Ayurveda to Appease Asthma: Introduction

When I initially started the Axis Yoga Teacher Training program I had very little knowledge of the world of yoga outside of the asana practice. Certainly I knew that there were other components that made up the practice of yoga, but I did not understand that all of these parts must be practiced in order to have a whole and well rounded experience. Of course some teachings resonated with me more so than others. No where did this hold more true than in the study of Ayurveda. My interest in Ayurveda was two fold. First I have always had a relatively unhealthy relationship with food. I think that this is partially related to my general lack of self control as well as the fact that I was brought up in a very Italian household where it is taught that food can ease or enhance any emotion. However, my second reason was the one that drove me to further explore the benefits of Ayurveda, my asthma.

Since childhood I have had asthma. Initially the doctors diagnosed it as exercise induced asthma. Very early on though I realized that this was a mis-diagnosis because it often times seemed that the more in shape I was the less my asthma bothered me. From the time I was diagnosed until now, I have never felt comfortable leaving the house without my medication in fear of having an attack. There have been times that I recall being a half an hour from home realizing that I do not have my medication and turning around to get it. Not only is this scary on many levels it also makes me feel a like I have a certain amount of dependence. When I learned that Ayurveda could very effectively lessen the symptoms of asthma I was hooked. I generally eat quite healthy, but I certainly have never consumed food, slept or lived a life that was specific to my dosha. I decided to embark on a two week experiment, and track my inhaler usage respectively. During the first week I would follow the pitta guidelines and live a dosha specific life. During the second week I would live a completely chaotic and uncontrolled life.  For purposes of this experiment I am defining ‘asthmatic episodes,’ as any time I feel enough constriction in my breathing that I am forced to use my inhaler.