Let’s instead use Ayurvedic Medicine, since it sounds more exotic. More than just sounding exotic, it has much more depth than our Western notions of “dieting”. Dieting implies willful starvation, a punishment for bad behavior, which only promotes more suffering. Ayurvedic Medicine is a holistic approach to being aware of how our body reacts to the things we put in our mouth. While our lesson on this enormous tradition was brief, it affirmed some pre-existing suspicions about Yoga and it’s far-reaching implications on life as we know it. I was left wanting to know more.
How could the practice of nourishment have been separated from the Asana practice?? It seems to me that you can’t have one without the other. If you are trying to find a deeper sense of well-being, how can a person continue to eat the “American” way? This is where the major cultural challenges arise. There is an increasing level of literature on the subject of shifting the American idea of Food, including one of my favorite Real Food advocates, Michael Pollan, who said: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” However, this common-sense, vital information has been, for the most part, out of the mainstream media. So, it is up to each individual to empower themselves with information from trusted sources, but more importantly, information from one’s own body.
When I began practicing yoga, I was suffering from terrible acid reflux, gas and lots of foods made my stomach hurt. Over a period of time, incorporating a conscious practice of eating and noting the foods that caused my dis-ease, I have finally found peace. I no longer suffer the same crippling stomach pains. Although there is still some gas, it’s on a healthier level 😉 And, I can still indulge and have coffee, alcohol and Mexican food. Just not all in the same day.
I plan to continue learning about this ancient medicine and see how an enhanced awareness of food will affect the spiritual journey. Intelligent consumption of nutrition is one of my favorite hobbies, so this should be fun.