Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old system of natural healing that has its origins in the Vedas. Much more than a mere system of treating illness, it is the Knowledge of Life (Ayur = life, Veda = knowledge) and offers a wealth of wisdom designed to help us realize our full potential across all levels: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
Recognizing that human are a part of Prakriti (Nature), Ayurveda is not just a treatment but a way of life. The key here is balance, not just within our own selves but also with our surroundings, with nature (Prakriti), and ultimately with the Universe itself.
As a concept Ayurveda is less inclined towards the treatment of a particular disease as the inherent holistic nature implies that the system will necessarily look at the person as a whole. However it does not mean that we cannot treat and prevent illnesses. In fact it is useful in almost every disorder, including those connected to lifestyle as well as psychological. However there is very little short term band-aid fix and it is important to keep in mind that allopathic and other medical systems do have their own importance.
Ayurveda describes three fundamental energies that govern our inner and outer environments: movement, transformation, and structure. Known in Sanskrit as Vata (Wind), Pitta (Fire), and Kapha (Earth), these primary forces, called Doshas, are responsible for the characteristics of our mind and body. Each of us has a unique proportion of these three forces and which shapes our personality.
If Vata is dominant in our system, we tend to be thin, light, enthusiastic, energetic, and changeable. If Pitta predominates in our nature, we tend to be intense, intelligent, and goal-oriented and have a strong appetite for life. When Kapha prevails, we tend to be easy-going, methodical, and nurturing. Although each of us has all three forces, most people have one or sometimes two elements that predominate.
Now for each of the Doshas, there is a balanced and imbalance expression. When Vata is balanced, a person is lively and creative, but when there is too much movement in the system, a person tends to experience anxiety, insomnia, dry skin, constipation, and difficulty focusing.
When Pitta is functioning in a balanced manner, a person is warm, friendly, disciplined, a good leader, and a good speaker. But when out of balance, a person tends to be compulsive and irritable and may suffer from indigestion or an inflammatory condition.
A balanced Kapha is sweet, supportive, and stable, while an unbalance Kapha experiences sluggishness, weight gain, and sinus congestion.
An important goal of Ayurveda is to identify a person’s ideal state of balance, determine where they are out of balance, and offer interventions using diet, herbs, aromatherapy, massage treatments, music, and meditation to reestablish balance.
Ayurveda and Your Diet:
When it comes to your diet, Ayurveda believes that “one man’s food can be another man’s poison” and so it is important to first understand your body's Prakrati as well as your Dosha imbalances, your environment plus the seasons. The foods that are then recommended are best suited to you and the foods that are not should be avoided as they can be negative and cause adverse reactions. With this knowledge you can plan your meals, knowing fully well that every morsel you eat is adding positive energy to you.
So go ahead, let Ayurveda become a part of your life... Live Prakratik.