Ayurveda is not magical

Hey guys! Often when people think of Ayurveda, they associate it with the image below. Seemingly magical remedies that really don’t make logical sense.

The girl has Shirodhara treatment - indian oil massage.

Am I right? It might seem mysterious, exotic, pretty unattainable, maybe luxurious or elitist, and even a little weird. Like gross, who would put their head under warm oil while it drips all over their HAIR! Eu! And then how do you get it all out?! ;)

Well, shirodhara (SHEE-ro-DAR-uh) is the name of the therapy where the oil flows onto the forehead from one side to the other, almost in an oval pattern. Unlike all the photos you see, there is actually a person (or should be) moving the oil stream from side to side. Anyway, my point is that while this therapy is truly awesome (if you could feel it’s awesomeness, you would BEG for oil to be dripped all over your hair), it’s a teeny weeny part of Ayurveda! Shirodhara is not accessible to most people, it can be expensive for treatments, and it’s not something you can do daily.

I have good news. Ayurveda is so much more than shirodhara, herbs and other “magical” remedies. 90% of all imbalance can be corrected with diet and lifestyle. Do you know what a magical remedy is? Eating really good food that comes fresh from the earth, not from a lab or a GMOed seed. Another magical remedy is getting enough sleep each night and turning off computers early enough so we can unwind. Sleep does magic for the mind to help it rest as the body restores itself. One of the best magical remedies is getting daily exercise (yes daily, discipline!) even if it’s a 20 minute daily walk. Drinking enough water to keep the body supple and flowing is also another magical remedy. It keeps the mind clear and focused, channels flow easily, and our bodies stay buoyant instead of shriveled. My favorite magical remedy is breathing. It’s so magical and easy that we forget it’s even there ;)

Friends, when you think of Ayurveda and talk about it to your comrades and loved ones, remember that Ayurveda is simple. Ayurveda is life. Ayurveda is nutrients, rest, movement, hydration, and taking in enough oxygen. If you don’t have these things, then don’t bother with the fancy shirodhara therapy, the spas, the herbs, or the massages. Start simple. Start with what you already have within your power. And if you aren’t doing those simple things yet, then start practicing :) That is where you will find your results and where you will live your best life. And once you get the hang of that then run, do not walk, to your nearest Ayurvedic spa for an indulgent shirodhara session :) xoxo!! You can DO it!!!

If you want to practice the real deal (it’s accessible, simple and fun!), you might want to check out my book IN YOUR ELEMENTS. It’s a workbook! And I talk like you! Ain’t no mystery or magic, it’s chock full of real life, easy ways to keep you feeling awesome every day.

7 Responses to Ayurveda is not magical

  1. Shyam says:

    I had my first shirodhara yesterday. I must admit that it’s far from what the ads display..its less glamour but more therapeutic. My breath was deeper and deeper until i almost fell asleep.i had a better sleep at night and feel more relaxed. It’s definitely something worth trying but it can be quite expensive.

    • Monica says:

      Hi Shyam! Yes right?! Totally less glamour (no glamour!), more therapy. It is not cheap but also does not need to be done often (if we keep ourselves healthy with daily diet and lifestyle) however if needed, it can do wonders for us. Glad you tried it and liked it!

  2. Jen Eddinger says:

    I offer Shirodhara in greater Boston. And I have to say, that I love your post for pointing out that Ayurveda is more than that exotic, luxurious photo. And that Ayurveda’s true brilliance lies in the practice of our daily lives – our diet & lifestyle. But I have to add this: Shirodhara is incredibly nourishing for the nervous system. It deepens the breath, reduces anxiety and nervousness, and helps relieve insomnia. It is not ‘magic’, but a profound treatment based on the science of Ayurveda. If you have anxiety, insomnia, stress, fatigue, shirodhara would benefit you. Don’t wait on shirodhara, or anything for that matter. When you must begin something, begin anywhere! How else to get where your going?

    • Monica says:

      Hey Jen!
      Absolutely – I love love the benefits of shirodhara and completely agree with you on it’s nourishment for the body. My point was that, Ayurveda is sooo much larger and sooo much more approachable than just shirodhara. The image (not necessarily the therapy) really can scare people off when looking for alternative ways of managing their health. While WE know the benefits, it can be intimidating or “weird” for people first exploring it. And that was my point. Keep rockin it out in Boston – if I’m ever out there, I’ll come see you for some shirodhara-heaven!!!!

  3. Lisa Munger says:

    I love this. I’ll sometimes tell clients that if they aren’t eating whole foods, the PVK food lists are like putting a band-aid on a broken arm. And what I love about Ayurveda, is just what you illustrated…common sense! Love it, thanks Monica.

    • Monica says:

      Yes totally Lisa and Subramanya!! It’s the basics that really count! Don’t bother with the herbs or the “exotic” stuff if the basics aren’t in place! Love your example Lisa of a band-aid on a broken arm – precisely! :)

  4. Subramanya Shastry says:

    It’s so true! Even in India, particularly with the urban populace, Ayurveda is symbolically associated with Shirodhara. The potentially exotic appeal of the procedure/picture is being over used by the commercial establishments rendering it as an active competition to other forms of massage procedures offered by other systems. Ayurveda is way beyond.

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