Ayurveda is a complete science of health and well being from the ancient sub-continent of India. Ayurveda originated over 5000 years ago and is still in use today in many parts of the world. In Sanskrit, Ayurveda means the ‘science of life’ or the ‘science of aliveness’.
The National Institute of Health’s National Center for Complementary & Integrative Health (NCCIH) considers Ayurveda and Ayurvedic therapies a ‘complementary health approach’.
Ayurveda is based on simple but profound theories. When applied, this knowledge and tools can transform your life, your relationships and your energy.
Ayurveda understands that everyone is unique and has different needs. In fact, it’s basic premise revolves around this understanding. Diet and lifestyle recommendations based on Ayurveda are thus tailored to each individual.
With the proper diet, the right lifestyle and the use of herbs, body therapies and cleansing practices, Ayurveda intends to bring balance to the mind, body and spirit, prevent future illness from occurring and restore health.
Ayurveda Basics: The Doshas
The science of Ayurveda recognizes the earth’s five elements and their existence in the universe around us (macrocosm) and the universe within us (microcosm). Ether, air, fire, water and earth form the various mechanics of our existence.
The five elements organize into three principles or Doshas known as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
Vata Dosha is composed of the elements of Air and Space. It is responsible for all forms of movement in the body like blinking, breathing and muscle movement.
Pitta Dosha is composed of Fire and Water and is responsible for all metabolic processes in the body including digestion, absorption, assimilation and the body’s temperature.
Kapha Dosha is the Water and Earth elements of the body and mind. It comprises the body’s substance and mass and provides the body with lubrication.
Health Is A Matter Of Balance
We are each born with a certain unique combination of Vata, Pitta and Kapha Dosha. As we go through life, stress, emotional disturbances, relationships, environment, and diet may disturb the natural balance of our Doshas.
Ayurveda teaches us how to understand our own unique combination of Doshas and how to live properly to maintain health. Balanced Doshas create harmony in body, mind and spirit as well as happiness and ease.
Cleansing The Body & Mind
Ayurveda utilizes a unique process of cleansing and rejuvenating the body to maintain health, rid the body of toxins and eliminate disease. This process is called panchakarma.
Panchakarma is a profound and highly sophisticated way to cleanse the body. It involves a simple mono-diet of kitchari, daily body treatments to loosen impurities from the tissues and consultation with an Ayurvedic practitioner. Panchakarma rids the body and mind of the excess Doshas, restores health and rejuvenates the system.
Growth, Transformation + Yoga
Ayurveda offers a deep understanding of the workings of the body and mind and prepares you for growth and transformation, the ultimate goals in life. With the proper diet and lifestyle we develop understanding, have new experiences and grow.
In addition to dietary and lifestyle recommendations, an Ayurvedic practitioner may suggest certain yoga poses (asanas) or breathing practices (pranayam) to assist you in your healing and the balancing of your doshas.
Though no special physical agility is required, Ayurveda and yoga do require individual responsibility. Having the willingness to do what one is capable of will bring about change.
Yoga’s many forms can be tailored or selected to suit one’s doshic imbalance or constitution. The right yoga practices can bring balance to the elements within us. Yoga can also assist us to move beyond our limitations.