Today is World Ayurveda Day, also known as Dhanvantari Jayanti or the birth anniversary of the physician of gods, the preceptor of Ayurveda, Lord Dhanvantari. This day is celebrated worldwide by offering prayers to the deity who Lord Dhanvantari, the supreme healer who is seen holding 'shankha' or conch, 'chakra' or disc, 'jalauka' or leech and a the pot of ‘amrita’ or nectar of immortality in his hands. The sound of the conch symbolizes om or vibrational healing, chakra signifies eradication of diseases, leech signifies purification therapies like ‘panchakarma’ and the pot of nectar signifies a healthy happy long life in todays world that can be achieved through Ayurveda.
I found Ayurveda in the year 2000 as an obese teenager trying her last resort to lose weight and balance my hormones, when the conventional medicine had failed me. The Ayurvedic Vaidya who helped me heal, also mentored me to embrace Ayurveda both personally and professionally. I was so fascinated by this common sense science, that I decided to study Ayurveda and dedicate the rest of my life to support peoples health and healing.
Having studied and practiced Ayurveda in 2 diverse cultures- India and Canada, I feel blessed and amazed at how simple Ayurvedic dietary and lifestyle measures can facilitate the healing of people, who have been chronically failed by all other systems. And yet, it breaks my heart to see all the myths and misconceptions floating around Ayurveda, which makes people shy away from its life-changing benefits.
I have often been asked some astounding questions about Ayurveda, and want to take this opportunity of Ayurveda Day, to dispel the myths and bring light to this wonderful science, so more people can embrace it and improve not just their health, but also their life.
Let me get started with the most common myths and notions about Ayurveda that I have encountered in my practice. After busting the myths you will get a clearer picture of what Ayurveda is and what it’s not.
Myth#1 - Ayurveda is a pseudoscience or something thats based on tradition-
Science is defined as “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment”. Ayurveda is a science, where knowledge is achieved through three different means:
Knowledge learned through authentic sources- texts/teachers known as ‘Aptopadesha’ ,
Knowledge incurred through direct observation known as ‘Pratyaksha’ as well as
Inferences drawn through observational studies known as ‘Anumana’