6 Ways Ayurveda Will Show Up in 2020
In just the past few years, we have observed the growth of Ayurveda as it spreads across the US. What was once unknown to the majority (“Ayur-wha?”) is now hinging on mainstream, with supplements now lining grocery aisles and Ayurvedic topics popping up in yoga studios.
Is this a trend? We think not. Here are six ways you’ll see Ayurveda show up in 2020.
1. Plant-Based Diet
Last time you browsed the aisles at your local grocery store, you may have noticed the increasing numbers of alternative milks, plant proteins, and even plant-based burgers that are made to bleed like meat.
Your grocery store is no quirky outlier—the amount of new “plant-based” food and drink products in the US exploded in the past few years—growing by a whopping 268% between 2012 and 2018.1
With such an explosion in the plant-based food industry, this points to our growing national desire to nourish ourselves primarily with plants while we reduce our need to rely on animal foods, including dairy and eggs.
While this trend doesn’t necessarily mean a strict vegan or vegetarian diet (pescatarians are included in this movement), it does emphasize filling our plates with minimally-processed foods, focusing on fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes.
Reasons abound for this transformation—perhaps it has to do with food allergies, or working toward a smaller carbon footprint. It could be for moral reasons, or realizing that, for some of us, we just feel better when we eat this way.
Whatever the impetus, this type of diet is Ayurvedic at its core. Plant-based foods that are fresh and whole are higher in sattva, which imbue a sense of vibrancy, clarity, and lightness. Sattvic foods are easier to digest and offer better nourishment for our whole selves.
“Since true health arises from your body’s ability to digest what you take in, sattvic foods, which are all easily digested, bring you closer to your natural state of true health.”2
2. Superfood Herbs
It was only a few years ago that turmeric was mostly sequestered to the spice rack and practically no one outside of Ayurveda knew about ashwagandha, while those of us who are herb enthusiasts were patiently telling our friends how to pronounce it (“It’s ash-wa-gan-dha, not ashwa-ma-honda…”).
Now these Ayurvedic staples have hit the mainstream and can be found in special drinks, supplements, teas, herbal blends, cosmetics, and more. According to Consumer Reports, turmeric was the third most popular botanical supplement in 2018, with sales growing 30.5% between 2017 and 2018.3
These aren’t the only Ayurvedic herbs to receive glowing acclaim—the world of nootropics, or substances that are used to enhance mental function, is discovering the power of some of Ayurveda’s renowned herbs like brahmi/gotu kola and bacopa. In fact, bacopa even made Healthline’s 2018 list of 14 best nootropics.4
Considering Ayurveda’s vast pharmacopoeia of potent herbs, the mainstream wellness market has barely begun to scratch the surface.
3. Regenerative Agriculture
With the growing movement of regenerative agriculture, we are witnessing a shift in not only how we grow our food, but the way we think about the entire process from seed to harvest, with a potentially huge impact on our planet.
Regenerative agriculture aligns with Ayurveda’s focus of treating the land and animals with respect, embodying Ayurvedic farming practices at its heart. It is a holistic blend of organic and permaculture practices, such as using cover crops, crop rotation, composting, reintegration of livestock on the land, and pasture cropping, with an emphasis on not only doing no harm to the land, but actually improving it.
This type of farming goes beyond seeing the land as a commodity and quantifying the maximum of what it can yield—it reforms our innate connection with and respect of the land.
The results? Harvests yield high quality, nutritious foods, healthier soil, better-managed water supplies, and healthier communities as a whole.5
Regenerative agriculture also helps to combat climate change by rebuilding the soil’s organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity, which in turn helps with carbon sequestration and improving the water cycle.6
Regardless if it is labeled Ayurvedic or not, we are heartened to see this movement gaining momentum, feeling that in many ways we’re organically coming back to a more harmonious way of working the land.
4. Work-Life Balance
There is a shift happening in our work culture, and at the heart is our increasing focus on work-life balance. This movement was first made possible thanks to tech companies getting creative with how to attract and keep the best talent—and yet there are decidedly Ayurvedic bones underneath as we collectively strive to actualize balance in all aspects of our lives.
This desire for more balance is nothing new. It’s been there for decades—and arguably for much longer. In 1933, the famed economist John Maynard Keynes expected our work week to get increasingly shorter, with the average work week at 15 hours by 2030. In 1956, Nixon predicted in the “‘not too distant future’ there would be a four-day work week and a fuller family life for every American.”7
While a four-day work week isn’t the norm for most Americans, it is definitely gaining momentum in some areas of the workforce—as are the rising trends of telecommuting, unlimited PTO, mandatory time off, better maternity and paternity leave, and flexible schedules, among others.
To some, these trends may seem radical and unrealistic. But it was only a century ago that our country’s work environment was vastly different, when child labor, dangerous working conditions, poor pay, 6-day work weeks, and no workers’ rights were the modus operandi.
Change comes when people work toward what they desire and what they value. The desire for more balance is coming to fruition, creating inevitable waves of change to our work landscape that will only continue in 2020 and beyond. And what could be more Ayurvedic than achieving balance?
Ayurveda is all about rituals—we find it in the traditional practice of agnihotra, in abhyanga, in meditation, honoring a daily routine, or simply in making a cup of tea every morning.
Rituals are on the rise in our culture as well—in fact, it is predicted to be a wellness trend for 2020.8 How will these two worlds of ancient Ayurveda and our modern yearning for more ceremony collide in the new year?
Perhaps we will see more attention on mindfulness practices, and the yoga industry will continue to flourish. And maybe we’ll quietly build our own rituals—waking each morning to see the sunrise, finding a few moments each day to practice gratitude, honing our daily routines to better serve our health—our options are limitless.
6. Self-Care as Earth-Care
As these trends show, we’re increasingly drawn toward achieving deeper harmony and balance in our lives, whether it is changing what we put on our plates, the herbs we take, how we work, or the rituals we fold into our days. And as the rise of regenerative agriculture shows, our relationship with the earth is also changing.
These are pivotal times, as we face human-accelerated climate change and see its effects across the globe. How we choose to act has a greater impact on the collective than ever before. Looking squarely at our modern struggles, ancient Ayurveda could be the solution to coming back to balance on a global scale.
This means seeing the earth not as an asset to be exploited, but as a living, breathing presence that is influenced and affected by our actions. It means caring for the planet so we can in turn care for ourselves.
And when we truly, fully care for ourselves, when we become centered and aligned with our higher selves, we naturally see the bigger picture—our place on the earth and the interconnectedness of all things. From this place, it is impossible to act in a way that damages this connection. This is holistic living at its best.
The momentum for this movement can be seen in the rise of all things “sustainable,” efforts to minimize plastics, composting home food scraps, investments in solar energy and electric cars, and youth-led climate activism. Thanks to our growing desire for deeper balance in our lives, we’re paving the way for this last trend—and it’s already beginning to happen.
Is Ayurveda at its peak in our culture? Not at all. Its knowledge is timeless and its philosophies are universal—they don’t age or become obsolete. The fusion of Ayurvedic wisdom into our modern lives is only just beginning, and as the science of life, it still has so much to teach us on how to live—and how to live well.