Finding Ayurveda: A Story of Self-Discovery
Madeline, thank you so much for chatting with me today. Welcome to the Bodies Built Better podcast.
Thank you, Jackie, excited to be here.
I’m so glad you’re here because you actually helped me last year before I headed over to Sydney. And it was one of those things where, you know, it’s, it’s not until something was gonna associate that you go, I really need to figure out what is going on. And I kind of felt like at that time, no one was really giving me answers. And I came to see you and I just, it was this big light bulb moment, it really explained my symptoms and what I was going through, and I really felt empowered then to look after myself in a way that I probably had or hadn’t done in the past. Obviously, things didn’t go so well. So I’m really looking forward to diving deep into what Ayurveda is today because that is what has helped me but before we do, I’d really love to know what was your journey getting into Ayurveda.
So there’s a little saying, with Ayurveda that I have at it doesn’t, well you don’t find it, but rather she or it finds you. And so I think everybody’s got their story with it. And so my particular story really comes off the back of obviously, the typical journey, which can be a bit of yoga and all of those things, but it really was about self-discovery for me. At the time, I didn’t have very good skin. That was a lot of cystic acne, and I knew that there was that natural reason for that. And I knew that there was–I needed to get to the root cause. So there was that element of skin but then there was also a deep-seated past in eating–with an eating disorder. And so when I was living overseas at the time in London, I developed stomach ulcers or the doctor didn’t say that I had it. He said, I simply ate too much Christmas pudding. But, um, I wasn’t eating at the time. So I don’t know how that happened. And I developed, um, what seemed like stomach ulcers. And I had this light bulb moment, like you said, like a light bulb moment. And I was like, I did this to myself, therefore, I can get myself out. And I started to look at all these things that can help. And I didn’t know what at the time I didn’t know that there was that Ayurvedic, I hadn’t even heard of Ayurveda before. But about, you know, maybe nine months to a year after that, I met a new friend who just gotten back from India. And she told me about this thing called Ayurveda, and what it meant and what it did, and I was like, I’m kind of already doing that. And so then I looked it up and I could study it. And it was– the course was starting in Adelaide a couple of days later. And so I booked in with Dr. Bosco, my teacher, and had a little consultation. And I was just bawling my eyes out like just crying, crying, crying because it was just this knowingness that I found it. Thank God hallelujah, that, um, there is this thing that I believed in without knowing what it was yet. And yeah, it was just this knowingness. So I was very quick, very fast. Very quick moving. And I just made that call and started studying a few days later.
Wow. When you–when you cried and you said you knew, was it–was it–you know that calling as in–this is your path? This is what you’re meant to be?
Yeah. Oh, yes, definitely an element of that. But I think it was more outweighed by the fact of all this is my journey for healing. And I think, like, I said earlier, when you study Ayurveda, a lot of the time, you don’t actually know how transformative it’s going to be for you. And you might go in there being like, “Yeah, I’m going to be a practitioner, and I’m going to help all these people.” But what Dr. Bosco said to us on our first session is, “Yeah, you know, you’re gonna–you’re gonna be studying Ayurveda, but the next two years or so are going to be the most transformational for you.” So it’s all about you first, and then you essentially figuring out your shit that’s hit the fan, like you said, and owning that a little bit and delving through that, because you’re your greatest teacher with Ayurveda. And so that’s what I tell clients as well. Like, it’s good that you get to experience this.
Yeah. And I mean, you can’t–how can you help someone else if you can’t even help yourself?
Yes, like, I mean, and that goes for any practitioner with what you do with natural paths with doctors. Um, I think all types of practitioners and professionals really need to look after themselves more, it’s a human thing. Because that’s not only going to help themselves and their immediate environment, including their friends and family, and the quality of all those things, but it’s going to then help how they serve other people in whatever profession they’re doing.
Yeah, it really is that practice what you preach.
A Holistic Approach To Living a Balanced Life
So let’s dive straight in. What is Ayurveda?
So it’s very broad. But if you break down the actual word, Ayurveda, so if you go, “Ayur” That’s first, yeah, it’s opposite. So I’m not good with this. But if you go “Ayur” and then “Veda”, so “Ayur” is life, and then “Veda” is knowledge. So essentially, it’s life knowledge. So it’s how to live your life. It’s like a framework, you can think of it in the sense that when you start to understand your place within it all, then you can start to put in the patterns and the processes or the routine or whatever, that helps to almost scaffold your life a little bit better. So it’s all about building the foundation and understanding the principles and then building up the scaffolding, and then everything’s nice and structured, and everything’s sound. Does that make sense?
I think so. Yeah. So then–continue…
No, no, no. You go–you go.
So what’s the foundation?
So the foundation would be–well, I’m sure we’ll talk about it. But understanding the key principles in Ayurveda, like understanding what makes up the universe, for instance, the elements…
Makes up the universe?
I know the question. I feel like that’s like, for what’s the meaning of life? I don’t know. Don’t ask me that. I don’t know.
I’m trying to figure that out.
The Ayurvedic Foundations of You
Yeah. Yeah. One moment. But yeah, if you think of like, and literally that analogy came into my head just then so bear with me, but we’ll build on it. So foundations can be like your philosophy. Yeah. So like I said, it’s understanding what makes up the universe. From an Ayurvedic perspective, it’s your elements. It’s then tear down into your doshas, which I’m sure we’ll talk about my favourite topic, which is essentially, these energetic forces that you embody some more than others, right? And then it’s understanding that everything in the universe is more dominant in certain elements and not more dominant in certain, um, doshas. And what that means is it sets up, yes, a physical profile, but also from a human experience, a mental and emotional profile as well. And it starts to, I guess, build up your universe, like it gets to build up the world around you. And then if you think of the scaffolding as these routines and the processes and the rituals, I guess, and understanding, um, how to create something from the ground up, okay, with strength and vitality, then you can just keep building up and building up and everything that you build in the middle, which is obviously, the whole reason for the scaffolding is going to be pretty good is going to be really sound.
The Daily Rituals To An Ayurvedic Lifestyle
And so the scaffolding is the stuff that you–so you said rituals, yeah, so it’s the things that.
It’s the things that you do every day. Yeah, I think rituals, people think that rituals is like, well, I like incense, and I’m literally looking at my incense now. And it’s like, yeah…
That’s a ritual…
Burns in the corner. Yeah,
Like, that’s a ritual for sure. But I think your ritual, and some can be really positive. And I talk to clients about that. But some could be kind of contra-indicated, I guess for where you’re currently at with your balance or imbalance. For instance, a ritual that so many people in the West do is that the first thing they do when they wake up? What’s the first thing you’ve put into your body in the morning? Oh, my coffee. Oh, yeah. And a ritual. Not the best one right now.
Yeah. So rituals don’t need to be this ritualistic spiritual thing. Um, in Ayurveda, they can simply be, what are you doing every single day that you almost can’t break away from for whatever reason.
Yeah. So if we Westernised it, you’d say habit?
Yeah. It’s a habit. Yeah. Which can be constructive or not so constructive.
Yeah. Yeah. Which was me, by the way. I used to wake up. I’ll do the coffee.
Yeah, I used to do it too. Absolutely.
Yeah. Breakfast first,
Breakfast first. Exactly. Not on an empty stomach, please.
The Five Elements: How They Influence A Holistic Approach To Heath
Well, let’s talk more about the doshas. I feel like that’s the thing that people know about, we’ll hear about at least the most. So let’s break that down.
Sure. So, with, before knowing the doshas, you need to understand, like what makes up the universe, I guess? And yes, the doshas are in that but you need to almost take a step back, like really like macrocosm. Okay. So if you break it down to five elements, okay, the Panch Mahabhutas, which is what we say in Sanskrit. But if you look at the five elements, which is if we go from light to heavy, so up here, you’ve got air, and oh, sorry, first, you’ve got ether, which is space, and then you’ve got air, and then you’ve got fire, and then you’ve got water, and then you’ve got earth. And everything in the universe can be described as being made up of the qualities, okay, of these elements that they embody. For instance, air and ether, they’re quite light. So is fire, but water and earth, they’re not light. They’re heavy. Okay, simple. If you then use another, um, duo, which is literally your shower taps, which is hot and cold, then they’re opposites. It’s understanding that–well, which one? Would you think Jackie is the hot one? Which one? Would it be at all?
Elements and Doshas: How They Relate
Yeah, so it’s fire. Exactly. And so the other four, they’re classified as cold. So what the elements really show us is, on a quality level, what everything can be described as. And then where the doshas come into play is it’s this energetic relationship between two different elements coming together. For instance, if you have a look at say, we’ll say the first one, the lightest one, vata. Vata is the ether and the air coming together. So, if you visualise these qualities of Vata, which is really light, it’s really dry. It’s really cold. It’s quite rough. It’s very subtle. It’s very mobile, and it’s very clear. Well, if you had a look at that, in nature, that’s really similar to the wind. So it’s understanding then the properties and the qualities and what the wind actually does in nature and then applying that to the body itself. Does that make sense?
So then if you have a look at Pitta, for instance, which is the second dosha. Pitta is made up of fire and water together. So again, it’s not that you’re looking for fire and water, and then plugging them together, because that won’t work, because we know how they interact.
The Dosha of Transformation and Metabolism
But it’s rather looking at the qualities of water and looking at the qualities of fire. And one of them, like I said, with fire’s the heat, yeah, but then one of the key qualities of water is its liquid component. So if you just take those two, because they’re probably the most, um, easy to understand. If you take those two, put them together, then you’ve got, like, a really hot liquid. And again, using nature as an example, because all of this stems from nature, we stem from nature, too. If we have a look into nature, then we’re looking at something like molten lava.
Okay, and then when we apply that to the body, and we understand. Okay, well, this is the relationship on a quality level with fire and water, then we understand then, okay, it’s a hot, fiery liquid. And what that does in nature is if it–if you are at the bottom of a volcano, and it starts to erupt, and you’re just standing there being that, I’ll be fine. I’ll come out the other end fine, you’re not going to be okay. You’re going to be completely transformed. And that’s the key functionality of that Pitta dosha is transformation and metabolism.
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