I recently met Dr. Jeanne Rosner (virtually, of course! still social-distancing over here!). She's the founder of Soul Food Salon and hosts a weekly segment called Wellness On The Weekend. She invited me to share a little about Ayurveda on her recent program. In this interview, I answered the questions:
1. What is Ayurveda?
2. How do you apply Ayurveda in your daily life?
3. Are there studies that prove Ayurveda works?
4. Can you combine Ayurveda with Western Medicine?
Here's a peek at my responses:
1. What is ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a holistic system of self-care and wellness. It's the traditional medical system from India. It originated over 5000 years ago, around the same time as yoga. The premise of Ayurveda is that you are a microcosm of Nature herself. The 5 elements that make up everything you see in Nature are also within you. The proportion of these elements gives rise to your unique body-mind constitution. Life's stressors can throw your body-mind constitution out of balance. That's what gives rise to dis-ease in your body, mind, and emotions. The key, then, is to restore your unique state of balance and well-being through your lifestyle. That's where an Ayurvedic pracitioner, such as myself, comes in. I help you determine where the imbalance is and what strategies specific to you will be most helpful!
2. How do you apply the Ayurvedic principles in your daily life?
Day in and day out, I live, breathe, and act according to Ayurvedic principles. Ayurveda is a way of being and living. It's in your mindset, perspective, daily rituals, relationships, career, activities, and food. It's in taking a daily inventory of your physical, mental, and emotional states. And then, making adjustments to your routines as necessary.
3. Are there valid scientific studies that prove the Ayurvedic principles?
Yes! The research is growing by the day. Although Ayurveda has been around for over 5000 years, the evidence-based research is rather new. Since Ayurveda is custom-tailored to the individual, large-scale studies are difficult to do. Despite that, there are many studies looking at specific aspects of Ayurveda, including:
4. How do you combine the principles of Ayurveda with western medicine? Is there a conflict?
The lifestyle practices of Ayurveda meld well with western medicine. Ayurveda offers a preventive approach. It guides your body back to it's optimal state of well-being. Western medicine generally focuses on management of acute illness. Prevention (Ayurveda) and acute management (western medicine) are both necessary parts of healthcare. As a pediatrician, my specialty has always lent itself well towards prevention!
A word of caution: In addition to lifestyle practices, Ayurveda offers intensive treatments and deep cleansing programs. These treatments should only be done in consultation with your regular physician.
A few weeks ago, I hosted the Healthy And Happy Lifestyle Summit. It was my first virtual summit, and I had a blast organizing it! The summit brought together 17 physician experts who shared their top wellness tips. There was a community of over 800 of us together learning, healing, and connecting. It was a beautiful experience, and you can still catch all the sessions for free! They're all on my Youtube channel here. Tune in for cooking demo's, sleep hacks, mindfulness tools, and more!
Someone asked me this question recently:
Can you make a video or meditation about fears and anxieties surrounding missing out on things and life experiences? I feel like there's so much I want to do in my life and whether I'll be able to accomplish my goals, not knowing how long this will last?
What a great question! We're in a time of such uncertainty. What about all those goals, dreams, and desires you had for the year? What do you do with those now? How can you shift from FOMO (fear of missing out) into a sense of fulfillment?
I made an audio recording to answer this question. In it, I give you 3 steps to go from FOMO to fulfillment. You can listen to it here. Or, if you prefer to read my response, keep reading below.
I'm going to answer this question in 3 parts:
1. Getting comfortable with the uncertainty
2. Understanding your why
3. Building affirmation
First, I want to address the uncertainty about how long this will last. This is, by far, one of the hardest parts of this whole situation. We have no idea how long it's going to last. That uncertainty can be hard to wrap your mind around. The world looks a lot different now than we knew it even a few months ago. And, the fact is we don't know how long this is going to last. We don't have a clear end point.
What we do know is that when things assume some version of normalcy, the world will be a different place. Whenever faced with a crisis, either individually or globally as we are now, it leaves lasting change. Things can't go back to exactly how they were before this crisis hit. All situations in life come to show us something. To encourage us to dive deeper and learn more about ourselves and the world we live in. And so, the first step in addressing your question is acknowledging the uncertainty. And, finding acceptance with the world looking different from now on. So, this is the first step.
Then, coming from this foundation of knowing that the world is changing. We don't know which parts of our lives are going to remain the same, and which will parts will change forever. So, from that starting point, I want you to examine your goals. So, go ahead and jot some of those goals on a sheet of paper.
Now, look at your list of goals. And, I want you to think about your why behind those goals. Why do you want to achieve those specific outcomes? What do you hope to achieve in doing so? How will it make you feel? How will it impact your life and the lives of others? Go ahead and take a few moments to jot your thoughts down.
Understanding your why, as you did in this exercise, will help you achieve your goals. Tony Robbins talks a lot about your why in his RPM method. RPM stands for Rapid Planning Method. Simon Sinek also gave a great Ted Talk about understanding your why, and also wrote a book on the same topic. The idea behind getting clear on your why is that it allows space for your how to unfold. What I mean is you might have a clear idea on action steps you think you need to take to achieve your goals. But, in this changing world, those action steps that you thought of a few months ago may not be relevant anymore. And so, if you're looking just at the action steps or the goal without understanding your why, then that can feel very discouraging.
But, if you know your why, then your mind will search for different ways to fulfill it. Your mind will start to search for creative solutions and opportunities. This happens automatically. When you get clear on your why, you send a message to a part of your brain called the reticular activating system. This is the part of your brain that filters out sensory messages. It only lets the important messages get through to your conscious mind. So, in this way, your mind starts to look out for any resources or information to help you achieve your why.
So, what I'm saying is your action steps and outcome might end up looking different than what you expected a few months ago. Allow yourself to be open to that. And, know that you can find fulfillment by making progress on your why.
Yoga talks about it this way. Yoga says perform your karmas, spiritually-aligned actions, and let go of the results. In other words, perform actions that are aligned with your highest purpose. Let go of your attachment to a specific outcome.
So far I've talked about getting comfortable with uncertainty and understanding your why. Next, I want you to build positive affirmations.
In other words, change your vocabulary from "I don't know if this will ever happen" to "I am resilient and creative solutions are all around me." In other words, change your vocabulary from uncertainty and worry to affirmation and resilience.
The words you use are powerful. There's an entire field in modern psychology dedicated to this. It's called Neuro-linguistic programming, or NLP. From the Ayurvedic perspective, the words you use carry specific energetic vibrations. Energy attracts energy, and your thoughts create your perception of reality. And, like I mentioned earlier, from the Western science perspective, affirmative statements tell your reticular activating system what to look for. It also builds positive emotion that activates your dopamine reward pathway. This makes you feel good, and so you end up wanting to seek out even more creative solutions.
So, you can see that positive affirmations are more than just a woo-woo, new age practice. There's actual science, both from the Western and Eastern perspectives, that back it up.
So, to recap and to answer your question, follow these 3 steps:
1. Acknowledge and accept the uncertainty
2. Get clear on your why
3. Build positive affirmations
So, I hope that answered the question and that you found it helpful. Leave a comment below to let me know.
If you have any other questions or other topics you want me to address, let me know that too!
Stay well. Stay safe.