Dr. Mathew How is Ayurveda relevant in this current era?

In Ayurveda, health is defined as the state where the physical body, senses, and psyche are in equilibrium. Even though genetic makeup is an important aspect of one’s physical and functional attributes, it fails to explain or help us manage many chronic lifestyle issues. It is currently understood that the expression of genes largely depends on environmental factors. Consistent with this belief, Ayurveda emphasizes the role of environmental factors, daily routine, seasonal changes, lifestyle, diet, regular exercise, and Herbs in maintaining balance and health. It also emphasizes that all factors related to body and mind must be in balance to avoid illness and consider a person is in good health, not just a few. So, if all your test reports are fine and still you don’t feel in yourself well and balanced, it’s not proper health!

 

What inspired you to the practice of Ayurveda and how did you discover it?

I was born and brought up in a family with traditional Ayurvedic roots in a place called Alleppey in Kerala, South India. My grandfather's younger brother was a traditional Ayurvedic eye doctor, known as “salakya tantra” in the Sanskrit language in Kerala. He tried to teach someone interested in the next generation, but unfortunately, none were. So, no one was actively practicing Ayurveda for a while in our family. After finishing school, when I had the opportunity to decide what to study further, I chose to be an instrumentation engineer! Long story short, three months into learning complex mathematics and welding kinds of stuff, I got a letter from the university entrance commission in Kerala, saying that since I had studied the Sanskrit language in school (which is an advantage if you decide to learn Ayurveda), I could switch my course to Ayurveda if I wished to. So, in 2003, I joined the Bachelor of Ayurvedic medicine and surgery course, at the University of Calicut in Kerala which is where my 16 year-long journeys with Ayurveda started.

What is the typical day in the life of an Ayurvedic doctor?

Ayurveda is a lifestyle and most of the recommendations an Ayurvedic doctor makes are for supporting the body to heal better and faster naturally. I follow a dosha or body-type based routine that helps me in healing and supporting my body better. I start my day early by about 04.30 am with a glass of warm ginger water followed by 30 minutes of simple yogic stretches. After routine ablutions and a healthy breakfast, the workday starts. I start my practice in Brighton morning at 8 am. But nowadays working from home has given me more opportunity to do daily pranayama breathing practices along with the morning yoga. After appointments, I’ll dedicate some time for replying to emails and correspondences, writing articles and contents on Ayurveda, etc. Usually, I take a walk for again 30-40 minutes to pick my son from his nursery, mid-day after lunch as the day is mostly spent sitting and talking to patients. There would be also regular training sessions and talks I conduct for colleagues and customers. Evening time is dedicated to family and my 3year old son. We play some football or just run around in the garden or nearby park before the evening meal. After he is put to bed It’s time for me to do some gentle reading before hitting the bed myself at around 09.30-10 pm.

How do you apply Ayurveda in your life?

Describe one thing you find fulfilling about working in the field of Ayurveda.

What are the most important lessons you learned from this career?

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