In a recent episode of the podcast TaskHuman Talks, host and provider Jamie Carroll sat down with fellow provider Bridgette Ochoa for an in depth conversation about Ayurvedic medicine practices as wellness practices. The conversation ranged from what Ayurveda is to Bridgette’s near-death experience.
Here are the key takeaways from the conversation:
Ayurveda is for everyone but is best practiced under the guidance of a knowledgeable coach. Here are the main points from Jamie and Bridgette’s conversation.
Ayurveda is a 5,000 to 10,000 year old practice that seeks to find the root cause of human suffering. It is based on darshinas, which are different types of perspectives.
They are “basically a way of seeing something,” Bridgette explains, “like a perspective, a world view.”
After the sages developed the darshina’s, they realized they needed a way to respond to the perspective to heal suffering. They created Ayurveda.
“Ayurveda is a medical system that was created out of Sankhya Philosophy, and it’s based in nature,” she explains.
As part of Ayurveda, each person has a dosha, or mind and body type. It is something that you are just born with.
Your dosha is “who you are at your core,” Bridgette says. “When you were born, when you came out of your mother, you had a dosha.”
Your dosha informs how you implement the Ayurvedic principles.
When everything in your mind and body are functioning properly, your doshas should be in balance. Yes, you will have a predominant dosha, but there should be some level of stability.
“Everybody is a uniquely perfect, imperfect little mess,” Bridgette explains.
To maintain your health, you need to treat any imbalances first. Any of your doshas could become misaligned at any time. Treating the imbalance through your food helps your overall health.
“You eat with the seasons,” she says. “You eat with your imbalance, and you eat for your dosha daily.”
Using food as your health system means you improve your immunity naturally.
The three doshas are pitta, vata, and kapha. Here are their associations:
While there are some people who are 100% one dosha, most people are a mix. When you learn the characteristics associated with each dosha, it can be clear which group or groups you belong in.
“You know what calls to you,” Bridgette says. “You intuitively know what you are.”
To maintain your dosha balances, Bridgette recommends eating with the seasons to balance the natural tendency toward imbalance for each. For example, focus on eating cooling foods in summer.
The transition from winter to spring is a great time to clean out your body and your mind. Spring can be abundant, but you want the energy to keep moving. You don’t want it to stagnate.
“You don’t want accumulation,” Bridgette says.
Ayurveda calls for cleanses of different degrees. While it is safe to perform some cleanses on your own, Bridgette cautions that any truly strenuous cleanse should be done with the support of a practiced provider.
If you’re interested in performing a cleanse at home, Bridgette recommends the kitchari. For this cleanse, you eat a mixture of mung beans and basmati rice for each meal for three days.
Because each person’s digestive system reacts differently, it would be best to perform the cleanse when you don’t have to work or have a more open schedule.
The cleanse, “gives your digestive system a break,” Bridgette says.
The simple and consistent foods allow your digestive tract to reset. Even though the foods are simple, the cleanse is a challenge, both physically and mentally. Without the added focus on what you’re going to eat, your brain may begin processing other situations or emotions you’ve kept pressed down.
“You’re able to process more because you’re not thinking about food,” she says.
The cleanse will help move your energy outward, so you’ll greet the new season refreshed and revitalized.
Immunity is a critical part of Ayurvedic medicine. It focuses on preventative health.
“If you live your life according to Ayurveda, you withstand disease a lot better than anybody else,” Bridgette explains.
The recommended foods and spices work to support your dosha balances. They also heal and support your gut health.
“Digestion is everything,” Bridgette says. “80% of diseases originate because of faulty digestion.”
She also says that if your gut health is poor, you could be eating all of the healthy foods you want but your body won’t be absorbing the nutrients.
During a session with a shaman, Bridgette ingested a high dose of a plant medicine, Ayahuasca. The dosage, combined with her sensitivity, shut down her body. She started seeing all of her life experiences and memories. Then she had the sensation of becoming a panther. She realized she was dying.
“I was just breathing and dying with this animal,” she says. “I remember it being a choice: to live or die.”
When she regained consciousness, she was so weak, she couldn’t even walk. Yet, she managed to get herself outside. There, she was overcome with gratitude for being alive, and she’s carried that gratitude forward.
She knows “not to put too much pressure on it,” she says, “and to just enjoy life.” Her gratitude pours over into her yoga practice and relationships with her clients.
As a yoga instructor, Bridgette likes to work with the Ayurvedic clock. The idea is that each dosha has a natural association with a time of day. Kapha is morning, pitta is late morning/early afternoon, and vata is late afternoon/early evening.
Practicing a particular type of yoga that coordinates with the doshas keeps you in natural rhythms. To get the most out of your yoga practice, do power yoga in the morning and some relaxing yin yoga in the evening.
Watch the full podcast here. If you’re interested in learning more about Ayurveda medicine or to see how the holistic lifestyle could benefit your wellness goals, reach out to Bridgette through the TaskHuman app for a 1-on-1 live video chat today.