After living for a year in one of the Blue Zones in the world, I started to think about how their way of living and Ayurvedic principles for longevity go hand in hand. I spent a fair amount of time in Nicoya and noticed how their value systems were robust around family life, purpose, and living simple was true happiness. Ayurveda principles for longevity follow the same principles. Ayurveda has brought the concept of longevity through attaining self-realization and lifelong health.
The issue with the United States and why we have such a high chronic disease state is due to our modern healthcare system’s vicious cycle. Working within healthcare for over 18 years while being chronically sick for nearly half of my young years, the stress of the health system didn’t help my healing. I was waiting for test results, having physicians not truly listen to what was wrong, misdiagnosing every visit, increased anxiety, and thoughts of hopelessness. Even the bill I would receive, I felt ripped off. I was being treated as a material object in a factory line. Continuous short visits with zero answers or (light at the end of the tunnel) became the norm for my years of trying to find the answers. So I went the opposite direction, into holistic healing, applying Eastern medicine and holistic approaches for the next 15 years. In Western, I would only hear, “You need a drug to fix it or try.” Nothing else. So, I obtained my Master’s in healthcare to understand the whole system and where the US has gone wrong, as I knew it was more profound than just the physician-to-patient experience. Professionally and personally drove me to where I am today in Ayurvedic Medicine. Nearly 50% of Americans live with at least one chronic condition. Why does it have to be this way, I thought?
When Ayurveda showed up in my life, I was already diagnosed with over six chronic diseases, primarily autoimmune, and had to leave my job in healthcare. The system was feeding the same vicious cycle for me, including a stressful living and work environment. The Western medicine system became a chronic cycle of stress trying to find answers. I enjoyed working in it for 18 years but didn’t understand why it had to be so difficult for patients, including myself. There are moments in the West where a diagnosis helped me find the answers and solutions I needed for my next step. However, how our healthcare provides care, including its operations, is why we are not close to being the healthiest country. Americans exceed the global average of stress by 20%.
One of the Blue zones in Costa Rica has one of the most extended life spans in the world. I noticed how everyone was happy. Of course, living in a gorgeous tropical animal-filled country would make anyone happy. Fortunately, it is more than that. Their culture is the same as Ayurveda living; they live purposefully. They focus on medicinal foods they have right in their backyard. Avoid highly processed choices, and opt for nutritionally dense foods. Family life is meaningful, and working hard for their family in the morning is also essential. However, it is balanced with play time and rest in the afternoons. The Pure Vida life is having a carefree attitude and enjoying time in nature with friends. It means to live life fully. They cherish simple pleasures and spending time with loved ones while enjoying a relaxed pace of life. Building a greater sense of connection to self with a higher purpose is a way of life they lead. Their way of living in a “plan de vida” sense of purpose is the same as living Ayurvedically. More and more people today have the means to live; however, they have less and less meaning added to their lives. Life is short, so we will see a massive shift when we can bring back the reason we are all here together on this planet.
Dharma in Ayurveda, living your purpose is a fundamental principle. Dharma represents service, to fulfill our duty, and to follow the laws of nature to follow our unique purpose.
Before I left corporate, I second-guessed myself a lot. However, my intuition was my guide. Too many signs pointed me in the direction I needed to take. It started by understanding how everything is linked in mind, body, and spirit. My body was breaking down, and I wasn’t following the path I was meant to be on. Or was I? Sometimes it takes pain to see the purpose in the journey. Paying attention to the signs and what the body is telling you leads you to where you are supposed to be in every area of your life. This changes your life direction in new, rewarding, and remarkable ways.
In healthcare in the US, physicians are paid for fixing the sick instead of preventing the sickness. In my studies and learning from other countries, we will see a drastic shift in chronic disease this is changed. Ayurveda focuses on prevention and maintenance of health. This is key to living a long and healthy life. In Costa Rica, the focus is on nutritional programs for children and bringing healthcare workers to the people regularly instead of the US system, where you may have to wait months even to see a doctor. Cultures are built for living a healthy way of life. Not creating more sickness, so the vicious cycle of needing a doctor is a routine.
Common themes that I came across living a long healthy life, both in the Blue zone and Ayurveda, include:
- Routine: having a routine that drives purpose. What do you do when you wake up in the morning? What are your daily rituals? We need to move our bodies; we can’t live a constant, repetitive life of sitting, scrolling, or always driving. Going outside to enjoy nature is vital.
- Happiness: Having a positive outlook on life and internal faith. This helped me throughout my sickness as I believe that I was here for a purpose
- Community: Who is in your circle, and do you have a sound support system
- Eating mindfully and choosing wisely. In Ayurveda, we are all unique and what we need. However, a common theme on choosing whole grains, plant-based leafy greens, soaked nuts, and nutritionally dense foods is essential to longevity
- Connection: Being thankful for those close to us. Celebrating our family and staying close to them is Key.
- Nature’s Medicine: Using herbs and medicinal compounds daily and using these to heal, instead of lab-based poison, is another step to reclaim health.
The Data is there; Ayurveda has it from over 5,000 years ago. The Blue Zones have also shown us how to live a healthy, long life with purpose.
– Amani Mind
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