Ayurveda is a holistic medicine system originating from ancient India perhaps ever since mankind was known to be in existence. However, the principles are so profound that they still hold to date. The literal translation of Ayurveda in Sanskrit means the science of Life
Ayu + Veda= Ayurveda
Ayu means Life
Veda is a science or knowledge
So, this is much more than medical science. It is a way of living. Ayurveda originated in India along with Yoga, so it is often referred to as the older sister science of Yoga.
The beauty of this modality is that it can still be practiced today no matter where you live. You do not have to be in India to follow these principles. You can adopt an Ayurvedic lifestyle even if you are in Japan, New Zealand, or the USA. And NO! you do not need to eat Indian food for this. By the way, Indian food is not all Ayurvedic food😊
You can cook any cuisine with the Ayurvedic principles Even though Ayurveda is so ancient, science is still relevant in today’s world and we can easily adapt to its principles.
Ayurveda can be used in two ways
One: To maintain one’s health (Swashta). Preventive healthcare has a huge emphasis in Ayurveda
Two: To heal one from a disease (Aathura). Unlike Western medicine, Ayurveda looks at the root cause rather than a symptomatic treatment.
Ayurveda believes that each of us is unique and we have individual bioenergy in us called Dosha. The three doshas are
Prakruti is the combination of the doshas that a person is born with. It remains constant for the person’s life and is influenced by the doshas of their parents, including the mental and physical states of the parents at the time of conception, and the diet and lifestyle of their mother throughout the pregnancy. It is like a DNA imprint that cannot be changed.
The doshas that are dominant at birth determine physical characteristics, personality, and any tendencies that may result in specific types of illnesses. Ayurveda aims to keep the prakruti in balance with the original ‘set point’ at birth.
Vikruti is the result of our prakruti falling out of balance. Improper diet, lifestyle, stress levels, the seasons, and other environmental factors can cause imbalance. The imbalance may present with the characteristics of a dosha that is different from your original prakruti. For example, you may be Kapha Prakruti but have a condition of dry skin which would be vata vikruti.
By knowing our prakruti and our vikruti, we can treat the cause of the illness or condition, as well as maintain balance with our original mind-body constitution. We can better understand why we have certain personality traits, emotional tendencies, likes and dislikes, and why we are susceptible to certain illnesses. This knowledge enables us to take practical steps to design a diet and lifestyle in harmony with our environment.
Ayurveda teaches us how to live synergistically with the environment around us. That means we have to allow ourselves to tune in with the season, time of the day, the climate, etc. To understand Ayurveda, we must remind ourselves continually of the adage, ‘as in the macrocosm, so in the microcosm’.In Sanskrit, we call this -
‘Yat Pinde, tat Brahmande’. It cycles from the macrocosm to the microcosm, stating,’ as in the world out there, so in the body in here’.
Let us start with the creations in the universe. The entire cosmos has five major elements or energies. These are-
Ether ~ Akaash
Air ~ Vaayu
Fire ~ Agni
Water ~ Jal or Aap
Earth ~ Prithvi
Each of us is a microcosm of this microcosmos. So, these elements are also present in us in various forms and locations. However, we may have one more two of these elements dominating the other elements.
Vata = Ether+Air
Pitta = Fire+Water
These compositions explain how each of these doshas is functionally and physically different from each other.
‘Vata’ governs your creativity, movement, and the flow of energy. Since Vata dosha is a combination of space and air, these characteristics demand dryness in Vata and a spacey mind. Vata people are constant thinkers and often keep changing their thoughts and actions, because of the wind quality in them, they keep switching from one activity to another and cannot sit still or think straight. That makes them lack focus and attention. However, these people have the most creative capabilities in them.
Physical Characteristics of Vata:
Thin frizzy hair
Cold to touch
Sensitive to cold
Mental and emotional characteristics of Vata:
Dreams of falling from a height or left in an alone empty place
Best Professions for Vata:
Hosts of talk shows
Where is Vata present?
Its primary location is the colon. Vata is located any of the open cavities of, the body—such as
the spaces in between bones and joints, particularly in the lower back, ear, pelvic area, and hips.
Vata is responsible for
circulation of tissues
elimination of wastes
When Vata goes out of balance
Dryness of the skin
Anxiety and worry
‘Pitta’ is responsible for digestion and transformation. Since pitta is composed of Fire and water, these people have a lot of heat and oil in them. This heat can be manifested as anger or excessive heat in their body. They are determined, organized, and shrewd thinkers. They are intellectual and highly passionate. The fire in them drives them to be ambitious
Physical Characteristics of Pitta Dosha people
They are moderate build
Oily hair. The heat and excessive oil starts premature hair loss or hair greying
Hot to touch
They sweat a lot
They are great speakers and leaders
Mental and emotional characteristics:
Thoughtful and Firm
Dreams about war, violence, Blood, Killing someone
Where is Pitta located?
Its primary location is the small intestine.
Pitta is also located in the liver, spleen, eyes, skin, blood, heart, brain, etc.
What is Pitta responsible for?
Pitta is the transformative force responsible for all biochemical reactions in the body.
It produces digestion,
intellect and vision.
When Pitta goes out of balance
Skin irritation and rash
Indigestion and heartburn
High blood pressure and other circulatory problems
Kapha is responsible for structure, stability, and helps the lubrication throughout your body. Kapha dosha is dominant with Water and earth. While water is nourishing, earth adds bulk and stability. Kapha people tend to be on the obese side of the scale. The water and earth form mucous, so these people can have excessive congestion and upper respiratory disorders
Physical Characteristics of Kapha dosha people
Soft, beautifully smooth skin
Cool and Moist
Thick, oily, curly hair
Wetness and mucousy
Mental and emotional characteristics
Sleepy most of the time
Good careers for Kapha:
They thrive well with monotonous jobs with very less physical exertion something like a desk job
Where is Kapha located?
Its primary location is the lungs.
It is also located in the upper part of the body- head, nose, throat, chest, fatty tissues, ligaments, tendons, etc.
What is Kapha responsible for?
Kapha is responsible for
calmness and cohesion,
and promotes the qualities of love and calmness.
When Kapha goes out of balance
Sinus congestion and colds
Allergies and hay fever
Cysts and other growths