Ayurveda (Idiot’s Guides)
In 1991, I wrote Perfect Health, the first book to bring Ayurveda to a mainstream Western audience. I felt like a pioneer who couldn’t be sure that anyone would follow me. Now, decades later, I’ve witnessed how Ayurveda steadily rose in popularity until it became almost a household word, certainly among anyone interested in Traditional and integrative medicine. Ayurveda’s success is owed, I think, to an urgent need. As our healthcare system became alarmingly expensive, as patients felt frustrated by medical care relying almost entirely on drugs and surgery, the search for alternatives was unstoppable.
Ayurveda has come to the forefront because it is genuinely holistic. It represents not just a traditional approach to healing. A complete analysis of body type, psychological tendencies, specific kinds of imbalances, and dietary requirements opens up a host of lifestyle choices. The benefits have spread far beyond the original conception of the ancient rishis who conceived the principles of Ayurveda. This is a system for lifelong well-being based on the timeless notion that the human body, mind, and spirit are attuned to Nature. When this attunement is maintained through conscious choices in everyday life, the healing response of the body-mind itself is reinforced.
Modern life has reached a level of speed, stress, mechanization, and complexity that the simplicity of remaining in tune with Nature has been forgotten or neglected. Fortunately, we are collectively relearning the basics of wellness. For anyone willing to look deeply enough, this involves a reawakening that begins with questions people have asked for centuries: Who am I? What is this body I inhabit? How do I relate to the vast realm of Nature? Ayurveda provides a totally thought-out, practical approach to these questions. In the West there’s a long tradition for connecting Nature and human nature, but nothing as profound and systematic as Ayurveda.
Ayurveda may be the world’s oldest health system, but it is in no way dead. In an age where life accelerates too fast, Ayurveda teaches the benefits of going slow by discovering your own natural biorhythms and respecting them. Everyone wants to be healthy—this goes without saying. But as life expectancy has lengthened, the average person in old age spends 8 to 10 years coping with disease and disability. This problem can only be overcome by a long-range strategy for wellness. Idiot’s Guides: Ayurveda is aimed, therefore, at a mass audience of newcomers who desperately need such a strategy.
This is Ayurveda’s next evolutionary step. Sahara Rose has successfully refreshed and revitalized the ancient knowledge without watering down its significance and depth. She blends reverence for the tradition with an awareness of present-day needs. Above all, her book affirms that health surpasses the physical, an idea that ultimately has metaphysical implications when we ponder our place in the universe. Ayurveda views human existence as a mirror of the cosmos. At the very least this connection serves to make us stewards of Earth’s ecology, because the planet is our extended body in every process that keeps us alive.
Idiot’s Guides: Ayurveda covers a great deal of ground and calls the reader to come back time and time again. Sahara condenses scientific research and spiritual wisdom in a way that suits a time-challenged and information-inundated audience. I believe Sahara will emerge as a leading voice speaking to the millennial generation, who are primed for this paradigm shift. The ideal reader for this book will be inspired, not simply to become part of the Ayurveda movement but to evolve into their own limitless potential.
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