Ayurveda- A Way of Living
I heard of Ayurveda when I was 13 and when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am talking about the early 1990s when western medicine was (of course still is) trying to understand what exactly is cancer. At that time, there were not many chemo drugs and whatever were there had many side effects. I will talk about this aspect in greater detail some other time. But coming back to when I got introduced to ‘Ayurveda’ was when my brother sent Ashwagandaarishtam and Saaribadyaarishtam (arishtams are tonic or liquid form of medicine/formulation) from Shivananda Yoga Aashram (Calcutta). My mother took these two medicines for nearly two years. That helped her not only in recovering well from surgery and single-dose chemotherapy but also protected her from recurrence of cancer.
Alongside, Nanna (my father) gave Amma fresh wheatgrass juice daily, first thing in the morning. As a child, I assisted my mother in taking her medicines regularly. I was very curious to know what those two strangely smelling tonics were, about the fresh juice Nanna was making and diet changes Amma was following. Noticing the strong desire in me, Nanna slowly started exposing me to the world of living close to nature, about Ayurvedam. He said for him Ayurveda is the practice of a particular lifestyle than curing an individual who is sick. Of course, I had no clue then what is curative and what it means to follow ‘a way of living’ or practising particular lifestyle. From then on my curiosity arose and I started following closely and keenly any sort of discussion around health, western and Indian medicine, food, nutrition, healthy living, healing so on and so forth.
Last three decades I have personally experienced and continue to experience, and learn(ed)ing (by reading, from interactions with Ayurvedic doctors, knowing views and experiences of family and friends, exposure to western medicine and last but not least working in health and nutrition space) about the natural way of living. Next few lines are on basics of Ayurveda, as I see and understand.
Ayurveda, according to me, considers three aspects of health – promotive, preventive and curative care. Ayurvedic healthcare system lays equal (if not more) emphasis on promotive and preventive care as curative part. This Indian system of medicine has formulations and practices that promote health and prevent illnesses, while dealing with diseases right from the conception stage to old age. Below graphic is a simple representation of prominence given to promotive and preventive care over curative care (not to scale and not to assume that curative was undermined) in Ayurveda. In the Indian system of medicine resources, research and time was spent on ways to lead a healthy life.
LIFE SPAN OF HUMAN BEING
Now with new problems of modern age and consumption patterns, it is even more important to get back to promotive and preventive health care than running behind doctors and following a long list of medications. In subsequent posts, I will discuss more on these two aspects by working on some recipes and tips for a healthy life.
PS: Request everyone to verify before believing in whatever is said by me. I am no doctor nor healer. Like all of you, I am a seeker inclined more towards INDIAN ways of living.