by Monica Yearwood
reflects on ayurveda
and feeling good in
When I heard that Kate Hudson wrote a book titled “Pretty Happy,” which discussed ayurveda at length, I was intrigued. Just 10 years ago, when I first became certified in ayurveda, western awareness of ayurveda was virtually non-existent. In the last year, Katie Silcox wrote a New York Times best seller on ayurveda called “Healthy, Happy, Sexy.” And now, one of America’s most popular actresses has written a book on a similar subject.
Hudson’s book is not exclusively ayurvedic. She enmeshes several philosophies together, emphasizing what has worked to make her pretty happy. While ayurveda encourages understanding different medical systems, it does not inherently combine allopathic, or traditional western, medicine with it. Ayurveda is a complete medical system and science that stands solidly on its own feet.
In Hudson’s book, she discusses introductory ayurvedic concepts that relate to physical constitutional types, called doshas. She describes that knowing your doshic type can help you determine lifestyle practices (diet, meditation, daily activities) to keep you in balance. She emphasizes the importance of digestion, which is the epicenter of the immune system, citing ayurvedic practitioner John Douliard’s research on probiotic strains. Hudson even gives a recipe for a cleansing ayurvedic soup, called kitchari.
The overall theme of “Pretty Happy” and where Hudson really shines, is in her emphasis on listening to the body. She writes, “When we learn to pay attention to the signals our bodies are giving us, we have a better chance of making healthier, cleaner choices about what we eat and what we do, and resisting the foods and activities that deplete us.” This motto is essentially the theme of her entire book, which she supports via journaling and self-reflection exercises that explore the reader’s innermost feelings, fears, desires, digestive tendencies and ayurvedic body/mind types.
The doshic quizzes and body type explanations are informative and introduce the ayurvedic system to a wider mainstream audience. Hudsonemphasizes throughout the book that lasting happiness comes from the development of one’s intuitive prowess, cultivating inner peace, and understanding one’s unique needs—an approach that makes this a good book for the ayurvedic novice.
Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways to Love Your Body By Kate Hudson 256 pages. Dey Street Books. 2016. $26.99