Ayurveda can be just like M&Ms -- once you get started, it's nearly impossible to stop! It's a vast and varied subject that offers advice and solutions for every aspect of living. It's a deep pool of ancient wisdom that provides refuge and relief from many of the challenges of modern life.
Its age and practical nature have inspired countless scholars, practitioners, and believers to share their knowledge and experience of its practices and benefits. The Ayurvedic approach to living and healing has been beautifully captured (and explained) in a number of colorful, fun and informative ways across the spectrum. The only thing is…you have to know where to start!
Our Love Affair with Ancient Wisdom
Although its history is long, Ayurveda is relatively new in the West but its popularity is significantly increasing for two main reasons: 1) it works, and 2) it's simple and practical.
Two other things Ayurveda has going for it are that it's enduring (heck it's over 5000 years old!) and inspiring (self awareness, self love and self healing are its key themes). So it's no surprise that I get a lot of people asking where or how they can find out more about it.
The Basics Beautifully Explained
And so here, in my humble opinion, is where to start: my list of 9 juicy resources for the Ayurvedic enthusiast. Whether just a beginning or long time lover of Ayurveda, this list will have something for you. And although these resources focus primarily on the fundamental and most basic concepts, they provide a look into the heart of Ayurveda which will no doubt inspire you take a look within your own.
Essential Ayurveda by Shubhra Krishan – This is one of my favorite books on Ayurveda. It's SUPER easy to read, covers all the basics and includes recipes (what more could you want). I also really like the language and metaphors she uses to describe some of the more esoteric concepts and principles.
Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies by Vasant Lad – Once you're ready to dive just a little bit deeper, it's time to introduce you to Dr. Lad. This book is also easy to read, well laid out and chock full of remedies and recipes. It touches on the philosophy behind Ayurveda and hints at its connection to yoga. This one's also a quick go-to reference for Ayurvedic solutions to common issues (allergies, insomnia, colds and flu, etc.).
Perfect Health by Deepak Chopra – I love the way Deepak Chopra talks about Ayurveda (or anything really). He is a story-teller of epic proportions and he dispenses with the jargon and cuts right to the heart of things. This book is a classic that covers all the basics and then some. It even touches on things like music, sound and marma (pressure point) therapies which most books don't really get into.
Absolute Beauty by Pratima Raichur – Even thinking about this book makes me feel good! The writing is poetic and practical, its content beautifully invaluable. The focus is on skin and body care, feeling, looking, and being beautiful from the inside out. It also includes recipes for homemade Ayurvedic skin care treatments and remedies for specific skin issues (acne to wrinkles) – this is good stuff!
Eat, Taste, Heal by Thomas Yarema, Daniel Rhoda, and Johnny Brannigan – Speaking of good stuff, this cookbook-cum-Ayurvedic primer has become a standard must-have book on Ayurvedic eating. More than just a collection of recipes, the first section of the book is a pretty comprehensive introduction to Ayurveda that could hold its own against any of the other books in this list. It gives you a straightforward footing in the fundamentals before tantalizing your taste buds with fantastic recipes and yummy pictures, and includes substitutions to make each dish suitable for your dosha.
Food As Medicine by Todd Caldecott – The focus of this book is, as the title suggests, food. It keeps details of Ayurvedic principles to a minimum and provides an in-depth look at the therapeutic application of food and diets (including Paleo, Raw food and Ayurvedic). It's a “soup to nuts” look at medicinal cooking that highlights the food itself, cooking methods, tools and best practices. There are sections on detoxification, food, and herb-based remedies for common ailments. There are also recipes and profiles on all types of foods including fats, grains, nuts, vegetables, herbs, meats and more.
tHey Monica B – The lovely Monica Bloom has been educating us on Ayurveda since 2008. Her blog introduces us to the principles of Ayurveda in the most beautiful and endearing way. She has all the compassion, practicality and humor of your best friend, mother and therapist rolled into one. On top of all of that, she uses gorgeous graphics to teach and dazzle us into loving Ayurveda as much as she does.
The Joyful Belly - A destination site for recipes and information on eating Ayurvedic. A feature of the site is a recipe and remedy finder that supports searches by symptoms, ailments, ingredients, dosha, seasons, and even qualities of the ingredients (i.e. hot, cold, heavy, light, etc.). There's a lot of info on this site (a lot of it for sale) but if you're looking for a treasure trove of Ayurvedic goodness and wisdom, Joyful Belly fits the bill.
Lifespa – Dr. John Doulliard is an Ayurvedic practitioner and director of LifeSpa Ayurvedic retreat in Colorado. He mixes his knowledge and expertise of Ayurveda, sports physiology, and various healing modalities to provide a unique and compelling voice on the subject of natural health and wellness. His Lifespa website is chock full of uber-informative articles and videos on all manner of issues from allergies to weight loss.
Oh there were SO many books and beloved teachers, authors, and websites that I left off this list! The fact that I've only got one cookbook listed feels almost criminal. But these resources are just a start. They present a terrific variety of information in an easily digestible way that, unlike M&Ms, will fill you with insights and inspiration and motivate you to get happy, healthy, connected AND keep you coming back for more!
Got a favorite book or Ayurvedic resource that I missed? Tell us about it in the comments below!