In Ayurveda, the view is that everything in the world of form (on this planet, in this universe) is considered medicine – in the proper context, dosage, and for the right person. In the same token, that very same everything can be poison, if given at the wrong time, to the wrong person, in an inappropriate dosage. Everything that exists has two sides, much like a coin. Regardless of which side you are looking at, it is still the same coin.
I often get asked by students “Is <insert anything here – food, pose, relationship> good or bad for me?” – And the answer is yes… Anything can be good or bad – it depends on the context and the result you are looking for.
Here’s a great example – Is wheat good or bad?
The answer is, it depends.
Wheat is both medicine and poison at the exact same time! For the person who is nourished and strengthened by the substance, it is medicine. For the person who is depleted and weakened by the substance, it is poison.
This holds true for everything – from food, to Yoga (poses, breathwork, meditation techniques), to the company we keep, to the work we do, and the places we spend time in.
So, from the Ayurvedic view we don’t consider anything inherently good or bad. While we were studying this at Ayurveda school there were a bunch of articles about boosting immunity by increasing certain types of gut bacteria through fecal matter transplants – that’s right, poop transplants. Modern science has once again found a way to support the ancient Ayurvedic teachings by using feces as medicine J
All to say, as you move through your week I invite you to begin noticing your choices and how you feel after you make them – nourished and strengthened, or depleted and weakened? Begin to notice what in your life acts as medicine, and what acts as poison. You can do this with your yoga practices, your food, the activities you choose, and even the company you keep. The only person who can determine whether something is medicine or poison for you is YOU.
Discovering what is medicine and what is poison is a process that each of us must work through. It is all part of getting to know ourselves better. I hope you enjoy this inquiry – it is a very powerful one!
Mona teaches Ayurvedic Yoga at the Janati Yoga School in Kingston Ontario, where she lives with her wonderful husband, their enthusiastic dog, and ninja kitten. When she’s not teaching, practicing or talking about yoga, you might find her enjoying a good meal, kayaking, climbing a mountain in Ireland, or zip-lining over a forest in Costa Rica, Roatan, or Whistler BC.