Learn to eat what suits your digestion
As we age our digestive fire becomes weaker. From an Ayurvedic perspective it doesn't really matter what dosha you naturally are. This is in line with the characteristics of the vata dosha. Which can also be effected by the change of seasons - especially the colder weather. For this reason it is a time we need to be particularly aware to listen to our bodies signals. Ayurveda and Yoga for over 40's class is a great place to start, as Yoga and Ayurveda are traditionally practiced together. It is very beneficial to learn about Ayurveda and your digestion to improve the quality of your life.
There are several other factors that can disturb the balance of our system such as excessive talking, movement, wrong types of foods, sounds, smells and touch. Our constitution or Prakruti* is what we are born with and it only becomes a problem when aggravated. Others doshas may dominate according to lifestyle habits and these are called Vikruti*. It too can be a problem if it gets too far out of balance.
There are many benefits to incorporating an Ayurvedic lifestyle. Similarly Ayurveda provides knowledge of our strengths and weaknesses on all levels. Our Prakruti determines what we can and cannot digest. If you take in things that you can’t digest, they turn toxic in your body and create imbalances in the doshas*. Imbalances in the doshas result in both physical and mental disorders.
Ayurveda guidelines enhance our digestive system
Ayurveda aims to reduce or avoid foods that cannot be digested. This in turn will aid the digestion to ensure our food becomes our medicine and provides maximum benefit. Some foods or cooking methods recommended by Ayurveda seem counter-intuitive to the Western idea of nutrition. Contemporary beliefs promote a broad range of foods to ensure adequate nutrition. However this can be problematic with wrong food combinations and eating out of season etc. Ayurveda focuses on foods that are the best for each persons unique system when and how to eat them. Consequently eating inline with your Prakruti and using certain cooking methods will aid digestion. In turn the nutrients can be absorbed readily and you will be healthier all round.
In the West, we often use vitamin and mineral supplements because our body cannot absorb sufficient nutrients from our regular diet. According to Ayurveda, this is probably because we cannot digest the foods containing these nutrients or other eating habits. Ayurveda says that if our digestion is working well we will absorb all of the nutrients we need from compatible foods. Despite the fact that cooking may reduce some nutrients. As the golden rule of real estate is position, position, position, the golden rule of Ayurveda the science of life is digestion, digestion, digestion.
Learn about your digestion with Ayurveda
* Prakruti – primal nature; also our biological constitution at birth
* Vikruti – current imbalance or disease state
* Dosha – one of the three basic types of biological energy, which determine individual constitution: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. It can also mean the excess of one of these in nature.
Vata, Pitta, or Kapha? According to Ayurveda, doshas are the energy patterns that flow around our bodies, governing our thinking and behaviour. Read more about why you would want to complete our dosha test here.
This Dosha Quiz will give you a breakdown of your Ayurvedic mind-body type. At the end of the test, you will learn about your personal Ayurveda type which can be used as a general guide for tips to enhance your health, from nutrition to yoga and meditation.
Balance is the key to a healthy body and mind and the ancient tools of Yoga and Ayurveda really do work! Below are basic Ayurveda eating guidelines.
Ayurveda breakfast - eat like a saint
Rice flakes are an easy foundation for a good healthy easy to digest breakfast. You can add many things to the rice flakes that suit your body type. An Ayurvedic eating guideline is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your digestion depending on your dosha or body type. Your dosha will give you these guidelines.
Lunch – eat like a king
The Ayurveda eating guideline says that we need to eat what suits our body type. This information can be gleamed from knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your dosha. It is important to notice how your body reacts to everything you ingest through your senses. Therefore the food you eat is what needs to work for you. This is similar to putting the right petrol into your car, or feeding your pet food that keeps it healthy. Yoga Ayurveda Therapy for over 40's teaches us how to connect with ourselves. Likewise we begin to notice what does and doesn't work for us and make conscious choices.
Dinner – eat like a pauper
How many times have you eaten a big meal late at night and tossed and turned restlessly as the food digests? Really, eating anything big at night is not good at all. Therefore it is best to eat a smallish meal for dinner. If you have followed the Ayurveda eating guidelines, you have had a big lunch and something light for dinner is appropriate. Soups are ideal, especially in winter and adding kidney beans as the starter creates a very nourishing meal that tempers the vata dosha. You might like to view our Ayurvedic food workshop.
Try our short Ayurveda dosha test
Our short test will only provide somewhat of an understanding of your dosha but it is not conclusive as there are many variables that come into play. Put a mark against which best describes you and get yourself a tally. If you would like to have a private one-on-one session with Zoe at Bondi Yoga Therapy you can read more about this here.
Holistic nomads has an even more comprehensive Ayurveda dosha test but this does not replace a consultation with an Ayurveda practitioner.