Demystifying Ayurveda: A Few Basic Principles

Ayurveda is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but rather a system of living that treats us as the complex, unique beings that we are.

Ayurveda is a system of living that treats each of us as a complex, unique being with specific needs regarding diet, exercise, herbs, essential oils, self-care habits and lifestyle choices. It is an ancient, time-tested science that recognizes that as the conditions of our life change, we're healthiest when we make tiny shifts in our habits to stay in balance. Ayurveda is a daily experience of conscious living, of noticing and catching imbalances before they become disease, and permission to truly listen to our own inner teacher.

If you currently practice yoga, you may be stepping onto your mat in search of balance in mind, body, and spirit. Similar to the balance we seek from our physical asana practice, Ayurveda seeks to balance our mind-body by looking at our unique makeup and offering suggestions that are specific to our individual nature. This is what the doshas represent. They are the energetic archetypes that are uniquely combined in each of us to make us who we are. Doshas are essentially mind-body types and are comprised of the five principe elements: ether, air, fire, water, and earth. While we all have these attributes, it is simple to take a basic constitution test to get a sense of which doshas are most dominate in you. 

Dosha Overview

Vata: Composed of ether and air; associated with cold, dry, light, rough qualities.
Pitta: Composed of fire and water; associated with oily, sharp, hot qualities.
Kapha: Composed of earth and water; associated with wet, heavy, solid, cold qualities.

Ayurvedic Lifestyle Tips for everyone

There are also a few general Ayurvedic practices that are beneficial for all constitutions and represent living a conscious Ayurvedic lifestyle:

  • Establish a routine or schedule. Try to sleep, wake and eat at similar times every day.
  • Enjoy a leisurely breakfast, large lunch, and light dinner. Ideally, take a break away from distractions so you can eat slowly and in a mindful manner.
  • Avoid cold and icy food and drinks.
  • Regularly practice meditation, gentle stretches and/or yoga.
  • Prevent toxic buildup though abhyanga (oil massage) and tounge scraping.
  • Follow a seasonal diet, eating locally grown produce when possible.

Basically like yoga, Ayurveda gives us a wealth of information and tools that can be incorporated into our lives. And like all good things, positive changes made through Ayurvedic techniques require time. 

Sachi Doctor

Elemental Alchemy, 90 Rio Vista Avenue, Oakland, CA, 94611

Sachi Doctor is an Ayurvedic practitioner and holistic health coach who founded Elemental Alchemy with the mission to provide a resource for those navigating their way towards optimal mind-body health.

Diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at a young age, Sachi has spent over twenty years exploring different health modalities, treatment plans, diets and mindfulness practices to help alleviate chronic pain and restore balance.

After years of looking to others for a model of health with no relief, Sachi realized that the answers she sought were not hidden in someone else’s prescription for wellness but unique to her, and that the first step towards discovery was actually tuning out what was right for others and tuning into herself.

As she tapped into the wisdom of her own body, she discovered that the elements foundational for health  — the blueprint she so fervently sought — was within her, within each of us. Since then Sachi has been passionate about helping others also cultivate clarity and inner wisdom for vibrant health.

In addition to her Ayurvedic and nutrition education, Sachi has completed over 800 hours of yoga teacher training and continues to study with her mother, her first yoga teacher, for whom these practices are a way of life.

Sachi is a board member of the Prison Yoga Project at San Quentin State Prison and serves as an ambassador for Yoga Gives Back, a non-profit that raises funds within the US yoga community to support microcredit programs for women in India. She holds a Msc in Development from the London School of Economics.