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By Nadia Marshall
When we're starting out on any new path, practice or way of eating, it's easy to become a bit fanatical about what we're doing, especially if we feel like it's changing our lives!
If we haven't experienced this ourselves, we've probably seen it in our friends or family... or on YouTube at the very least. You see all sorts - Vegan fanatics, Raw Food fanatics, Paelo fanatics, Alkaline fanatics, Yoga fanatics... and yes, Ayurvedic fanatics!! If you live in Byron, you see them quite a bit...
The seeds of openness and enthusiasm in our minds that are watered when we begin something new can sometimes 'cluster' with the seeds of over-enthusiasm... closely followed by intensity, prechy-ness and a little judgement thrown in for good measure. And so what begins as a well-intentioned desire to look after ourselves can quietly morph into a slightly weird puritanical vibe.
Such was my experience with Ayurveda. This was partly because a lot of the books I read and the teachings I received were very strict in terms of their viewpoints, guidelines and rules. So I felt to be true to the science and experience it in all its depth I had to be very strict too. But the seeds of perfectionism, precision and judgement were good friends of mine already so it didn't take long for them to join me in my Ayurvedic journey. After a few years of following an Ayurvedic way of life... as much as I hadn't wanted to.... I became a bit of a fanatic.
And let's face it.... noone likes a fanatic. Not really. They might be interesting to invite to a dinner party because they have some unusually passionate views.... but they're generally a bit of a drag to be around. Especially if they don't drink wine.... or coffee... or even cold water! Ha! And I'm not alone... I've seen (and still see) some Ayurveda students and friends go down this same road.
Luckily my fanaticism left me when we met our best mate and teacher, Doko. He was the coolest Ayurvedan I'd ever met. He followed the principles (more or less) but never let them get in the way of being a fun, compassionate, non-judgemental dude... or getting along with people... or loving everything. Okay so being a Buddhist Priest probably helped but he really knew how to approach this stuff well. Damn. Where did I go wrong?
With his help, I discovered the main problem with my approach was my level of intensity. I had to turn it down a few notches and relax a little. A little? A lot!! I also had to warm things up a bit. I was doing things in a cold, precise way rather than with any sense of kindness and care for myself. This was a big shift... and this warmth I continue to try and cultivate towards myself has spilled over to the seeds in my mind, warming up my perfectionism and judgement - of myself and others.
So... when you're starting out on this path, don't forget the essential ingredient of WARMTH... towards the practices, towards yourself and towards others. Be mindful of your own fanatical-ish seeds - thank them for their views and then ask them to take a seat and chill out.
And don't forget to splash out every now and then. If you want to, eat pizza and icecream when you go out with friends... just be aware of how they feel and apply the right 'antidotes' to help your Agni recover (like lots of pepper on the pizza and peppermint tea after the icecream). It will help make this path more sustainable and easy to integrate with the lifestyles of your friends and family. The 80:20 rule is a good one... or 90:10 if your Agni is more sensitive, like mine!
I'm sharing my experience with you so that you don't make the same mistakes I did. This is our job at Mudita... to teach these amazing things to you and help you implement them into your life without becoming a fanatic. Because afterall, there isn't really anything very healthy about that...
*Disclaimer - If you are on a specific dietary regime prescribed by an Ayurvedic Practitioner to help treat a pathology... you will of course have to follow your guidelines strictly... But you can still do it with warmth xx*
P.S. The picture above is of 'Ogden - The Totally Inappropriate Yoga Guy'. If you haven't seen him on youtube, he is worth a watch! xx
Agni - the digestive fire.
Ama or Aama - undigested food waste, toxins.
Ojas- the foundation of our immune system and longevity.
Dhatus - the tissues of the body.
Srotas - the channels of the body.
Vata - the air/ether
intelligence in the body.
Pitta- the fire/water
intelligence in the body.
Kapha- the water/earth intelligence in the body.
Sattva- the quality of purity, intelligence, peace and love.
Rajas- the quality of
turbulence and activity.
Tamas- the quality of
dullness, darkness and inertia.
Rasa - the taste of a food (Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent, Bitter, Astringent)
Virya - second level of digestion (either Heating or Cooling)
Vipaka - third level of digestion, the deep taste of a food (can be Sweet, Sour or Pungent)
Prabhav - the 'special effect' of a food or herb/spice
Rasa - also the name for plasma tissue
Rakta - blood tissue
Mamsa - muscle tissue
Meda - fat tissue
Asthi - bone tissue
Majja - nerve & bone marrow tissue
Shukra - sexual reproductive tissue