health fads may come and go. But you can’t really argue with a mind-body health system that’s been around, so it’s said, for up to 5,000 years, when Indian monks were seeking new ways to be healthy. (For translation purposes, ‘ayur’ means life force, or vital energy, while ‘veda’ means science.)

Now, I’d always been interested in Ayurveda – in a magazine-reader-fun-questionnaire sort of way. You’ve probably done one yourself: answered a list of questions asking about body shape, energy levels, preferred foods, whether or not you tend to feel hot and cold, etc. I’d figured out that I was classified as ‘pitta’ – but never taken it much further than that. (Pitta is a ‘dosha’ – basically, doshas are your constitution. The other two are vata and kapha, more of which anon.) Read More…

Understanding Ayurveda

Understanding-Ayurveda

It was when Aveda, the trailblazer of holistic beauty products hit the UK in the mid 90s that I first became aware of Ayurveda. Aveda’s founder, Horst Rechelbacher had been to India in the 1960s and discovered yogic practices to heal himself of his rock and roll hairdressing days and these practices became part of his life. He ended up studying at an Ayurvedic hospital in Himalayas and fed this knowledge into his range of luxury naturals for hair and body, shortening the word to coin the now global brand name.

I remember being intrigued by the word Ayurveda. It comes from the ancient language of Sanskrit (a sort of Indian equivalent of Latin) and has two roots – ‘ayus’ which means daily living and ‘vid’ meaning knowledge. From this, Ayurveda translates as knowledge of daily living, although it’s often referred to as the science of life. Now wellness, green juices and all things yogic are uber fashionable, we’re surrounded by products which use herbs and methods from the Indian holistic medical system. Tulsi herbal tea; Gotu Kola supplements; hair conditioners with Neem Oil; Shirodhara hot oil massage, to name a few. Yet how many of us really understand its origins? Read More…