Ayurveda's spiritual science makes inroads among foodies and healers

August 17, 2022

Over the course of two centuries, ayurveda — the ancient philosophy of the Indian subcontinent — has spread West, informing ideas about healthy lifestyles with holistic skin care, diet and exercise. The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have propelled ayurveda further into the mainstream, as housebound yogis, chefs and spa owners — believers, if not Hindus — percolated new techniques and businesses based on the practices developed since it began more than 3,000 years ago.

New York City has become a hub of the ayurveda trend, where the creative forces behind new ayurvedic restaurants, spas, health clinics and yoga studios are collaborating, working out how to apply the philosophy to their disciplines authentically, to avoid turning the trend into a simple marketing gimmick.

Ayurveda can be traced back to the Hindu scripture known as the Four Vedas and translates literally as “knowledge of life” (or, more precisely, “systematic knowledge of the life span”). As a health regimen, it offers herbal remedies for internal ailments, based on the idea that the mind, body and soul are connected to the elements and that health problems arise when these elements are out of balance. It emphasizes the body’s material composition, or prakriti, and its energies, or doshas.

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