My Love/Hate Relationship with Ayurveda
It wasn’t until I was deep into all this meditation stuff that I started getting hints of this thing called Ayurveda. An no, it wasn’t Aveda, the fancy store in the mall back in the day with the really expensive shampoo. I was at my teacher training, and I started noticing some of the people doing odd things, like, why were some of the women eating only milk and rice a week each month and what was the deal with that one roommate coating her entire body in oil at least once a day? And why, oh why, is everyone carrying a thermos? Turns out these were Ayurvedic practices meant to align them with nature, something our western habits and patterns ignore completely.
Why I love Ayurveda
As I started learning more and more about this branch of Vedic knowledge, I fell in love with how intuitive it is. And of course it is, it follows nature. No matter how many Netflix binges in which we’ve partaken, deep down, our bodies hold the intelligence of natural rhythms. I fell in love how what was right for one person, wasn’t right for someone else as opposed to the one-size-fits-all, mass-marketable-and-therefore-profitable health methods we’re used to. I fell in love with how I felt when I ate the warm, comforting Ayurvedic foods and got rest at the proper times and yes, even the feeling of coating myself in layers and layers of weird-smelling oil.
Why I hate Ayurveda
I fell in love, and I couldn’t stand it. So many rules. You can have honey but not with anything hot and fruit is fine but can’t be mixed with other foods because it will ferment in your stomach and this spice will balance your vata but throw off your pitta unless, of course, it's summertime and Ahhhhh!!!! If you’re a perfectionist, which I am, and also kind of lazy, which I also am, Ayurveda will drive you nuts. You could spend your entire day being Ayurvedic, and what is best at any given time changes based on the season, the time of day, your time in life, your particular constitution, etc. There’s no way for an Ayurvedic newbie to get it just right. And then there are the days when I just want to have pizza!
How I reconcile the two
So here’s how I harmonize my love and my hate for this beautiful, ancient body of wisdom. It’s very much an evolving relationship. The way I think about it is, the number one enemy to health is stress, right? So if my Ayurvedic routine is stressing me out, then I need to dial it back a bit. And if the pizza makes me happy, then I let the happiness nourish me even if the greasy cheese won't.
I do try to hit as many of the topline practices as possible in a day. The biggies, like: sipping hot water throughout the day, and don’t eat leftovers, and the easies, like: scrape your tongue in the morning and never eat heated honey. The getting to bed by 10pm thing, I’m still very much working on it. (If you could see my computer screen now, it’s 9:51 so probably not going to make it tonight).
This lazy perfectionist is finally getting fed up with doing things “her way,” and is taking steps towards a way that’s actually good for her. Like a giant cargo ship changing directions, I’m gradually incorporating more and more of the Ayurvedic lifestyle into my routine, and at the same slow rate, the amount of love for this body of knowledge is outweighing the hate. And look at that, it’s 10PM. Lights out.
The aftermath of one of my new recipe attempts. One out of every three or four end in failure.