By Reenita Hora Malhotra
My late grandparents had a longevity mantra that was synonymous with the objective of Ayurveda, India’s ancient medicine: to live long you must live life to your full potential.
Today, we lead more stressful lives than our grandparents did as we have consciously brought complexity into the framework of our life. While once upon a time, we patterned our habits according to the natural rhythm of seasons, today our existence is controlled through the flick of a switch. We have evolved as human beings but with this evolution comes ill health, disease and perhaps shorter life spans. Is it progress or simply a series of impediments to it?
Ayurveda is believed to be the oldest medical science in existence. Sanskrit for the ‘science of life’, it is a set of self-care guidelines that will help any person stay healthy and feel good by understanding the needs of his or her own mind and body. The medicine offers us ways and means to disconnect from our remote controlled existence and follow a way of life that is simpler and attuned to the natural patterns of the universe. For most of us, our mind-body already has a natural tendency towards this but it has gotten suppressed by ‘modern living’.
Perhaps the most unique thing about Ayurveda is that it recognizes that we are all different – that each of us has a unique mind and body. After all, we look and behave differently from one another, and we all have different reactions to everyday situations. Everything from the foods we eat to the emotions we experience affects us each in our own way. We all have our own personal deﬁnition of what it means to be happy, healthy and in balance – that is, feeling full of energy and life. And because we are each unique, we all require different treatments and remedies to help us be our best. Ayurveda as a system includes tools to help ﬁgure out what these customized treatments should be. Contrast this to the quick fix “aspirin” culture that most of us abide by today.
The mind and body are not two separate entities but are closely intertwined. We have all seen how our thinking affects our body (say, when we are worried or upset and our skin breaks out) and how our body affects our mind (like the way our self-esteem plummets when we do not get regular exercise). Ayurveda has two special terms to convey this idea. The physical or tangible body, Sthoola Sharira, is our skin, bones and muscles – everything we would ﬁnd in a Western anatomy textbook. The energetic body, Sukshna Sharira, is that with which we feel, sense, spiritualize, emote and think. So happiness and joy, emotional pain, psyche, perceptions, hunches and intuition are all considered to form part of our energetic anatomy. Ayurveda works on healing both the energetic and the physical bodies, because one can never reach its full potential if the other is not strong.
Because many of us experience so much stress these days, and because ‘feeling stressed’ is really just another way of saying our life is out of balance, Ayurveda is more useful and important now than ever before. It is the perfect antidote to stress because it addresses the whole person and how she is affected by her lifestyle.
Join us next week for Part 2 in our series where Reenita shares her five favourite Ayurvedic longevity tips.
About the Author
Reenita Malhotra Hora is an Ayurveda Clinician and broadcast journalist with RTHK Radio 3 Reenita is the author of Forever Young – Unleashing the Magic of Ayurveda, published by Pan Macmillan India; Inner Beauty, published by Chronicle Books; and Ayurveda, The Ancient Medicine of India, published by Mandala press. Having founded, built and subsequently sold Ayoma, an Ayurvedic self care product line and the Ayoma LifeSpa, a premier Ayurvedic wellness spa, she has provided Ayurvedic spa therapy training to top spa wellness retreats like the Four Seasons, Champneys, the Canyon Ranch, and Miraval and has taught clinical and CME programs to health care practitioners at the University of California San Francisco, University of California at Davis and University of North Carolina’s Global Medical Education center, and yoga teachers through Los Angeles based Yoga Life.
Meet Reenita at Made in HK Local Artisans Pop Up
Reenita is hosting a customized Ayurvedic Beauty Bar in our Green Queen Living section on the Ground Floor of The Space (210 Hollywood Road) where she will be mixing bespoke ubtans, which are Ayurvedic cleansing scrubs. This involves a brief consultation with her where she will analyze you and determine your Ayurvedic dosha (mind-body type); she will then blend an ubtan specially suited for your needs and the current climate for you to take home and purify yourself with. Don’t miss out! She will also have copies of her bestselling book Forever Young – Unleashing the Magic of Ayurveda.
photo credit: Rajesh_India via photopin cc