What is Ayurveda and what does it mean to be Ayurvedic?

What is Ayurveda?Ayurveda “the science of life” is one of the oldest medical sciences on the planet, and while it is impossible to summarize in a few sentences, we’ll provide what we feel is most relevant to get started . What we want to understand is how Ayurveda can be used as a lens to understand our bodies (mentally, physically, and spiritually), our world, and all of the relationships that influence us. Ayurveda posits that we are all born with a unique mind/body constitution and what we do over the course of our lives, the foods we eat, the company we keep, the environment we live in, the careers we have, and the exercise we in which we engage, either brings us into balance or into a state of dis-ease. By understanding how our relationships with all of these things affect us, we can understand how to begin finding balance.

gayatriyantraWhat does it mean for a food, exercise, lifestyle practice, or treatment to be Ayurvedic? For something to be Ayurvedic does it need to come from India and be listed in the ancient texts? If we say no, then how do we define it? At Mama Ayurveda, we see Ayurveda as an umbrella that encompasses all things in the world. We can categorize everything into those things which bring balance for us, and those that do not. AND, everything is individual – what balances you may not balance your friend. If a food, medicine, or activity helps bring you into balance, then it can be considered an Ayurvedic therapy for you.

The ancient Ayurvedic texts contain many powerful “classically Ayurvedic” practices and preparations. But it’s our opinion that in order to bring Ayurveda into our modern western lives, we also need to incorporate practices, information, and technologies that were not available thousands of years ago in India. Sometimes we want to find herbs, foods, or tools mentioned in the texts that are nearly impossible to come by in the time and/or place in which we live. That means we need to adapt using the knowledge and concepts of Ayurveda. To eat Ayurvedically is not necessarily to eat food with Indian spices, but it could be. To treat Ayurvedically is not necessarily to use classical preparations with herbs from India, but it could be.

In this vein, we at Mama Ayurveda offer our ideas, tools, suggestions, and adaptations that are true to the science of Ayurveda but accessible in the modern western world in which we live.