I will preface this book review by saying that I am nowhere near an expert on Ayurveda, an ancient Indian holistic healing modality that considers a person’s basic (dosha) constitution based on vatha (air), pitta (fire) and kapha (water). In fact, I consider myself a newbie in this healing realm.
So when I was asked if I wanted to do a book review on an upcoming Ayurveda book by Kim Inglis, I took it as an opportunity to learn more about this holistic therapeutic approach as added knowledge beside my learnings about Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The book is beautifully laid out in easy-to-read style with generous illustrated photos of each Ayurvedic treatment in every chapter. The book is divided into 3 major categories after an introductory chapter: Wellness, Beauty and Balance.
Wellness – The chapters focus on different Indian healing modalities that target both external senses as well as internal health benefits
Beauty – These chapters are devoted to caring for the body (hands, feet, hair) as well as body wraps and scrubs and healing with gem stones, crystals, metals and minerals.
Balance – Here, the chapters are devoted to yoga, pranayama, meditation and chakra therapy. Interestingly, the chapter on Amulya Uphar (Lazy Man’s Yoga) depicts positions that are very much like assisted yin yoga in some ways and Thai massage in others.
The Ayurveda book ends with an interesting chapter series covering Nattu Vaidya (the barefoot doctors of India), an introduction to India’s healing plants, and a brief introduction to how Ayurvedic preparations are done.
Coming from a very sparse understanding of Ayurveda, this book for me is one that is comprehensive but done in a simple, non-intimidating fashion for newbies. I have to hand it to Kim Inglis, a British writer and editor based in Singapore, to write in a style that is both informative and interesting. Her choice of words easily help conjure up just how relaxing, healthful and pleasant to the senses each treatment is. Each chapter carefully includes a brief history, comprehensive description of what the client should expect, its medicinal and beautifying benefits and lots and lots of photos beautifully and artistically framed by world-renowned photographer Luca Invernizzi Tettoni.
Many of the chapters are devoted to Ayurvedic treatments that have not yet found their way to foreign shores and will most likely stay in India. These require special herbs native to India or special wooden, intricately carved beds that are often works of art themselves because of their inlaid copper or tin inserts. Examples of these are:
Some of the treatments are familiar as they resemble spa treatments offered by Thai-themed spas. I am guessing that sometime in history, Indian ayurvedic practitioners traveled to other countries like Thailand, and vice versa, and healing knowledge and techniques exchanged hands.
The Ayurveda book makes one appreciate massage, essential oils, herbs, aromatherapy, body scrubs and other healing therapies beyond just the spa experience. It makes the reader understand, on a deeper level, the connection between these therapies and what can go on inside the body, the unseen part. After all, the skin is an organ and the largest organ too. And anything done to it or applied to it is absorbed and penetrates deep into the tissues. On a personal level, this reinforces even more how much healing resources are around us. India has its share of healing plants. I am sure our own forests are just as blessed with its own share of healing plants native to our land.
I recommend this Ayurveda book to anyone who wants to know more about holistic modalities from India. You will not only gain an introductory understanding of Ayurveda as a whole but you will also appreciate photographer Tettoni’s attention to detail, composition, and use of light to make each photo a delight to see and examine more closely.
If there is any suggestion I would make for a second edition of the book, it would be a more careful editing. This beautiful coffee table book’s only flaw from my perspective are the typos I found in the text.
The Ayurveda: Asian Secrets of Wellness, Beauty and Balance book can be ordered through Amazon.
** NOW FOR THE BOOK GIVEAWAY!!! **
I just finished reading the book from cover to cover and loved it! Now I want one of you to have your very own copy. So, in collaboration with Tuttle Publishing, its publisher, I am holding a very simple book giveaway right here. Below is a Rafflecopter widget. You can earn entries just by accomplishing one or more of the options here (leaving a blog comment is mandatory though).
Terms and Conditions:
1. This book giveaway is open to all my readers
worldwide in the Philippines. The publisher, Tuttle Publishing, (or I, in the event publisher is unable to) will take care of mailing out the book to the winner.
2. This giveaway will run until October 28, 2014, 12:00AM (Manila time, GMT+8)
3. The winner will be announced on the Rafflecopter widget and will be sent an email using the email address provided. The winner has to respond with a valid postal address where the prize can be sent. If the winner selected does not respond with a postal address within 14 calendar days of being contacted, another winner will be selected in his/her place without notice to the previous winner.