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Ayurveda & balancing your nervous system through food

posted 8 May 2015, 04:59 by Tim Elliston   [ updated 14 May 2015, 08:08 ]
By Marcus Felicetti

Ayurveda is the healing science that is very closely related to Yoga. Ancient Yogis who created Ayurveda evolved it over thousands of years through observation, experimentation, research and intuition in natural treatments and therapies. It’s main modalities are nutrition, massage, herbalism, sun bathing, and lifestyle changes. It often works in combination with Yogic meditation and postures (asanas) and breathing techniques (pranayama). Ayu means life, and veda means knowledge.

One particular characteristic of Ayurveda is the exploration and understanding of each individual’s body type. These are often called doshas – air (vata), fire (pitta), water (kapha). In the West we have a similar concept called this somatotype – ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph. However in Ayurveda there are some other less known ways of understanding body types and various constitutional combinations. Two other categories are described according to their nervous system – ‘sympathetic’ and ‘parasympathetic’. With sympathetics their nervous system is agitated easily so there are certain foods that will calm their nervous system. Actually these foods calm all nervous systems! They are sweet foods, salty foods and to some extent sour foods. The second kind of nervous system, parasympathetics already have a calmer nervous system and they do not need these foods as much. So if they take sweet, sour or salty foods they tend to become lethargic are tired and languid. Personally, I am a parasympathetic. If take sweet or salty foods I feel more grounded but any more than a little bit and it will be like I’m on sedatives.

This one reason why people crave sweets when they’re upset. Because its very soothing. On the other hand, if you are a parasympathetic like me, we are much more suited to the other kinds of foods. If we take the bitter, the pungent, or the astringent foods, then our bodies and minds perform like a race car! Personally, when I am in balance I have RIDICULOUS amounts of energy.

Creating this harmony in your life through Yoga and Ayurvedic nutrition only requires two things: self knowledge about how YOUR own body works. And practicing this wisdom, integrating it with balance in your own life.

Marcus Felicetti