Lessons in Ayurveda From The Pro – Dr. Jay Apte

DSC00331I’ve always been fascinated with Ayurveda and in my quest to learn more I went to see none other then the foremost expert here in the bay area and across the nation on thesubject.  Dr. Jay Apte.  Dr. Jay is a trained practitioner of Ayurvedic remedies and treatment.  Having been practicing now for nearly four decades she knows a thing or two about all natural remedies, treatment, and optimizing your health.  I’ve been following her work for many years so our meeting was long over due.  We met up at her wellness center in the south bay.  And what an insightful pleasure it was.SB: “Dr. Jay what is your background? How did you get started?”DRJ: “I graduated in 1973 so that was more than 40 years ago. Coming to the US 35 years ago. Nobody knew what I was talking about.  I did my masters in pharmacology and my goal was to do some research in ayurvedic herbs.  My degree is integrated in both conventional and ayurvedic medicine. We learned both of the sciences together so we have a clear idea of how western medicine looks at the disease and health and how the ayurvedic approach looks at health and disease. And that totally changed the perspective. And my guru was my grandmother. She lived for 96 years. She wasn’t an ayurvedic doctor she was more than an ayurvedic doctor because she followed ayurved from A to Z.When she was at her last days the doctor said I want to keep her blood and samples to study. There was no diabetes, no hypertension, no cholesterol, no cancer. Nothing.  It’s just old age. And she died very peacefully at home with all of her family members around her. …………….She always gave us home remedies. If you have allergies take this honey and sediment tea. If you have digestive issues take this pinch of jawan.  I went to Ayurvedic school and realized what she was giving us was all of the ayurvedic remedies………. I really get so fascinated and passionate about ayurvedic philosophies because it is all natural. It’s a part of the whole nature.Ayurveda is more about prevention, preventing the disease, bringing balance into the body and I don’t know any other healing science which focuses so much on preservingour health and preventing disease. And we always say that there is no instruction manual on how we should live.  Ayurved is really that instruction manual. How to live. How to follow a daily routine. How you can change according to the seasons and you always create balance in the body. Conventional medicine is one size fits all. You take this medicine and everybody will start feeling better. And that is never the case. Ayurved considers each individual is unique. And then we categorize people into different body constitutions.Like there mind and body type. And then we create balance in the individual. For example if you say Dr. Apte I want to stay healthy.  What can I do? I eat fairly healthy. You eating fairly healthy and you eating according to your body constitution are two totally different things. …….Ayurvedically we emphasize so much on lifestyle and diet which is ignored in our conventional way. We say your diet and food has nothing to do with your health. You have to take medicine.  This is ayurvedically not right because ayurvedically wrong eating becomes a cause of the disease.”SB: “Dr. J for someone who has no idea what Ayurved means, what is a simple way of understanding it?”DRJ: “Simple understanding is just the name – Ayur means life and veda is wisdom so this is the wisdom of all healthy living. Very simple.”SB: “And it’s all natural?”DRJ: “All natural. When we talk about different seasons what are the main pre natural energies that take care of all the seasons?  The sun, the moon and the wind. When you watch the weather channel what do they talk about? What is the temperature? What is the windchill? What is the humidity? So humidity is linked to the water element. That’s like the moon energy. The heat is releated tothe sun. And wind factor is related to the wind. So those three nature’s energies work in our body also because we are related to nature. That’s why it’s called mother nature. And that’s what auyerved is based on. These three energies. The sun, the moon and the wind. Sun energy we call Pitta dosha. Moon energy is called Kapha dosha. Wind energy we call as Vata dosha. So these are the three natural energies and that is the foundation of ayurved.”SB:  “Now as far as different ailments go would you say with ayurved you can treat anxiety, depression, insomnia, memory etc?”DRJ: “We can treat anything because these three energies, the sun, moon and wind are the basis for everything. Even during the day time it’s a little moist. There is more moisture in the air. In the afternoon it gets very hot. In the late afternoon it gets windy, chilly. So all three of these energies are a part of our every moment of life, everyday, our whole life cycle.For example you mentioned anxiety. So when the Vata dosha increases in the body a person is very anxious. When Pitta dosha aggrevates in the body there is more heartburn, acid reflux, skin issues, irritability, high blood pressure, tension headaches. So instead of just focusing on the disease we go back to the root, back to the foundation and say which dosha is out of balance and we treat that dosha. And when that dosha is treated everything starts falling back into place.What is the person eating? What is their lifestyle? And if we look at it overall these people are eating very heavy foods, ice cream, sweet foods, candy, donuts, sweet cereals, loaded with sugar.  And they are leading lifestyles which are very sedentary.Millions of people get allergies. Ayurvedically it’s related to Kapha dosha. So we take all these diseases and we funnel it down to which dosha is aggravated. Funny thing is people go out of balance in their own prominent dosha.So When you balance the diet and lifestyle all of the symptoms get resolved.”SB:  “Anything else you’d like to add?”DRJ:  “The biggest challenge is that we have so many food choices. We have so many fad diets, but still people have no clue what is good for them. And that causes a lot of problems because in my practice I see clients having all sorts of diseases, but the main thing is digestive issues. One thing is they don’t eat right foods. Second thing is they don’t eat at the right time. They start eating wrong foods late at night and all and the body doesn’t digest it right.  That produces lots of toxins in the body. And once your digestive system is screwed up you get so many other diseases. You might get arthritis. You might get depression You might get skin issues. You might get psoriasis because of that so the central for everything is to implement your digestive system.Another thing that is happening is people are making days of night and night of day. So what is the bed time everybody?  As early as midnight. People usually stay up until one, two or three in the morning  And at that time they’re supposed to wake up at five in the morning and they’re just barely sleeping.So I tell all my clients. Go to bed early nine or ten o’clock and get up early. To achieve the best results you need to do only a few things. You get up early at five or sixo’clock.  Go to bed by ten o’clock.  Eat a light breakfast in the morning around seven and eight. You should eat lunch between twelve and one not two or three o’clock. And you should eat your dinner around six or seven o’clock not nine or ten  o’clock at night.  If you do that and exercise for one hour and meditate for ten minutes you will be amazed by how great your health is. Those are simple things, but people do not follow them.  People are doing things at the wrong times. So most of the diseases we experience currently are because of lifestyle issues.  We do not follow the system.”For more on Dr. Jay’s practice click hereDSC00337 https://soundcloud.com/user-537223309/drjayapte

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Sue Dhillon is an Indian American writer, journalist, and trainer.

One thought on “Lessons in Ayurveda From The Pro – Dr. Jay Apte

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