Interview by Sarah McElwain
What happens during a visit with an Ayurvedic Health Counselor?
During an initial consultation, we will go over an extensive health history from the time of conception to the present day. While many people seek Ayurveda for specific issues, it is important to gain an understanding of the person as a whole being. This information, along with assessment tools such as tongue analysis and pulse reading, will reveal one’s unique balanced constitution (Prakriti) as well as their current state of imbalance (Vikruti). Knowing this forms the foundation of the work to bring the body and mind back to a balanced state that is optimal for the individual. By the end of the consultation the client will have a variety of simple dietary and lifestyle practices that they can begin that very day. It cannot be stressed enough that integrating these recommendations and turning them into daily habits will be the key to success. Consistent follow up sessions should be prioritized to address shifts and changes that naturally occur seasonally and to adjust recommended practices. Consultations and follow up sessions should leave a client feeling empowered with the knowledge that their greatest potential for healing is within.
What are some Ayurvedic practices?
One of the most important practices in Ayurveda is living with awareness. Although this practice may seem simple and obvious, the effects, if truly practiced, are profound. Our body is trying to communicate with us throughout the day so developing our ability to listen to the signs and symptoms it is revealing will allow us to understand what needs attention.
Once the practice of being in tune with your mind, body and nature has been established, the more effective Ayurvedic practices will be to bring the body and mind back to a balanced state.
Some foundational Ayurvedic practices that benefit daily cleansing of the senses are:
• Cleansing of the mind: meditation (appropriate for your dosha)
• Eyes: cool water lightly splashed or an Ayurvedic eye mist
• Oral cleansing: tongue scraping, oil pulling
• Lungs/sinuses: pranayama for your dosha, Nasya or neti (dosha dependent) and Marma
• Agni/digestive fire: drinking warm water upon rising, sipping CCF tea and favoring warm well spiced and seasonally appropriate foods, as per your constitution. Practicing appropriate food combinations.
• Not suppressing natural urges; making sure to observe daily bowel movements for insight on how well food has been digested, absorbed and assimilated
• Sleep hygiene: washing yourself physically and energetically to cleanse off the day, applying oil to the feet, mindful breathing, meditation, refraining from screens at least 30 minutes before bed.
• Self love: loving kindness meditation, Abhyanga (self oil massage), mindfulness of inner dialogue
• Movement: Yoga asanas, Marma, daily walks in nature to calm the mind, relieve stress and activate vital energy points on the body
What health issues respond well to these practices?
Health issues will be directly related to the aggravated doshas. Common issues, as related to each dosha, include but are not limited to:
Vata: anxiety, constipation, gas, bloating, dizziness
Pitta: headaches, diarrhea, inflammation, skin rashes
Kapha: lethargy, lack of energy, fatigue, sluggishness, stagnation (sinus), congestion
It is important to remember that as the seasons change our doshas will respond accordingly. As this is the case, the imbalances we experience will change to a greater or lesser degree. To truly practice Ayurveda we will find that the practices we utilize will also change accordingly.
Allison Dessimone is a NAMA Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner who began her journey to health and wellness with her love and practice of yoga leading to self-study of health and wellness and to yoga’s sister science, Ayurveda. She studied with Cory Tixier and Jennifer Ayres of New Moon Ayurveda Academy in the Dr. Vasant Lad lineage.