Ayurveda is the sister of yoga and a healing science that can be traced back 5000 years to the Indus Valley Civilization. It is a complete mind, body, and spirit approach to health, which is practiced all over the world.
My knowledge of Ayurveda began as a teenager when I would accompany my mother to her Ayurvedic doctor. I felt like those one-hour visits lasted forever. The doctor would ask her lots of questions and usually send her home with herbs and recommendations for her daily routine.
Because of that experience, during my early twenties, I went as far as finding out what my dosha was and reading a couple of books about Ayurveda; that was as far as I went with it.
Around the time I began studying to become a childbirth educator, and welcomed my first baby, one of the things my birth doula encouraged was the practice of Kayakalpa; also referred to as the sacred window or body time.
Kayakalpa is an Ayurvedic practice observed for the 42 days after the birth of a baby. It is a time of bonding, with rituals for mothering the mother, caring for the new baby, and healing the body, mind, and spirit after birth.
Kim van der Veer is a yoga teacher, Ayurvedic practitioner student, and mother based in Amsterdam. I discovered her through my friend Erica Jago and was impressed by her passion for Ayurveda.
On her Instagram, Kim regularly shares simple and easy to follow tips for incorporating Ayurveda into ones daily life. More impressively, she even talks about Ayurveda for children and has a Dosha test for kids on her website.
Here, Kim shares her wisdom about Ayurveda for mothers, babies, and children.
How does Ayurveda support mothers and babies during pregnancy and postpartum recovery?
We all know that we have to take care of ourselves during our pregnancy. Not only to stay healthy ourselves, but also because we need to set the right conditions for our baby to grow inside us. In Ayurveda there is this saying that a pregnant woman should be carried as if she is a bath filled to the edge with golden oil and no drop should be spilled. Hence, a huge emphasis is put on relaxation and good nutrition of the mother during pregnancy. Ayurveda even gives suggestions on what to eat in a particular month to support the growth of the baby.
But what is even more important, and this part seems to be lost in the west – is taking good care of yourself in the 42 days after. It is in this period that you can grant yourself a good recovery which is the basis of good health in the 42 years after according to Ayurveda. In this period it’s all about balancing Vata Dosha. Because Vata Dosha – which is the manager of Ether and Air – has gone sky high after giving birth. This sounds very logical if you think that there is such an empty cold space left in the centre of your body where once your baby was comfortably laying. This may even feel as if you are leaving all the doors and windows of the house wide open in order for those drying and physically and mentally disturbing (Vata Dosha) winds to come in. Eating warm nourishing and grounding foods and covering yourself in warm oil everyday are key for an effective and good recovery.