(Ayurvedic Diet and Lifestyle Counsellor)

The Ayurvedic Diet and Lifestyle (ADLC) program is a unique program specifically designed for the Asian market. Even though Ayurveda originated in India, its principles are comprehensive and universal. When you understand the underlying principles of Ayurveda you will learn to customise your diet and lifestyle regimen for your individual needs. The Panchamahabuta (PMB) and the dosha namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha (VPK) are the building blocks of Ayurveda upon which everything (diet, lifestyle, treatment, herbs, daily and seasonal routine, and so on) is the based on.

According to Ayurveda a “one-solution-fits-all” principle will not work because what is good for a Vata body type may not necessarily be good for the Kapha body type. Eg garlic has excellent healing properties but is not necessarily good for a Pitta body type and in fact can cause more harm if consumed by a Pitta aggravated body. All herbs are neither good nor bad, they all are dependent on various internal and external factors. This program will empower you with the right knowledge so that you can customise your diet and lifestyle according to the changes in environment.

Course outline

1. Concepts and terminologies

This is an absolutely important aspect for learning Ayurveda or yoga. English language is highly limiting when expressing Sanskrit words which can lead to misinterpretation. For example Dhatu is referred to as body tissues when in fact it means “all that which holds that body together”. Dhatu is a field for dosha to function. Ayurveda defines 7 dhatu and when we use English term body tissue, it is misinterpreted as Ayurveda claiming to have only 7 body tissues which is not the case. Majja dhatu includes the bone marrow and the brain. Panchamahabuta (PMB) is referred to as 5 Elements in many English translation when again it limits its explanation. As of now there are 118 Chemical elements in the periodic table and when one sees that Ayurveda only has “5 elements”, they disregard Ayurveda without understanding the meaning of the word. When studying herbs the word Dravya is used in Ayurveda and this is translated as “substance” in English. The word substance is defined as a physical matter whereas Ayurveda refers to Dravya as that which also includes energy. Therefore the word Substance does not translate Dravya in its entirety.

2. Panchamahabutha (5 States or Existence) and Dosha (Vata, Pitta, Kapha)

The Panchamahabutas (5 States ) and Dosha (Vata Pitta and Kapha) and their attributes (gunas) are the baseline criteria for understanding Ayurveda. It is from here that you will be able to understand diet, lifestyle, daily and seasonal routine, herbs, treatment and so on. You will learn these principles first and most importantly how to apply them in your daily life.

3. Dhatu and Mala

The concept of Dhatu and malas are also covered in this course. Even though many English translated books refer to Dhatu as Body Tissue and Malas as Waste this is incorrect. Dhatu is that which holds the body together. Malas even though are excreted from the body they play a vital role in sustaining the body and therefore the term waste is inappropriate.

4. Agni (Digestive Fire), Ama (Toxin), Srota

Ayurveda classifies Agni into 13 types – 5 Jatharagni, 7 dhatwagni and 5 Bhutagni. Agni is not just about your digestion but includes metabolism, conversion, assimilation, and elimination. You will learn what these are where and how it functions and the significance of each as well as macro digestion and micro-digestion from an Ayurvedic perspective. Closely related to the concept of Agni (digestive fire) is Ama (toxins) and Srota (micro and macro channels) as ama is formed when agni does not function well which in turn blocks the srotas (channels) thereby leading the way to disease.

5. Prakriti and Vikriti Analysis

Body types are a unique concept in Ayurveda and is formed at conception and is known as Prakriti which is a balanced state. When imbalance (due to diet or lifestyle) occurs, a person is said to be in Vikriti State. A body is composed based on the 5 Panchamahabuta (5 States of Existence) and based on this concept we can see why one solution will not fit all. Everyone is a unique individual body and the body types has to be assessed and known in order to design a specific diet or lifestyle program. You will learn how to identify a person’s prakriti.

6. Dravya Guna (Properties of Herbs)

This is also known as Ayurvedic Pharmacology. Dravya can mean any substance and in this context, we are studying Ayurvedic Herbs. We will study the basic concepts of Dravya (Qualities, Action, Potency, Taste and Post Digestive Effect). These are 5 important tools to understanding a Dravya and how these dravya affect or has an effect on Dosha, dhatu, mala, agni and ama. This will give a good foundation and help you understand which quality dravya one should eat, which taste is good for your body type or balancing your prakriti. Study of this is study of pharmacology. You will also learn 20 spices and herbs available in your kitchen.

7. Ayurvedic Nutrition (Ahara)

Unlike conventional nutrition, Ayurvedic nutrition is not about calorie counting. Ahara includes all the input into the body such as food, water, breath and perception. Having learnt all the above concepts, you will learn how to put together a customised nutritional program for your family and friends based on their body types. You will also learn how the dosha, agni, dhatu and srota play a key role in Ayurvedic nutrition. Included is the topic of the different types of fasting (langhana) which Ayurveda strongly recommends but is also customised based on your body type and lifestyle.

8. Ayurveda and yoga

The definition of health according to Ayurveda does not stop at body but also includes having a healthy sense organ not just structurally but also how we perceive life. This in turn will define our mental state. In this module, you will learn the Yogic concept of the understanding the Mind and some basic food that is good for the mind. This will cover the lifestyle aspect of creating a balance.

9. Internship (optional)

2 weeks internship with the Doctor and Dietician at the Ramaiah Indic Hospital.

Certificate will be jointly issued by the Ayurveda Association of Singapore and Ramaiah Indic Speciality Ayurveda Hospital.

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