The Basic Premise of Ayurveda: Healing Through Opposites

Ayurveda is a science that is based on the laws of nature. It teaches us to recognize the laws 
that exist in the natural world and apply them to our health and well-being.

One of the ways that Ayurveda utilizes the laws of nature is with a simple premise:

LIKE INCREASES LIKE. OPPOSITE QUALITIES BRING BALANCE.

So what does this mean?

TAKE IN OPPOSITE QUALITIES THROUGH THE FIVE SENSES. This brings balance.

For example:

TREAT COLD WITH WARMTH

We already know this, right? When you’re cold, what do you do? Put on a sweater, build a fire, sip hot tea. What if your body always tends to run hot, as with someone who is primarily pitta dosha? If you have a pitta imbalance, you may experience symptoms such as loose stools, burning indigestion, rashes, anger easily. These all come about as a result of too much heat in your body and mind. To bring balance, you need to apply cool and avoid heat. When you do, you may be amazed at how your symptoms subside simply, naturally. How to do this? Choose cool (not cold) foods. Avoid sunlight, especially during midday. Avoid alcohol and spicy food. Choose cooling aromas, cooling colors, non-competitive yoga, quiet meditation. All things cooling in nature.

TREAT DRYNESS WITH MOISTNESS

What do you do when your skin feels dry? Apply moisture. In fact, Ayurveda teaches that drying out defines the aging process. Think of fresh new leaves in spring; so moist and supple. Then think of what happens after they are exposed to the warm summer sun – by autumn they dry up, fall off the trees, crackle underfoot. Yikes – not something pleasant to think about in terms of what can happen to our own bodies! So what does Ayurveda do about dryness? Apply oil! Food grade, high quality oil – utilized both internally and externally. But the choice of oil is paramount; you should only put ON your body what you want to go INTO your body – as that is where it will end up when massaged into your skin! Applying oils to the skin is called abhyanga, and regular application will help keep you moist, supple, youthful. Choose oils according to your dosha; warmer oils such as sesame or almond for vata, cooler oils such as coconut or sunflower for pitta, spicy or dry oils such as mustard or safflower for kapha. Internally, ghee (clarified butter) is generally a good choice for all doshas, along with the oils mentioned above according to dosha.

TREAT HEAVINESS WITH LIGHTNESS

When we are overweight, what do we need to do? Eat more lightly! This means lighter foods and less of them. Avoid heavy, fatty, oily foods, as these will bring more heaviness.

TREAT MOBILITY WITH STABILITY

Always on the move? Mind can’t slow down even when you try? Stability is what you need. Meaning calm, quiet. Become grounded. Meditate. Avoid multi-tasking and taking on so many things that you are always on the go. Instead, choose fewer things, and go deeper with them, and take plenty of nourishing breaks that are filled with stillness and a grounding connection to the earth.

Get the picture? Think of your own life and what qualities predominate. Then consider how to bring balance by bringing in the opposite qualities. Ayurveda is very empowering; it is a system of medicine that, once understood, places the tools for your own healing in your own hands!

To learn more about making appropriate healing choices according to your dosha, read “Healing Your Life, Lessons on the Path of Ayurveda,” by Dr. Marc Halpern, Founder and Director of the California College of Ayurveda.

Or, contact CCA and make an appointment to see one of our wonderful practitioners!

By Marisa Laursen, C.A.S., P.K.S., A.Y.T.