Ten: Ayurvedic Portraits
With Ten: Ayurvedic Portraits, I have tried to recreate my experience in Ayurveda through stories which describe ten different fates. The characters correspond to each of ten Ayurvedic psycho-physiological types based on the three Doshas. The dosha within us constantly become imbalanced due to external changes and can lead to suffering through emotional or physical discomfort. Each portrait is divided into three parts to clearly illustrate the principle of the three states of mind (guna): inertia and darkness (tamas guna), passion and change (rajas guna) and happiness and harmony (sattva guna).
I wanted to write about wisdom and about life; in the way that it is and the way we dream about it. I personally found this wisdom in Ayurveda. It is a philosophy which showed me the paths, explained what each path brings us and where it can take us. However, only we can choose which path to take. This is why I chose to write a book about the choices which are always available to us.
How I came to love and respect Ayurveda
On 4 January 2012, in Sofia, Bulgaria, my husband Bisser introduced me to his cousin in a coffee shop. His cousin’s name is Yuriy Kovachev the same Yuriy Kovachev who was to become the reviewer of my book ‘Ten’ and this was the day that I discovered Ayurveda. Yuriy is a jeweller, Ayurvedic cuisine teacher and a lecturer on Vedic philosophy. He introduced me to Ayurveda that day because I did not stop questioning him. That evening I sat down at the computer and read everything I could find on Ayurveda. I went on to ask Yuriy about various health issues and he directed me to Dr. Antoineta Zarkova, the only Ayurvedic doctor with an Ayurvedic clinic in Bulgaria. I called her and booked a consultation. I wanted to know more. She impressed me and I signed up for a full one-month healing treatment called Pancha Karma or “The Five Actions” which is a complex healing procedure (you can find more about this in my book Ten) that can only be carried out under doctoral supervision. I lost some extra weight, I felt rejuvenated and fell in love with Ayurveda. When I found out that the doctor offered a three year training course on “Foundation of Ayurveda”, I signed up and I graduated after two years as the third year is only for medical doctors.
Ayurvedic cookery: An essential part of Ayurvedic Pharmacy
Throughout my book Ayurvedic recipes are woven into the story to show which recipes are called for depending on the character’s dosha type and Guna state. It was during my time studying Ayurveda that I also attended a culinary course with Yuriy Kovachev where I learned more about the six tastes and how the balance in food leads to health; the various spices and their benefits: the use of ginger (heals muscle pain, migraine, arthritis, Asthma, blood pressure, high cholesterol, digestive system disorders, cancers, colds, cramps, overweight, infectious diseases, cold limbs), black pepper (improves digestion), turmeric (a natural antibiotic that improves digestion and strengthens intestinal flora), cinnamon, cardamom (neutralizes caffeine from coffee, removes mucus from milk), saffron, fennel, cumin, carnation, chicory, coriander, anise, etc. I learned a great deal about different foods and how they affect our body, emotions and mind. As Dr. Vasant Lad says ‘An essential part of ayurvedic pharmacy is Ayurvedic cookery. Adding appropriate spices changes the properties of food, and they can turn “forbidden” food that could disturb the souls’ equilibrium to a fully-acceptable dish. Using such knowledge, one can take steps to mitigate the negative actions of a cause. The body’s reaction will be different and the specific causal factor will have no harmful effect on it.’
The Core Elements
Ayurveda gives me so much: it makes me happy and healthy and it also helps me to see myself, others and everything around me with different eyes. She is an ancient medical-physical curative science, the mother of all healing sciences. Ayurveda has eight sections – internal diseases; ENT; surgery; toxicology; psychiatry; paediatrics; rejuvenation; increasing potency (sterility). They are taught in Ayurvedic clinics after the student has received a basic medical education (Western type). I am not a doctor and I therefore could not study any of these eight sections of Ayurvedic medicine. What I have studied is related to prevention, basic principles of treatment, lifestyle, food use, herbs, exercise, massages and specific Ayurvedic healing procedures, the use of music, crystals, aromas, colors, mantras as therapies. According to Ayurveda, the body consists of three organic bio energies (DOSHI), seven tissues of different depth (DHATU), fourteen channels, and for women 16 (SROTA) and fourteen large tubes (NADI). Different channels (physical or fine) manage the health of individual organs. The body is a whole, and all these parts act in synergy with one another. Adolescents provide a network of paths on which the prana or vital energy moves. Through the network of nodes, vital energy spreads throughout the body and they are the system from which the treatment begins.
Dr Antoaneta Zarkova, Author: The colourful scene of feria of meditation, Sofia
Shirley Suek, editor, London, 2017
Yuriy Kovachev, Ayurvedic lecturer, Sofia
-Dr Vasant Lad