Preview- An Essential Guide to Ayurveda

Essential Guide to Ayurveda- A Textbook for Students & Counselors has five sections

Section 1- Foundations of Ayurveda

  • Chapter 1- Introduction to Ayurvedic Medicine

  • Chapter 2 - History and Mythology

  • Chapter 3- Scope of Practice

  • Chapter 4 - The four pillars of healings

  • Chapter 5- Ayurveda Philosophy

  • Chapter 6- 5 Elements-20 Gunas

  • Chapter 7- Dosas and Prakrti

  • Chapter 8- Dhatus and Srotas

Section 2- Svastha Vrtta

  • Chapter 9- Dinacarya

  • Chapter 10- Ritucarya

Section 3- Ahara (Nutrition)

  1. Chapter 11- Prasnam-Interviewing and Counseling

  2. Chapter 12-Tenets of Ayurvedic Nutrition

  3. Chapter 13-Prana, Tejas and Ojas

  4. Chapter 14 - The Six Rasas

  5. Chapter 15- Pathya Kalpana

  6. Chapter 16- Food and the Mind

  7. Chapter 17- Decoding Agni

  8. Chapter 18- Ama and Mala

  9. Chapter 19 - Herbs and Spices

Section 4- Sattvavijaya Cikitsa

Chapter 20- Manas

Chapter 21- Mantras and Meditation

Chapter 22- Vastu

Section 5- Nidana

Here is a little PREVIEW of chapter 1 – Introduction to Āyurvedic Medicine

āyur asmin vidyate anena vā ‘yur vindanti iti āyurvedaḥ - Suśruta Saṁhitā

Eight years ago in Encinitas, California, while conducting a yoga teacher training program, I asked each of my students to share with the rest of the class his or her thoughts about what they understood of Āyurveda. One student answered that Āyurveda is a type of shampoo and “other great hair products”. Most of the class understood it as a type of massage therapy, while others had heard it was referred to as the sister science of yoga.

Another yoga student, who felt some familiarity with the terminology of Āyurveda, announced to the class that his constitution was all vāta and zero kapha. I gently informed him and the rest of the class this was impossible. We are a combination and permutation of all three doṣas. I followed this train of thought for the next two hours, gradually clarifying concepts and helping the students to connect to Āyurveda in a personal way.

Five years later, I bumped into a stranger who recognized me. He was a participant in the yoga workshop from years ago. He told me that he had furthered his studies in Āyurveda, and eventually pursued it as a career. This was all because of that one little lecture I did years ago in my yoga teacher training. At that moment, I felt profound gratification as a teacher.

This made me realize that because Āyurveda is still in its infancy and growth stage here in the United States, we, as practitioners of Āyurveda have a responsibility. More than ever, it became clear that we are the torch-bearers, ambassadors, emissaries, and messengers of this ancient modality, holding up the brilliant light of Āyurveda for all the world to see. Now that we have become representatives of this ancient practice, which is finding new roots in the West, we must be mindful of how we conduct ourselves in the public eye.

With each passing year in my Āyurvedic practice, I become increasingly convinced that Āyurvedic practitioners are naturally in the business of teaching and educating their clients, students, family, friends, and community. It was, therefore a natural progression for my husband and me to start teaching Āyurveda. In 2009, we established the San Diego College of Āyurveda.

We believe Āyurveda and Yoga are so powerful that incorporating even a simple idea from these modalities can have quite an impact. Simple examples include asking a client to avoid cold beverages with meals, substituting iced tea with warm herbal teas, or taking a break from the computer screen every 90 minutes to rest the eyes.

Some of these very simple educational tips practiced over an extended period of time have had life-changing impacts for my own clients. As we move forward, I shall give examples of these simple tips in action and of healing through our five senses.

As I mentioned in the beginning, I have developed my script for promoting the Āyurvedic lifestyle to facilitate behavior change. Let’s face it, asking someone to have a heavy lunch and light dinner when they have been doing the opposite for twenty years is not easy.

In fact, changing our own behavior and conditioning is not easy; it is hard. I, therefore, believe that for those who seek holistic help, it is part of our job description to motivate them to try the change in lifestyle.

When a new client visits me for the first time, and I ask how they heard of Āyurveda, there are myriad explanations. They may have visited an Āyurvedic practitioner before, or a friend may have told them. However, if I ask my clients about the meaning of Āyurveda and what are their expectations, then I usually get a confused look. Sometimes clients believe Āyurveda will fix their issue because other modalities could not. The truth is that there is no fix-it pill. Āyurveda is a preventative healing modality and a lifestyle. It must be lived every day.

Āyurveda is preventive and requires active participation. The results are not magical. There is no quick-fix herbal formulation. The bottom line is this: if we don't educate our friends, family, future clients, and our communities, then we can’t motivate. We will be in trouble.

1.3 Introducing Āyurvedic medicine to a layperson or your client

As Āyurveda is a relatively new phenomenon in the United States, I am often asked, “What do you do?” This question comes up frequently, whether I am at a social event, at a school function, or when a prospective client calls me for a consultation. As you can imagine, an explanation of the concepts of Āyurvedic medicine can end up becoming long-winded!

As you progress further in your Āyurvedic studies, either as a student or as an experienced Āyurvedic counselor or practitioner, you will find many opportunities to speak and educate your community about Āyurveda.

You may be at a dinner, a fundraiser, a community function, or a yoga studio. Perhaps you will be speaking to your neighbors and friends. You may even find yourself answering questions about Āyurveda on airplanes and trains like I have! But most importantly, you will be fielding questions from family members and clients.

This book was written to strengthen the foundation of Āyurvedic knowledge for those who wish to learn about Āyurveda for their own health, and for students who actively pursue Āyurveda as a career.

Because of these different audiences, I give two definitions to two different audiences. One definition is more simple and is intended for the general public and clients. The other definition draws from ancient Āyurvedic texts and is meant to be discussed within the practicing Āyurvedic community.

After many years, I have come up with a simplified explanation for these opportune moments:



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