Ayurveda is often helpful in the journey towards self-awareness, growth and change, offering a fully holistic look at health and how to create balance. For some treatment programmes it can be part of our journey towards self discovery and for others it is simply that we have reached a point in our lives where the choices we are making are not making us healthy or happy and know we want more, so we look for the something else that seems to be missing.
In the Ayurvedic view, the lack of ability to process emotions in a timely way is the main cause of emotional imbalance. Some people are able to process an emotion quickly, which means they are able to let go and move on with their lives. For others, the processing or ‘cooking’ of thoughts is slower, so the negative impression remains with them for a very long time and impacts their current thoughts and emotions, resulting in a negative mood.
Ayurveda, a holistic health system and sister science of yoga, works from the outside in; yoga works from the inside out. Yoga physically initiates an unfolding of the spirit and a consequent transformation – Ayurveda works alongside yoga and initiates the same process, however usually beginning with in-depth purification of body and mind.
Ayurvedic treatments such as diet, nutritional herbs and an herbal detoxification process known as Panchakarma, as well as meditation, not only work hand-in-hand to create a shift on a physical level, they also remove unconscious blocks that create chronic stress, which can lead to making choices that do not support our health and sometimes lead to addictions, or simply bad habits that do not serve us.
Ayurveda is used to help support people who are on a journey of self-discovery, or going through programmes to overcome addictions to nicotine, alcohol and illicit drugs. There is no one set course of treatment for addiction (as everyone’s balance of doshas is unique) but some elements of an Ayurvedic treatment programme can work well alone or to support alongside any programmes you are on:
- Therapies to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and to improve overall health and well being;
- Cleansing treatments like massage and enemas to remove toxins and impurities from the body;
- Therapies to improve health and disease resistance, such as herbal medicines and dietary changes;
- Therapies to improve spiritual health and well being, such as meditation, yoga and others.
*If you have a clinical condition, or you are under the care of a health professional, we recommend that you consult your physician for appropriate advice and treatment.*
Working with Addiction
Individuals who adopt unconscious ways to escape from stress and conflict can often become victims of their own self-destructive habits and behavioural patterns. Conflict creates stress and addictions, to alcohol, food, work, sex and drugs.
Addictions are antidotes that provide a temporary escape from the stress-producing, conflict-creating reactions you have about what you are doing, where you are going and whom you are with. Behaviours or addictions, which ‘cause an effect’, occur when you continue to use inappropriate external resources to reduce stress and restore a sense of balance.
When our thoughts and bodies’ reactions are free from stressful emotional feelings, we make better choices and only then can any change happen.
For more information on how Ayurveda can helps with self-transformation, addiction and growth the following books are helpful:
Freedom From Addiction by Deepak Chopra
The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama
The Yoga Suturas of Patanjali by Swami Satchinanda
Ayurveda And The Mind by David Frawley
Philosophy used in many yoga teachings come from the Vedas, as do Ayurvedic texts. These practices of wisdom/spiritual discipline (the ‘yamas and niyamas’), can still apply now to help us towards happiness and inner freedom.
Yamas – Outward Practices
Ahimsa – non-violence non damage to anything on this plane, even no harm to ourselves
Satya – truthfulness
Asteya – non-stealing
Brhamacharya – concentrated direction of sexual energy
Aparigraha – non-covertness; not being greedy or wanting things; non-attachment to things
Niyamas – Inward Practices
Saucha – purity
Samtosha – contentment
Tapas – changing habits; developing focused energy to burn habits
Svadhyaya – study of classic spiritual texts
Ishvara Pranidhana – surrender to our higher intelligence/god
“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” William James
“Ayurveda means the Science of Life. We take a fully holistic view of keeping our bodies and minds in balance by combining applied principles of Ayurveda, yoga, meditation and basic human spiritual values. There is not a perfect way, there is not a perfect answer. All there is, is the journey itself, without perfection or sometimes a answer.” LH
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions and choices.” The Dalai Lama