(and now also the brainchild behind the new "Neem" range to be found on high streets up and down the country in branches of Superdrug).
Sunita and I have been connected for some years now, mainly virtually, but occasionally bumping into one another through writing ( Sunita was formally a journalist) and our shared love of all things mind, body and spirit. You may recall we both interviewed Dr Eric Pearl at the Hay House "I can Do It" event in the Autumn last year. Sunita has recently moved back to Nottingham, which is great news as now we're a stones throw away from one another!
I have to admit here, that my knowledge of Ayurveda was pretty ..... shall we say, limited, before setting foot into the cocoon of our training room in a Nottingham hotel. I had what could be loosely termed as a keen interest, which had been stimulated over the years , but certainly perhaps boosted by conversations with my friend Linda, who had studied with Deepak Chopra in America a few years ago. Her calm manner and talk of "Dosha's" intrigued me for sure, but up until this point , I'd really only done a little reading and googling on the subject.
So I find myself among a wonderful group of women, therapists and yoga teachers, some new to Ayurveda and some already well versed in the subject matter. All with a passion for holistic approaches to health and wellbeing. Little did I know that I was embarking on an intensive and cathartic week long adventure ( and even longer cleansing experience).
So where to begin....
So just what is Ayurveda?
"Ayurveda is the knowledge of what is appropriate and inappropriate for creation, for life itself and the measure of life".
Ayurveda is a sanskrit word, which translates means "the science or knowledge of life" It originated more than 4000 years ago when legend has it 52 Indian sages or wise men left their villages and traveled to the foot hills of the Himalayas, where they meditated together and through this acquired the knowledge of what we know know as Ayurveda.
This ancient system is an holistic approach to life encompassing the mind, body and spirit.
Ayurvedic principles recognise that each person has a particular pattern of energy, in an individual combination of physical, mental and emotional characteristics known as their constitution or dosha.
By understanding how to create harmony of mind body and spirit according to a person's dosha, ayurveda can benefit the individual holistically.
What I found was that Ayurveda is a complex weave of ancient wisdom, spirituality and practical application. It teaches us that human beings are made up of the same stuff as everything that surrounds us. That is, we are made of the 5 elements of ether, air, fire, water and earth. We are in constant interaction with the energy around us and within us and this interaction determines the state of our health and wellbeing.
Whilst the structural aspect of the body is made up of the 5 elements, the functional aspect is governed by 3 body types known as doshas.
Vata Ether & Air
Pitta Fire & Water
Kapha Water & Earth
Each of these main doshas has distinctive characteristics, and in turn when out of balance can give way to specific health concerns and dis-ease in the body. Learn more here
The 6 areas of Ayurveda
Ayurveda is split into 6 areas of specialism, ( each having originated from different parts of India, along with the regions from where the afore mentioned 52 sages had come).
- Massage and therapies
- Yoga and meditation
- Herbal medicine
- Diet and nutrition
- Spiritual practice
The Tri Dosha course
I have to start by saying Sunita led us through a pretty mind blowing and enlightening 6 days. It was what I can only describe as a journey, personal to each and everyone of us.
Aside from learning the fascinating history, including the manifestation of creation. We covered all of the following:
- The qualities of nature ( encompassing the 5 elements as mentioned above)
- The 3 doshas
- The dhatus ( the 7 supporting tissues of the body)
- The chakras ( energy centres of the body)
- The nadis ( the network of 14 subtle nerves that run through the chakras to various points in the body)
- The marma points ( pressure / energy points in the body)
- The Ayurveda consultation process
- Use of appropriate oils, treatments and even the type of massage techniques and pressures to be applied
During my 6 days I covered the following therapies with theory, practice and dare I say it ... tests!
- Head/neck/arm treatment (shirobhyanga)
- Full body massage with marma [vital] points (marma abhyanga)
- Lower leg & foot treatment (padabhyanga)
- Face massage with marma [vital] points (mukhabhyanga)
- Warm oil poured onto the third eye (shirodhara)
- Herbal compress massage (pinda sweda)
- Detox scrub (udvartana)
- Tri-Dosha holistic glow facial (skin rejuvenation and wellbeing)
- Tri-Dosha supreme results (anti-ageing)
No surprise then that I've been clearing and cleansing ever since..... I did see Sunita just this week at the WiRE Notts networking group I lead .. mentioning my own "Panchakarma".....
*Panchakarma is the ultimate mind-body healing experience for detoxifying the body, strengthening the immune system, and restoring balance and well-being. It is one the most effective healing modalities in Ayurvedic Medicine. It promotes Detoxification and Rejuvenation. It is recommended on a seasonal basis, as well as when an individual feels out of balance or is experiencing illness.
I guess I have to be thankful we don't use leeches here in the UK as part of the mind, body and spirit cleansing practice ( although I'm assured this does still happen in parts of India)
Looking back on my experience I still can't tell you how on Earth Sunita packs in so much into a week. She shares her passion and knowledge for Ayurveda in such an amazingly easy to digest way that all of a sudden you find that you have gained a whole new sphere of understanding into life and how we live it, in harmony.. or disharmony. By applying the ancient knowledge of Ayurveda I am in no doubt we can all live a more healthful, joyful and fulfilling life.
I feel I've opened a whole new chapter of learning possibilities.... and I've certainly been bitten by the Ayurveda bug... but thankfully not by any leeches!
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