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Ayurveda: A One-on-One on Holistic Health

Interview with Dr Sandhya V.

Ayurveda, translated from Sanskrit (a language from which many Indian languages are derived), means the 'Science of Life'. It's a traditional holistic healing science with roots in India. By "traditional" we mean it's been around for around 5000 years. To give that context, that's around the same time when Hieroglyphic writing in Egypt started to be used. Yep, it's old.

But what exactly is Ayurveda? We'll let Ayurveda practitioner Dr Sandhya V, practicing at SPA Kerala, tell you more about it (quick summary below).

Here’s a quick summary of the video:

AyurFit: For those who don’t know, briefly, what is Ayurveda?

Dr Sandhya: Ayurveda is ‘the Science of Life’. It teaches you how to lead your life healthily and happily. Based on the specific prakruti/ humour of the individual, Ayurveda provides a detailed daily routine depending on the time of day, season and an individual's age. Following these principles ensures good health, however, if someone were to fall sick, Ayurveda helps to deal with those issues too!

In sum:

"Ayurveda is the maintenance of one’s holistic health through both the prevention and treatment of different illnesses. - Click to Tweet

A: According to Ayurveda, what is “healthy?

Dr: When we’re talking about "healthy", we are talking about the mind, body, i.e. the five sense organs, and the soul being in balance and in peace. With respect to the body, Ayurveda considers your five sense organs primarily because what a person sees, hears, smells, tastes or touches impacts the formation of a person’s psyche. There’s the physical psyche and then the mental psyche. In Ayurveda, only if the mental and physical psyche, or consciousness, is in harmony can a person be called "healthy".

Mind and body health

"In Ayurveda only if the mental and physical psyche, or consciousness, is in harmony can a person be called “healthy”. - Click to Tweet

A: In a cosmopolitan city like Hong Kong, it’s easy to get stressed out, what are some Ayurvedic Stress Busters?

Dr: Each person is an individual and thus there are very different ways for each person to de-stress, mainly because each person reacts to stress differently. Ayurveda categorizes people into three different personality types/ humours: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each individual is made of a mix of the three, however, one humour dominates over the other two. So, how do these three humours react to stress?

Kapha – does not let stress affect them easily; they are calm, cool and connected. They rationalise first before allowing emotions to affect their decision-making Pitta – they get stressed out more; they’re hot tempered, aggressive/passionate and get agitated in a situation Vata – they are escapists; they don’t like to get involved in a scenario and will do what they can to get out of an uncomfortable situation

The balance of these three humours, forms an individual. Thus everyone reacts to stress slightly differently and as such they should de-stress differently. However,

"a stress-buster that can be used for all the three humours of Ayurveda is yoga and meditation. - Click to Tweet

A: How do we find out which prakruti/ humour we have more of?

Kapha = Earth + Water

Pitta = Fire + Water

Vata = Air + Ether

Dr: There are three ways you can test for yourself if you don't have an Ayurvedic physician to consult at the moment:

Scenario 1:

Imagine an accident has just taken place and a small child has been harmed in the accident. What would you do?

- Immediately run to the accident and help the child without much concern for the impact of their behaviour? Pitta - Immediately look at the scenario, take stock, then help out the situation by calling back up (or calling the emergency hotline for the ambulance and police), nevertheless, without getting personally involved in the scenario in case it could have potentially drastic consequences? Kapha - Or would you look at the scenario and not want to get involved in any way at all? Vata

Scenario 2 Imagine a business meeting or a brainstorm session. How much do you participate?

- Do you passionately get involved? Pitta - Do you not participate and get too involved? Kapha - Do you not care what’s happening no matter what the consequences? Vata

Test 3 How does your system deal with food?

- Do you eat more food, digest very well and have good bowel movement? Pitta - Do you eat relatively less food and still put on weight, with only an average bowel movement? Although you don’t eat all that much, you tend to look as though you eat more food? Kapha - Or, on certain days are you ravenous and unable to say when to stop, then get a stomach upset? On some days you’re not even hungry and don’t eat at all? Vata

**Note: Please bear in mind, this is by no means comprehensive. To get a better idea of your specific dosha, we strongly recommend you visit an Ayurveda Doctor.

So there you have it! A brief introduction of Ayurveda - from "what is Ayurveda" to what Ayurveda prescribes to be "healthy", what the three Ayurveda doshas are and their responses to certain events, and how we can incorporate some "stress-busters" in our every-day lives. Hope you were able to get some key takeaways on Ayurveda. We got to ask our Head Ayurveda Vaidya some key questions, so now we'd like to pass the baton on to YOU, our readers - what questions would YOU like to ask our Vaidya? Even if you think the question may be simple or irrelevant - it's probably a question that we could all learn from or ones we were too hesitant to ask - all questions could give us valuable insights, so ask away in the comments section below! We'll be sure to ask our Vaidya and update you on the responses!

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