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Dr Deepa Apté explains the underlying principle of ayurveda and reveals the one piece of advice she would leave clients with…

According to ayurveda, the human being is composed of five basic elements – space, air, fire, water and earth – which, in various combinations, form three doshas: vata (air and space), pitta (fire and water) and kapha (water and earth). The combination and proportion of the three doshas make up a person’s basic body constitution, or prakriti, and will never change. However, the balance of the doshas constantly shift due to surrounding influences, which is called a person’s current body constitution, or vikriti, reflecting the current state of health. Understanding a person’s prakriti and vikriti means that ayurvedic treatments including diet, herbs, massage, yoga and lifestyle advice can be specifically tailored to help their body return to a state of healthy balance.

Ayurveda doesn’t necessarily mean a complete change of lifestyle but is more about integrating small, everyday changes for a healthy, prolonged life. If I were to offer clients one piece of simple, effective advice it would be to start the day with a cup of ginger and lemon tea. In ayurveda, just as the earth revolves around the sun, our own lives revolve around our digestive fire, which lives in the stomach/small intestine, similar to digestive enzymes. Keeping the fire strong is very important because when this becomes weak, it leads to the formation of certain toxins called ama, and potentially disease. Ama can be compared to the cheese that remains hard and heavy in the fridge, but once placed in a pan over fire, it melts and flows. That is where the digestive fire plays its role, and by drinking ginger and lemon tea every day, the fire-like qualities of ginger helps to melt the toxins and the cleansing qualities of lemon flush them out of the body.

PS. Dr Deepa Apté will be hosting the lectures: The principles of ayurveda (7 July, 3.30pm-4.45pm) and Ayurveda for women (8 July, 1pm-1.45pm). www.fht.org.uk/50

Image: iStockphoto

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