One of the things that draws me to Ayurveda is the fact that it is not a “one size fits all” system of health. Instead of pushing medications that may help mask one issue while most likely bringing on other issues, Ayurveda looks at the individual and what imbalances that individual may have and then works to create health and balance for that person.
The ideal goal for living according to Ayurveda is perfect health. Not “feeling kinda well”, not “doing ok”, not “feeling not so bad”. Health – perfect health. Having your body be perfectly in balance. An interesting thing is that what is perfect balance for me is not perfect balance for you. Or “one man’s meat is another man’s poison”. Things that could create balance and perfect health for me with a pitta/kapha constitution, for example, would not necessarily make my son with a vata/pitta constitution healthy – in fact it could do quite the opposite.
But, knowing what balances you and how to find that balance can lead you towards perfect health. With Ayurveda, you actually treat the issue and not just mask the symptom – which encourages healing and restores health.
I think of this when I see this commercial that is out right now for heartburn medication. Some man is talking about how he’s off to a chili cookoff and he’s worried that he will get heartburn from eating all the spicy chili. He deals with this issue by taking some of the medicine and – voila – no heartburn. Although what it does is merely mask the symptoms of heartburn and usually these medications cause many health issues of their own. I always think he’d be better to either not eat the chili and find something else to eat that will help soothe the heating, or to get to the root of the source of his heartburn and deal with that imbalance. But, that can’t be dealt with by just popping a pill. Usually there’s a lifestyle change involved and we are so hesitant to commit to having to change our lifestyle – even if it’s going to make us healthier.
It’s empowering, exciting and enlightening to come back into touch with your true self and gain an awareness of how your own individual body functions and reacts to things. You are one of a kind and you can’t cookie cutter yourself into any lifestyle or treatment plan for yourself. Honouring your body and spirit means just that. Honouring the space within you that strives for perfect, balanced health.
By the way – a good night’s sleep really is something that most of us in our culture could really benefit from. I mean being asleep before 10pm and sleeping straight through until 6am. Or longer to pay back our sleep debt. We are a culture of chronically overtired people. After all, sleep is one of the three pillars of life:
“There are three supports (pillars) of life. They are food, sleep and observances of bramacharya. Being supported by these, the body is endowed with strength, complexion and growth, and this continues up [until] the full span of life, provided that the person does not indulge in regimens detrimental to health.” — Charaka Samhita