When I first heard the word Ayurveda I thought to myself ayur-what? However, since it related to yoga I wanted to explore what it. Over the past year and a half I've been immersing myself in everything relating to ayurveda and integrating it into my life.
First of all, ayurveda is a Sanskrit word that translated to "the science of life." It is the medical system from India that has very close ties to yoga. The system has been used in India for over 5000 years and is greatly respected in many cultures around the world.
A few months ago I read Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi and Brian Leaf gave a great description of ayurveda:
"According to Ayurveda, there are different types of people, and these different types have different needs. For example, while spinach indisputable contains abundant vitamins and minerals, some people digest it easily while others do not and the nutrition is lost on them. Ayurveda not only predicts who will and will not easily digest spinach but also offers ways of making it more digestible for each constitutional type--cook it, eat it raw, use oil, don't use oil, make it spicy, keep it mild."
One of the things I love about living an ayurvedic lifestyle doesn't mean cutting any one thing out of my life, unlike paleo, raw, and vegan lifestyles (an many more.) Instead I can focus more on how my body reacts to different types off food and learn how to use the food as medicine.
Ayurveda not only looks at food but also as lifestyle choices such as daily habits, sleep schedule, thoughts, physical traits, likes and dislikes. To me, this is what makes ayurveda truly holistic.
Through ayurveda I've been able to resolve issues relating to digestion, disturbed sleep, emotional distress, dry skin/eczema, allergies, and so much more.
Ayurveda is such a flexible system that there are always more options to try but this also means there isn't one answer to a problem. Ayurveda focuses on fixing the cause of the problem rather than hiding the effects.