The key to true mind-body balance? Understanding your body’s natural needs—how to heal, eat, cook, and cleanse—through each season. In our upcoming online course Ayurveda 101, Larissa Carlson, former dean of Kripalu's School of Ayurveda, and John Douillard, founder of LifeSpa and best-selling author, demystify yoga's elemental sister science. Sign up now—winter session begins Dec. 5th!
To introduce this user-friendly, seasonal, and sustainable yearlong program (launching in just a month!), we asked course co-leader Larissa Carlson, former dean of Kripalu's School of Ayurveda, for 6 reasons why you need to take this life-changing course.
1. It's a yearlong program (that lasts a lifetime).
This yearlong program is broken up into three four-week courses based on the three doshas: vata for fall/winter, kapha for spring, and pitta for summer. For each course, there is dosha-balancing asana and breathwork for that season, plus a balancing meditation. "Our intention is to offer Ayurvedic diet, yoga, and lifestyle practices over the year that can support participants over their lifetime of maintaining health and preventing disease," Carlson says.
2. It's seasonal.
Ayurveda 101 not only teaches you how to eat in harmony with each season, it also offers very specific yoga for each season. "Each four-week course is specifically designed to balance the energies of the season to support your physical and mental health," Carlson explains. "We all go through the seasonal changes. The yearlong course is ideal for everybody, because it’s about living in harmony with the season no matter what your individual constitution (or dosha) is."
3. It helps you build a home yoga practice.
This course supports participants in building a regular Ayurveda-informed home yoga practice designed to balance the doshas, Carlson says. "The yoga, which is very specifically designed to balance the dosha of each season, is also intended to enhance focus, concentration, flexibility, strength, good muscle tone, bone strength, and body awareness; reduce tension and stress; and build a sense of steadiness and groundedness," she explains. Each season, you also get fun, creative, Sun Salutation variations tweaked to meet the needs of the dosha of that season, she adds.
4. It offers daily self-care tips for each season.
"Each season, we will offer recommendations for how to tweak your self-care routine to prevent disease and maintain health," Carlson says. "For example, I will guide participants through the practice of self-massage, or abhyanga, using different oils for each season, as well as other very sustainable practices that you can easily weave into your normal self-care routine. Little things that take a couple of minutes every day but have a big effect, like using a neti pot, tongue scraping, oil pulling, dry brushing, and drinking warm water first thing in the morning."
5. It's simple and sustainable.
Unlike other quick-fix diet and exercise programs, Ayurveda is slow and sustainable (yet you will see some results immediately). "This is really big, because we know there all sorts of diet and exercise trends, and they often require dropping something cold turkey, or making drastic changes," Carlson says. "Sometimes that can be OK, but often, those quick-fix drastic changes are both unsustainable and shocking to the nervous system."
6. It reduces suffering.
Struggling with mental or physical discomforts? Ayurveda has used yoga therapeutically to balance the doshas for thousands of years, Carlson says. "Dr. Douillard and I know from personal experience and from what we've seen with thousands of students, clients, and colleagues over the years that these very simple practices can support you in reducing day-to-day suffering," she says.