Ayurveda : the science of life or ayurvedic medicine is a system of traditional medicine native to the Indian subcontinent In Sanskrit , the word ayurveda consists of the words , meaning longevity , and , meaning related to knowledge or science.It is an ancient Indian philosophy guiding and inspiring us in the ‘art of living wisely.’ In simple terms, ayurveda is a holistic system which guides us so that we can live a healthier and more balanced lifestyle. It recognises that we are all unique and focuses on food, lifestyle, massage, yoga and herbal remedies to suit our individual make-up.Ayurveda is all about living life to the full and keeping yourself on top form - whatever life throws at you!
We are created to procreate. It is one of our human conditions to want to lead a long and healthy life and to have children. Like many of the best things in life it often goes more smoothly if it is planned.
Ideally pregnancy starts about three months before conception as both partners prepare themselves for the magical act of creation. As a good gardener says, it is essential to prepare the ground so that your seeds can grow, or so that your body is clean and nourished and unobstructed by toxins and blockages. It is vital that the mother-to-be is at optimum health so that she stays strong for the journey ahead. The father-to-be must rid himself of toxins and nourish his reproductive tissue so that optimum fertilization can take place.
A priority for understanding your health in Ayurveda is establishing your constitution, known as your prakriti. It is best for you to see an Ayurvedic practitioner to determine this and from here you can tell the best diet for you both, the best time of year for you to try to conceive and other appropriate lifestyle recommendations.
we need to understand the reproductive system:The Ayurvedic view of egg and sperm production Eggs and sperm are the result of the deepest level of nutritional transformation. All that we eat and drink gets continually refined until it is transformed into the most vital essence, the potential of life, known as ‘shukra’ in Sanskrit. This is the seed of life.
Ayurveda believes that if there are any obstructions in the body then the reproductive system becomes deficient and it is necessary to undergo a programme of rejuvenation to re-establish the health of the reproductive tissues. ‘Obstructions’ may be such problems as an impaired digestive system, excess weight, anemia, constipation, fibroids etc.
Certain foods and herbs are more egg and sperm potentiating than others. Milk, almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, saffron, honey, ghee are all seen as the ultimate reproductive foods in Ayurveda. Herbs such as Ashwagandha and Shatavari are all used to enhance egg and sperm quality and quantity. Ashwagandha is the fertility tonic for vata types, Shatavari is the tonic for pitta types and a herb called Punarnava is often taken by kapha types.
The Ayurvedic view of the menstrual cycle:
As menstruation is controlled by the different doshas here is a quick overview of what is happening in your cycle from the Ayurvedic point of view. Normal menses are considered to be on a 26-30 day cycle, 5 days long, moderate flow, moderate colour, no clots, no discomfort.
The cycle is divided into three phases according to the different doshas.
Kapha phase: From the end of bleeding until ovulation is a time of building the endometrium and increasing kapha. Oestrogen is increasing. It is the phase of restoring strength to the body and preparing for conception.
Pitta phase: This lasts from ovulation until your period starts. The corpus luteum secretes progesterone which peaks during this phase. This prepares the endometrium for implantation of the fertilized egg and the breasts for milk production. This can be a time of PMT due to pitta accumulating in the blood and liver. As the blood channels and menstruation are connected this means that there can be extra heat in the system and this can lead to feelings of irritation and emotional overload.
Vata phase: This predominates during the period itself. Apana vayu (the force that regulates all downward movements in the body) pushes the menstrum down and out, therefore emptying the contents of the womb when menses occur and facilitating delivery during birth.
Understanding the doshas in the menstrual cycle
In order to enhance fertility it is essential that any signs of the doshas being out of balance are normalised.
1.Vata dosha regulates the nervous system. Interestingly, the menstrual cycle is closely related with the nervous system and a relaxed nervous system helps to have a smooth menstrual cycle. Vata also affects the plasma tissue responsible for much of the nourishment of the tissues and the quality of the menstrual flow. Excess vata can dry the plasma. This results in a chain of events from plasma through blood to the menstrual flow. The key here is to balancing vata dosha.
• Signs of vata being too high are: Lower back ache, a short and less than 5 day period, irregular cycle, long cycle, vaginal numbness, painful discharge, frothy flow, stiffness, depression, fatigue, anxiety, mood swings, insomnia, weakness, feeling cold, vaginal dryness, lower abdominal distension, constipation, gas and headaches .Follow with us a vata balancing programme.
2. Pitta flows in the blood and the menstrual channel. Toxins from digestive imperfection seep into the blood creating heat and or toxins here; hence the importance of keeping ‘hot’pitta under control.
• Signs of pitta being too high are: Inter menstrual spotting, the period can come early, frequent periods, hot discharge, foul odour, sensations of heat, flushing, fever, skin rashes, acne, headaches on temples, migraines, photosensitivity, acne, skin rashes, irritability, anger and diarrhoea.Follow with us a pitta balancing programme.
3. Kapha is responsible for all anabolic activity and is generated by the plasma tissue and so any problem with metabolism in this tissue will create various kapha problems.
• Signs of kapha being too high: moderate flow, pale discharge, sensations of cold, feeling itchy, mild to dull pain, heavyness, weight gain, water retention, oedema, nausea, vomiting, swollen breasts, back ache, pale pallor, feeling sentimental. Try to include some organic Trikatu in your daily schedule to remove any sluggishness. Follow with us a kapha balancing programme.
Ayurveda sees pregnancy as the ultimate call for rejuvenation or something called rasayana. You can rejuvenate your body and mind very simply. Ayurveda recommends that you both follow a preliminary intensive programme for one to two weeks.
Also known as the body-mind types, ayurveda uses the dosha to advise and inform the best way to live your life wisely.
Typically, each dosha type is made up from the following characteristics:
Vata types tend to be visionary, imaginative & full of creative energy. They can also be forgetful, spaced out, anxious & uptight. Vata problems are erratic digestion, bloating, anxiety or joint disorders.
Pitta types are confident, passionate leaders, organised & perfectionists but excess pitta can make them fiery, snappy & irritable. Pitta people have a tendency to suffer from skin irritations, overheating, heartburn & ulcers.
Kapha types tend to be loyal, kind-hearted, calm and full of love, but a kapha overload can make them lethargic, lacking in energy and a little overindulgent. Kapha types are prone to congestion, excess weight and sluggish digestion.
Know more about your Doshas for creating healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
The sole purpose of these blogs is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, prevention or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained doctor/health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained Ayurvedic expert, call us or e mail.
Dr Unnati Chavda