by Christina Zimmer
Meditation, West Coast Ayurveda, yoga
VANCOUVER – Ayurveda is a holistic health system originating from India going back between 2000 and 5000 years, depending on the source. The Sanskrit word translates to “life” (ayur) and “wisdom” (veda), and the underlying principle is that a person’s well being depends on maintaining the body’s elemental balance. Ayurvedic therapies consequently focus on restoring this natural balance to treat a variety of health issues, or simply to improve one’s overall well being.
In either case, the treatment should ideally start with a consultation, explains Sam Hari, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and founder of West Coast Ayurveda in downtown Vancouver, although individual therapies such as massages can certainly be booked as one-offs. “Generally, the first step in this is you should come in and have a consultation, because once you have a consultation, we can tailor a package around you because Ayurveda is very individualistic in its approach — we never treat two patients the same,” Hari says. “And that’s because, for example, you and I might have two different properties or body types. So, if we have two different body types but we have the same problem, we would not treat it the same. It’s a balancing act. Really what it comes down to is the balancing of the doshas.”
The properties or body types, called doshas, are elemental energies that reside within our bodies and are based on the elements air (Vata), fire (Pitta), and earth and water (Kapha). They can be thrown off-balance by stress, diet or lack of sleep, among other things.
“The human body hasn’t changed all that much,” Hari continues. “What has happened is that our lifestyle has really changed more than anything else, you know, all the stress, all the pressure that we put upon ourselves, really affect us.” The doshas determine physical and emotional characteristics such as body structure or personality traits, which the Ayurvedic practitioner analyses to be able to recommend therapies or lifestyle changes that benefit the client’s individual constellation.
After the initial consultation, West Coast Ayurveda will establish an individual treatment plan for each patient, which often includes recommending the rights foods, yoga and meditation exercises, oil massages, Ayurvedic supplements, herbs, and oils. Follow-up appointments aim to provide further guidance, until the patient is able to maintain their well being independently by implementing the practitioner’s advice in their day-to-day life.
West Coast Ayurveda is located at 1066 W Hastings Street.