Two weeks into my Ayurvedic diet and my mind doesn’t jump around as much, I’m not as anxious, and I’m satiated after meals. In an effort to stay transparent, I fully admit that there are moments of weakness and challenge staying within my guidelines. I’ve accepted that, for now, I do need to take this seriously, until balance in my body and mind is restored.
Prior to my new Vata dosha pacifying diet, I ate mostly raw/cold foods and wasn’t consistent with my meal types, times, and amounts. Vata dosha is the Ayurvedic bioforce made of air and space elements, which is responsible for movement and is the most erratic. Now I am trying to be more conscious of eating a stable diet. Ananta spoke about my meals being erratic thus putting my body and mind into a similar state. By eating in a more consistent way (ie times, amounts, types of foods) I feel more consistency in my life, mind and body.
In yoga/spirituality practices we’re often taught about living in alignment with our higher Self, but I find that the part about our physical bodies in alignment is often left out - thus leaving us grasping at something very unattainable. As I work on my physical body I’ve started to contemplate this more and more. How can I even begin to reach a higher sense of self when my mind and body are far from this? Maybe one day.
The thought that an hour of yoga or time spent in meditation will cure the rajasic (racing/anxious) mind, thus curing the body isn’t necessarily wrong, but what is wrong is what we’re doing once we are out of that place. We aren’t living in that mindset much past the end of class. This is where the Ayurvedic lifestyle comes into play. It helps me maintain consistency of healthy practices.
Ayurveda focuses on balance, and is teaching me what balance actually looks like. But just as balance is experienced by an individual, Ayurveda is also extremely individualistic. I’ve studied and been interested in nutrition and healthy food for quite some time. I thought that my choices were very healthy, but what Ayurveda has taught me is that what is healthy for one person isn’t necessarily healthy for another. By actually connecting what I eat with how I feel, I am more in tune with body. This experience creates mindfulness around eating, but I am also finding it to be quiet scientific. I feel that I now have a much deeper understanding of how the body works. The bridging of spirituality and science is something I continue to see as I study Ayurveda and its teachings.
From the Ayurvedic perspective, we heal the body to heal the mind, all beginning with digestion. Often times the phrase “we are what we eat” is said, but in actuality, we are what we digest. Eating ginormous raw salads was seemingly healthy, but I was most likely digesting very little of these things because my body wasn't equipped to do so-even less so after doing this for years. I’ve weakened my digestive fire (“agni”), thus weakening other parts of my mind and body. I’m not saying that salads/raw foods are the main culprit for this, but food is the focus in the beginning of this journey, and these connections are more clear.
Cooking my foods, to “pre-digest” them, and eating them while warm, is helping me to reestablish the agni, and help my body actually process the nutrients in the foods. Because I am digesting the food, I am satiated after meals and not looking for snacks. Ayurveda discourages snacking - so this part was a pleasant surprise as I was worried about losing my snacks :)
Ananta recommended I try some creative outlets to channel the excess energy I have (due to high Vata dosha), thereby allowing my Vata dosha to transform into something positive. Doing so by writing been very beneficial. I’m excited to continue to write about my process, and find meaningful ways to share and make sense of all the information I've received. Ananta says we digest not only our food, but also emotions, information and life experiences. Writing is helping to keep me accountable in the process, and to digest the information I am taking in, as well as my life experiences. More ways my digestion has increased with Ayurveda ;)
I’m two weeks in. I am experiencing benefits and can see change towards better. Am I in perfect balance? No. I still struggle with digestion at times, and have moments of anxiety. This practice isn’t about being perfect. There are parts where I feel stressed at the thought of living within a new set of rules, but try to not see them as that. It’s just new, and an education in something different. I am working on finding peace in the process, peace in myself, and peace within my body - I find these moments of clarity to be the best part.
About Hedges Rauscher
Hedges Rauscher, a 28-year-old native New Yorker approached Whole Yoga & Ayurveda founder Ananta Ripa Ajmera after completing her Ayurvedic Yoga teacher training and Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) certifications with a beautiful vision to co-create wellness circles for young women in big cities, starting in NYC. Hedges is currently apprenticing with Ananta, supporting her clients with making lifestyle changes and generally serving as a wellness ambassador to help spread the ancient Vedic teachings of Yoga and Ayurveda.