Ayurveda – The Science of Life
Ayurveda (pronounced Eye-Yur-Vay-Duh) is the ancient, medical system of India.
Life, a translation of the Sanskrit word Ayus, is a combination of the body, senses, mind and soul. Together, these four factors are responsible for sustaining the life force in the body.
Veda is a Sanskrit word which means knowledge or science.
Ayurveda is a 5,000 year old holistic healing system, a complete philosophy or science of life, that provides practical guidance on a range of activities and lifestyle beneficial in maintaining natural balance within the body, mind senses and soul.
The primary objective of Ayurveda is to maintain health.
My Introduction to Ayurveda
My introduction to Ayurveda was in 1994. Encouraged by a close group of friends, I attended a week long training in San Diego, called Mind Body Medicine for Health Care Professionals. The conference was led by two physicians, Deepak Chopra and David Simon.
Although I had never heard of this ancient medical system of India, as I learned about it over 7 days, I felt the information resonate at a deep level of my being and upon my return home I began integrating the basic principles into my life.
During the week long immersion in mind body medicine, I was introduced to meditation by Dr. Chopra and I participated in my first ever yoga experience, which was offered each morning prior to the start of the conference agenda for the day.
This was a big paradigm shift from a nursing career in mainstream, Western medicine for 16 years, to a new view of, and approach to, disease and wellness.
Upon my return home from the event, I found myself thirsty for more knowledge and began to study on my own and personally apply many of the principles I was learning.
In March 1998, as I did an internet search for more information about Ayurveda, I discovered the JIVA institute and Dr. Partap S. Chauhan, based in Faridabad, India.
I studied Ayurveda with Dr. Chauhan, along with other students from around the world, completing his online level 1 course in May of 1998 and his Level 2 course in March 1999.
I was yearning for continued study, and the level 3 training module was not yet completed. I looked into travelling to India and enrolling in a course of study to become an Ayurvedic physician. I applied to a university in Goa and was looking at a program in Kerala, as well.
One day, in online communication with Dr. Chauhan, I mentioned my intention to learn Ayurveda in the land of its’ birth. Astutely, he asked if I had ever been to India or studied Sanskrit. His questions caused me to pause and wonder if I was making a good decision. Dr. Chauhan then suggested I travel to India and study Ayurveda in person with him. My immediate, intuitive response, was a resounding yes, in spite of the fact that I would be leaving my home to travel thousands of miles across the world to study with someone I had met on the internet! My family and many friends were astounded that I would consider this possibility. Yet, I knew this was meant to be.
When a client offered to pay my trip expenses and my bills at home while I was away, I knew the Universe was conspiring for me to go! My only hesitation was trepidation about claustrophobia, not from flying, but from landing in India where I envisioned being herded out of the airport with the crowd. Thanks to a homeopathic remedy, and surely all the prayers and intentions of my friends, the arrival was only one of eliciting wonder and excitement. Even in the car, driven by ‘Hari’, who spoke no English, when I realized I was really there, and had no idea where we were heading and what the JIVA Institute would be like, I was calm, happy and not at all fatigued from my hours of flying!
So, there I was, February of 1999, in Faridabad, India, a small town about 25 kilometers south of Delhi.
I spent 2 months living at the JIVA institute and studying Ayurveda with Dr. Chauhan and assisting with the development of the Level 3 course, helping with his book outline on Ayurveda, connecting with other students, online, and in person at the institute. I was also allowed to provide Healing Touch to a few patients and Dr. Chauhan’s family members, as well as the doctor himself!
Truly one of the most rewarding and transformational experiences of my life. I learned not only a great deal about Ayurveda, I learned about myself.
How I incorporate Ayurvedic teachings in my work
Ayurvedic principles and practices were a key component in the recovery from my stress induced illness in late 1994 and early 1995. Subsequently, I would often incorporate the practical health care teachings of Ayurveda, along with my personal experience, in my approach to health and well-being work with clients.
Ayurveda seeks to restore balance. From the perspective of this medical science, the root cause of disease and disease symptoms arise from an underlying imbalance. Relief of symptoms is addressed, yet the goal is to restore balance and provide education so an individual can make appropriate lifestyle changes and maintain that balance.
In my work with clients who come seeking guidance in how they might improve their well-being, during the initial intake session, I am performing a comprehensive holistic evaluation and can come to some conclusions about how and why they are out of balance. As appropriate, based upon client interest, I will incorporate basic information about Ayurveda and some practical interventions that can be of assistance.
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