The Ayurvedic Approach to Weight Loss

The Ayurvedic approach to all symptoms and disorders including weight loss is to:

1) stop making the lifestyles mistakes that cause ill health and weight gain

2) rebalance the basic functions of the body (digestion, metabolism, circulation, elimination, tissue development, nervous system)

3) add rejuvenative regimens to daily life.

Ayurveda views the overweight condition as a result of improper lifestyle and root imbalances in the fundamental functions of the body. Having too many pounds is really a side -effect of poor lifestyle and imbalances in digestion, metabolism, elimination and nervous system balance. When lifestyle is healthy, and root imbalances in basic functions of the the body are removed, then weight normalization becomes one of many positive effects that occur over time. Ayurveda recommends putting attention on a lifestyle and diet that is healthy and balances the body and not on counting pounds.

Your Starting Point: determination of balance and imbalance 
Excessive weight gain is usually not caused by one factor or one imbalance but often is a complex multi-factorial condition. The Ayurvedic approach is comprehensive enough to address the major issues involved in weight loss. Ayurveda describes 6 major areas that need to be assessed and balanced for good health and weight normalization.
Following is a chart that lists the functions covered in each questionnaire and the Ayurvedic term that describes the principle of biological intelligence that controls that function.


Areas of Function Ayurvedic term for the principle of biological intelligence that controls this function Results of imbalance of this function that are involved in the overweight condition
Nervous system, Elimination, Respiration, Circulation 1.Vata Mental and emotional stress drives many poor eating habits and cravings
Digestion. Metabolism 2. Pitta slow digestion and poor metabolism lead to build up of fat and heaviness in the body
Overall Tissue development 3. Kapha Kapha becomes overactive and excessive tissue develops throughout the body often creating the accumulation of toxins and blockages in circulation
Level of toxins and blockage in the body 4. Ama excessive weight gain leads to the buildup of toxins and blockages (ama) that cause the more serious medcial side-effects of the overweight condition
Balance of specific tissues 5. Dhatus “meda”, the tissue that controls hormones, fat and carbohydrate metabolism is dhatu usually most involved in the overweight condition
Immunity 6. Ojas Blocking the channels of communication and circulation depresses the main systems the body uses to maintain balance and immunity. Poor immunity often results from the overweight condition creating many other health problems.

1. Evaluation of the three doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha 
Understanding the function of Vata, Pitta and Kapha is foundational to using all Ayurvedic knowledge. Vata, Pitta and Kapha are not material in nature but represent the main divisions of biological intelligence that control different areas of physiological function. The knowledge of Vata, Pitta and Kapha came from the cognitions of the Rishis of the ancient Vedic civilization. The Vedic Rishis formulated Ayurveda based on their personal experience of the deepest levels of natural law functioning within the human being and our environment.
In modern scientific terms we could say the Rishis had purified their mind and body to such an extent they became experientially sensitive to the finest quantum mechanical “fields” that create the matter of our world. The Rishis directly experienced and described the functioning of these most subtle and primary fields in nature. They named the three primordial fields at the basis of all natural phenomenon Vata, Pitta and Kapha and gave the group the name “doshas”.
Imbalance in any of the doshas can contribute to the overweight condition as seen in the chart below.


Effect of imblance on weight gain
Vata Disturbance of the nervous system activity of Vata creates emotional and mental drives to overeating.
Disturbance of the elimination activity of Vata prevents proper elimination of impurities and creates accumulation of toxins and heaviness.
Pitta Because Pitta controls digestion and metabolism a weak Pitta could cause slow digestion and low metabolism significantly contributing to weight gain.
Kapha Kapha controls tissue development and weight gain is most specifically a Kapha problem. High Kapha leads to excess fat accumulation and the overweight condition.

2. Evaluation of Ama 
Ama is the Ayurvedic term for the toxins, impurities and blockages in the physiology. As the body becomes more overweight it leads to accumulation of ama. There are two types of ama that need to be removed to have a chance for healthy weight loss.

1.unreactive ama: the accumulation of blockage and heaviness in various tissues of the body

2. reactive ama: ama that is high in free radical and oxidation effects. This is “toxic” ama that disrupts the integrity of the tissues it comes in contact with. It is the most dangerous type of ama. Over time unreactive ama gradually turns into reactive ama within the body. This type of ama contributes to many negative side-effects and symptoms of the overweight condition.
The table below shows how the location of ama formation leads to symptoms of disease


Area of ama formation
Resulting symptoms and disorders
blood vessels cardiovascular disease
digestive tract indigestion, malabsorption
lungs asthma
bowels constipation
brain headache, mental fatigue, memory loss
outer stomach Overweight (When the body has excess calories it turns them into fat and stores them mainly in the area over the stomach.)

Determination of the level of ama accumulation and its reversal are important first steps in an Ayurvedic weight loss program. As long as ama is present in high quantity the more subtle recommendations of Ayurveda such as herbs, spices, diet, aromas etc. are not as effective as they could be.

If you have been experiencing lack of success in weight loss programs and increasing symptoms this is most likely due to ama accumulation creating symptoms and blocking the effectiveness of your treatments.
After you determine the level of ama accumulation it is essential to determine where in the body the ama has localized. Determining the localization of ama is accomplished through an Ayurvedic assessment of the “dhatus” or tissues.

3. Evaluation of Dhatus 
Dhatus are the principles of biological intelligence that control the formation and maintenance of the 7 tissues that comprise the body. The 7 dhatus are
1. rasa (blood plasma)
2. rakta (red blood cells)
3. mamsa (muscle)
4. meda (fats and hormones)*This dhatu is most involved in the overweight condition
5. asthi (bone)
6. majja (nervous system)
7. shukra (reproductive essence of sperm and ova).

Ayurveda also describes how these tissues build up in a sequence starting with rasa and ending with shukra. This is important in Ayurvedic assessment because you may have weak asthi ( leading to symptoms of osteoporosis) but also a strong imbalance in meda. The Ayurvedic approach may have to focus significantly on balancing meda because it is the blockage in meda that is actually the main cause of the problem in asthi.
Weight gain starts to create blockage in each of the dhatus leading to symptoms specific to imbalance in that dhatu. It is especially important for weight loss to cleanse and balance the meda dhatu. However, if we eat, digest and eliminate poorly there will be so much ama in rasa, the blood plasma, that all the following dhatus including meda will eventually become blocked. Again, only a comprehensive approach can handle the many issues involved in creating weight loss.

4. Evaluation of Ojas 
Ojas is responsible for the immunity in the body and the strength of our healing response. Ojas is the factor that connects the gross material of the body (cells, tissues, organs) with the underlying biological intelligence that guides its orderly functioning.
Ojas provides the interface between matter and intelligence. This is crucial for health as from the Ayurvedic perspective disease on the material level is actually caused by imbalance or blockage of the aspects of biological intelligence that were supposed to maintain proper function in that part of the body. When ojas is strong then each part of the physiology is in clear contact with the intelligence responsible for its proper function and disease is averted.
Ama destroys ojas and ama increases as excessive weight gain occurs. It is therefore very important to use Ayurvedic lifestyle, diet, cleansing programs, spices and herbs to reduce ama and enhance ojas in people with an overweight condition.

Ayurvedic Weigh loss recommendations 

1) Diet and Food Preparation:
Diet is understood as they key to both prevention and treatment of disease in Ayurveda
a) instructions in the simple Ayurvedic system to determine what is a balanced diet
b) individualized guidelines regarding what foods and food groups to favor and reduce in a weight loss program for a person with your specific state of balance and imbalance.

2) Digestion, Elimination and Assimilation of Food
To achieve weight loss as important as what we eat is our ability to digest food, assimilate it properly and eliminate waste products. Natural recommendations to improve digestion, assimilation and elimination are given from the areas of herbs, spices, food preparation, asanas, aroma therapy and eating behavior.

3) Internal Cleansing 
Ayurvedic theory describes how the vast majority of diseases are created by the slow accumulation of toxins and impurities that localize in tissues and block channels of circulation. This process creates a high incidence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, fatigue, depression and fatigue in individuals with an overweight condition.
The good news is the body has a tremendous self-repair capacity that allows it to constantly purify itself of toxins and prevent circulation from becoming clogged. Many Ayurvedic recommendations can be given to help keep these natural internal cleansing processes strong and vibrant. Ayurvedic cleansing recommendations help prevent further build-up of impurities and aid in the removal of the blockages that have already accumulated.

4) Ayurvedic Herbs
Ayurvedic herbal compounds contain natural plant and mineral substances and can be considered nutritional supplements. All foods have the ability to balance some aspects of the body. Ayurvedic herbs are exceptionally powerful in this balancing effects. Of all the Ayurvedic recommendations herbs are the most effective for targeting specific imbalances in the physiology that are at the root of weight gain.
Ayurvedic herbs are not picked on the basis of the symptom that a person has. They are not picked for the treatment of disease. Herbs are not prescription drugs. If ten people walk into an Ayurvedic physician’s office with an overweight condition they may receive 10 different herbal recommendations because the root imbalance at the basis of the condition is different in each case.
There are two types of Ayurvedic herbal recommendations,

1. herbs for imbalance to strengthen the expression of biological intelligence in specific areas of the body where a disorder may exist. These herbal recommendations are individualized for each person and recommended for 4-6 months at a time after which the condition is re-evaluated to see if the herbal use should continue.

2. “rasyanas” or herbs that have overall balancing and rejuvenating effects on the physiology. Rasayanas are used on an ongoing basis for general prevention and longevity.
Those herbal recommendations are usually combinations of several herbs to promote synergistic effects and create a balanced preparation. The practice of using only one herb that is becoming popular in America today is shunned by the experienced herbalists of virtually every traditional herbal system in the world including Ayurveda.

The common known healthy foods in Ayurveda for weight loss are:
Morning Tea:
Add the seeds below in water (4 to 5 cups of water) and let it boil for about 5 minutes with the lid on.

  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds

Drain out the seeds and pour the liquid in your container and drink warm small sip throughout the day.
Green tea is also a good solution to start losing weight

5) Lifestyle and Behavior
Health is won or lost in how we live day to day life. Improper eating habits, poor sleeping patterns, lack of proper exercise and lifestyle that disrupts natural bodily cycles, all increase imbalance, lower immunity and create the majority of diseases.
6) Stress Management and the Development of Consciousness
Stress is a major factor that drives unhealthy eating habits in many people with the overweight condition. Wise living can reduce stress to some degree but the challenges of life can never be completely removed.
1. Developing and maintaining a strong and balanced mind through mind/body medicine techniques. The TM technique has more scientific research verifying its positive effect on mind, body and behavior than any mental program yet studied by science.
2. Maintaining a regular and balanced daily routine
3. Proper diet including specific herbal supplements to balance and strengthen the brain, mind and emotions
7) Exercise and Yoga
Practice of yoga asanas learned from a qualified teacher is excellent for increasing flexibility and reducing imbalance in the overweight condition.
8) Rejuvenation Ayurvedic practices for rejuvenation including ayurvedic herbalized massage, yoga asanas postures, pranayama breathing techniques, exercise routines, use of Vedic sound therapy and specific Ayurvedic herbal preparations.
9) Spice Waters & Spices for CookingSpices are highly important in an Ayurvedic weight loss program because of the profound effects they have on
a) digesting food,
b) building up all the tissues properly and
c) helping the body cleanse itself and eliminate impurities.
By adding the appropriate spices to hot water and drinking the water throughout the day it is possible to target and remove specific imbalances in the doshas and the dhatus. Spice waters are very simple yet powerful recommendations because the hot water permeates the tissues bringing with it the specific balancing effect of the spice.
10) Aroma recommendationsThe body can be balanced through any of the senses. For example massage uses the sense of touch, food the sense of taste, music the sense of sound and aromas balance through the sense of smell.
11) Vedic SoundQuantum physics of modern science explains how all objects and processes in creation are vibratory patterns of deeper, universal fields. The Vedic Rishis experienced these primordial vibrations and the effect they can have on the physiology. As a result the Maharishi Ayurveda trained physicians today can recommend listening to the recitation of specific aspects of Veda and Vedic literature to help balance the physiology.

In conclusion,
 Ayurveda Weight Loss educates about the most comprehensive set of natural medicine recommendations available today for the prevention of disease and reversal of imbalance.

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Please note: This article is educational in nature and not for the diagnosis or treatment of disease. Please continue to follow the advice of your modern medical doctor for any condition you have or modern medical diagnostic examination you might need.