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Effort, Examination, Awareness

Enjoy this excerpt from our upcoming book, co-authored by our in-house Ayurvedic doctor Manish Chandra.

Ayurveda and it sister meta-physical science Yoga teach us an integral system of awareness of the relationship of our physical, mental and Spiritual experience. Both approaches provide us with a training in our individual capacities, a training that allows us to take more responsibility for our lives — our thoughts, attitudes, actions, dietary habits, behavior, and hereditary manifestations, as well as all our mental processes. Ayurveda and Yoga are sciences of Self-reliance. They are trainings that teach non-victimism. They guide us to an inner knowledge of how we affect our own world and its consequences. Self effort, self-examination and self-awareness are the methods of self discipline given. We need to continuously reawaken and cultivate these tools. The medium through which we can apply these tools and improve ourselves, as with all healing is love.  

"Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself."


Ayurveda provides a direct way for being aware of our intimate interdependency with nature. By understanding the manifestation of the universal elements we can understand how our diet and environment directly affect us through the equation that like nourishes like and opposites decrease one another. Ayurveda is a method of healing with nature, since ultimately, it is only nature that can heal. It is only nature that can coordinate the parts and bring them back into a functioning, harmonious whole. Health is a way of life and our health-style and health care must involve approaches to coordinating and reorganizing our entire being. Bringing the body, mind and Spirit into greater harmony produces higher and higher levels of health. An understanding and sensitivity to diet plays not only a supportive role in one's self growth and study of one's thoughts, emotions and use of the body but it also provides the fundamental context for preventative medicine. The road leading to both our goal of disease prevention as well as inner peace runs inevitably through our stomachs.

Today we are beginning to re-learn how to work with nature to restore health. Rather than disturbing nature by suppressing symptoms we are beginning to understand the pharmacological properties of whole foods and the importance of optimal nutrition that promote the natural mechanisms of nature to heal our bodies.

"We command nature only by obeying her."

Francis Bacon

Ayurveda reminds us of the principles of instinctive living. We do not have to cultivate and develop these principles a new but rather stop violating the laws of nature and return to what we already know, but have forgotten how to use. When I have teach Ayurveda to children it is amazing to see how they can understand the fundamental principles so easily. They easily understand that for example, "like nourishes like" and if it is cold and windy outside that they should counteract this by making the inside of their bodies warm and calm with their food choices, emotions, and activities. After I get them started they often describe the rest of the principles of Ayurveda just as though they had studied it. Ayurveda rem­­­­­­­inds us of what is natural. We all already know it. Children understand it directly.

Ayurveda develops experientially the self-awareness and awareness of nature that needs to grow to permit our experience with food to become part of a nurturing and continuing adventure in living. Our bodies are our laboratories. As we begin to watch how we use food to affect our consciousness as well as how it affects our bodies our direct experiential understanding grows. For example we may use sweets to comfort and console ourselves when we feel physical or emotional pain. When we are able to watch this pattern without judgment, then we become capable of changing it. Perhaps replacing refined sweetness for natural sweetness or replacing dietary sweetness with the emotional sweetness of love, trust and communication. In this way our self-awareness develops. We begin to understand the alternatives that are available, and how they will affect both our body and mind.

We can develop a cooperative relationship between our body and mind that will naturally provide the information we need in order to make our decisions and for example select the food which is most appropriate at any given moment and stay in harmony with nature and remain healthy.



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