The link between Ayurveda and coaching
Ayurveda is the ancient Indian healing system which bases its theories and practices in everything being connected. Ayurveda focuses on the prevention of disease, always treating the root cause and not the symptoms.
While coaching, as described by John Whitmore, is “unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them”.
The principles of Ayurveda will help us understand how to treat the root cause of disease and help us prevent disease from occurring in the first place by creating a balance between our physical and mental health. Disease is anything that causes an imbalance.
Yoga philosophy – which works hand in hand with Ayurveda – helps us achieve the connection between our mind, body and spirit so that we may live a more balanced life – able to cope with the various stresses of modern living.
The coaching process creates the space and time in your life to help you implement the changes necessary to manage your physical and mental health, without being overwhelming. This contributes to achieving optimal wellbeing that helps you achieve your goals outside of physical and mental health. Together, the principles work to practically and sustainably achieve wellbeing.
When I started training to be a coach, I was amazed at how everything I was learning made sense. At first, I thought this meant that I’d found my calling. I was meant to be doing this. But during my years of practice, I have noticed a more surprising link as to why coaching made so much sense to me. It’s because growing up, the principles of Ayurveda were a way of life. Somehow and without realising, I have woven this into my coaching practice.
The 7 principles of Ayurveda
- Eat a colourful, flavourful diet.
- Sleep soundly at night.
- Engage in regular exercise that enhances flexibility and strength.
- Take time daily, to quiet your mind and meditate.
- Cultivate loving relationships.
- End what does not serve you.
- Awaken your passion.
During my coaching course, we were introduced to the ‘Wellbeing Wheel’. This works on the principle that everything in our lives is connected.
There are 12 areas of our lives that are believed to affect our wellbeing, including food, physical, emotions, relationships and integrity. The wheel works on the premise that if one of these areas receives a low score, then this is the area needing to be worked on in order to achieve a sense of balance.
Ayurveda works on the principle that we need to live and manage our health with balance – balancing the doshas to help alleviate symptoms of ailments, whether emotional or physical.
What are the doshas?
Pitta (fire) – Those with a dominant Pitta dosha are usually natural leaders. They will be confident, passionate and organised. But a Pitta dosha-overload can result in skin irritation, overheating, heartburn and ulcers.
Kapha (water) – Kapha types are loyal, kind-hearted, calm and loving. Too much Kapha can result in lethargy, weight gain, congestion and bad digestion.
Vata (air) – People with a dominant Vata dosha tend to be of a creative nature with lots of imagination and vision. If their dosha becomes unbalanced they may become anxious, forgetful and often uptight. Typical health issues caused by unbalanced Vata are bloating, anxiety or joint disorder.
As you dig deeper into Yogic philosophy, you can further see how modern coaching theories are linked to these ancient principles. For instance, positive psychology is a relatively new theory which focuses on the positive aspects of the human experience that make life worth living. This includes various aspects of our lives that contribute to our overall wellbeing, including work, relationships and improved immune functioning. The main philosophy of yoga is simple: mind, body and spirit are all one and cannot be clearly separated.
NLP is also an interesting theory linked to Ayurveda and yoga (note that yoga is a philosophy and not just postures). While NLP is the study of excellence, Ayurveda is about balancing the body based on your body type, genetics and environment to prevent disease – to help your body function in its optimal state.
Yoga works in harmony with Ayurveda to help you achieve a sense of wellbeing through the connection between your mind, body and spirit, which in turn, helps you to be able to experience life at an optimal level.
3 tips to achieving balance through Ayurveda and coaching
If you have a yoga ‘asana’ practise to help manage stress, it’s important to get the most out of your experience. If you take part in a yoga practice but don’t feel the benefits long after the session, then they are likely other improvements required to balance your wellbeing. The Ayurvedic principles help to identify these, and then coaching to help you implement changes.
If you’re in a cycle of experiencing the same challenges, year in, year out, addressing them through Ayurveda will first help you to balance your symptoms. Once you have started to achieve balance through the foods and herbs you are consuming, coaching is available to help you make the necessary changes to help you break the cycle.
When you feel despair over anything in your life, remember that everything is connected. You can run your own review of what is and isn’t working for you – from your nutrition, relationships and emotions – and then try to build up the areas that are lacking. From a coaching perspective, it is important to start small and work your way up. Remember that is is a process. It takes time, but it feels so good when you achieve that place of peace, balance and contentment.
Puja K McClymont is a certified NLP wellbeing coach in London. Helping high-achievers gain the confidence to reach their career, health and relationship goals by breaking down the barriers holding them back.
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