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Nov 2004 / church and state :: email this story to a friend

Hey, Baby, What's Your Dosha?
By Jean-Joel Spatafora

St. Louis recently opened its doors to The Ayurveda Temple. Ayurveda not only adds years to your life but life to your years.

What is Ayurveda? Ayurveda is a science. It is a Sanskrit word from India that literally means "science of life."

Ayurveda's basic premise is that the body, in its natural state, is designed to heal, maintain and regenerate itself. The key word, of course, is "natural" state. The fact is we have strayed from our Garden of Eden a long time ago. When you think about all the preservative/artificially flavored/hormone-filled food and drinks we ingest daily, it's no surprise that the body has a hard time assimilating and processing all this junk. We traded our active lifestyle (in the woods climbing trees, crossing rivers, foraging for food) for sitting in cars, sitting in front of computers and sitting in front of the TV. Most of us have adopted a sedentary lifestyle. Where we once ate fresh foods from rich, organic soil, we now eat hormone-laced foods that sit on shelves and "fast foods." Where once we relaxed in the evening around fire with a community, we now schedule every waking moment believing that relaxing is being lazy.

Now that I have painted a gloomy picture of our lives let me introduce you to Ayurveda. Ayurveda is about balance. Balance is activity and relaxation. Balance is about doing for yourself as you would for others. It is a non-intrusive, non-aggressive way to live in harmony with yourself and your environment by becoming aware of your own body, by listening to the messages it sends you. The Temple is within...

omThe body is constantly sending us messages such as headaches, rashes, dizziness and so on. But modern science tells us to suppress these symptoms. We mute the communication between our body and our conscious mind. Now what do you think will happen if we keep doing this? It's like driving on curvy road at night that has signs posted saying "slow down, slippery road ahead," and you decide that these signs are distracting and bothersome and still continue at the same speed ignoring them. What do you think will happen?

Ayurveda brings us back to the body by teaching us to listen to it. Our irritability, our headaches and our depression are symptoms of aggravation. Something is aggravated. There are no absolutes in life. This includes the body. Ayurveda teaches us how to maintain balance; this is why Ayurveda never uses words like "must, always, never." We learn that avoiding and favoring certain practices is helpful in maintaining balance. This is where learning about your prakriti, or psycho-physiological body type, comes into play. This prakriti is the arrangement of each dosha (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) in our body. Armed with this knowledge, we can learn what foods and activities to favor or avoid.

Ayurveda brings us back into the body by creating balance and a sense of well being. When you are well, when you are at ease, with no dis-ease, the whole world changes. When you feel good the colors are brighter; the people are nicer; your whole life is wonderful and when you feel wonderful you communicate that to others, instead of the sense that it's your job. It happens naturally, one person at a time, and eventually the whole world feels good.

Our natural state is one of health, happiness and an inner sense of well-being. Health is defined as the body being clear of toxins, the mind being at peace, emotions being calm and happy, wastes being efficiently eliminated and organs functioning normally. In a busy, stressful and toxic world, our physical and mental systems accumulate toxins, causing deterioration in bodily functioning. This eventually weakens our systems, which opens the door for chronic, degenerative and non-specific diseases to develop. These can evolve into serious, specific diseases, ultimately damaging an individual's health and wellness.

That said, it is time we are happy, healthy, blissful people. This is why we started the Ayurveda Temple. This is why we went non-profit. We offer all sorts of things to the St. Louis area. But most important, we offer you the ability to take control of your own body, your own bliss. We offer one of the largest arrays of Ayurvedic massage-based treatments outside of India. Each massage is specific to one's prakriti (arrangement of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha). One in particular is a multi-day rejuvenation treatment called panchakarma. This is tailored for each individual. It is extremely powerful and should be done no more than four times a year. Weight loss, improved vision and increased flexibility are a few side effects of Ayurvedic treatments. An Ayurvedic consultation will determine your psycho-physiological body type, and the appropriate treatment schedule.

Because every day is filled with stress, worry and heartache, our mind needs its morning release. Transcendental Meditation is a wonderful practice to relieve stress in your life. This practice is bliss. Gilda is a certified teacher of TM and would love to teach everyone this personal and profound technique.

Because we all have to eat and eat well, the Vedic Café provides scrumptious food for the entire week. We do a sound meditation on Mondays at 6p.m. Also, we have a library if you would like to read more on these subjects. Although I would like to list everything we do, I invite you to call or come by or visit us online or in person. Please keep this article handy, because we are not listed in the phone directories.

We welcome the opportunity to make this beautiful city the seat of the rare gift of Ayurveda.

Ayurveda not only adds years to your life but life to your years.

Jean-Joel Spatafora maintains the website for The Ayurveda Temple, located at 2214 S. Big Bend Blvd. in Richmond Heights. For more information, you may contact them at (314) 644-6252.

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