What is Ayurveda?
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda means the science of life. Ayu means life and veda means science. It is considered a natural or alternative medicine. Ayurveda is the oldest recorded medical science dating back 5,000 years in written history and more than 10,000 years in the oral tradition. It comes from the region now known as India. It is a complete medical system categorized into 8 branches: Internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery, strength and vitality, diseases of the head and neck, toxicology and psychology. Each branch focused on prevention and treatment.
In Ayurveda everything is categorized into the 5 elements which are the building blocks of life. In the Sanskrit language, these are known as panchamahabhutas. Pancha (pawn-chah) means 5, maha (ma-huh) means great or big and bhutas (boo-tuhs) means elements. These 5 elements are: space/ether, air/wind, fire, water and earth. There is no life without these 5 elements.
Ayurveda defines health as:
One who is established in Self, who has balanced humors, balanced digestive fire, properly formed tissues, proper elimination of wastes, well-functioning bodily processes and whose mind, soul and senses are full of bliss is called a healthy person.
As living beings we are the intricate connection of these elements. This connection is known by the term tridosha or dosha (dough-shuh), which roughly translates as organization. From this organization, the groundwork is laid for nature’s expression of our essence to be born. Our nature or prakriti (Pra- kru-tee) is our DNA which is the energetic instructions for how our physiological functions will express themselves. When the body is out of balance it means that one or more of the elements is too high or too low. There must be integrity of both the quality and quantity of the elements, for the body to maintain balance. Our body constitution (nature/prakriti) is made up of 3 doshas known as:
Vāta, Pitta and Kapha (biological humors)
Vāta (vah-tuh) is made up of space/ether and wind/air. The Greeks called this black bile. It controls all movement in the body. It is associated with bodily functions like: heartbeat, breathing, all intracellular movements, blinking, speech, coordination and removal of wastes from the body. When in balance, vāta is creative, fun, artistic, flexible, visionary, non-materialistic, quick learning and carefree. When out of balance vāta may be stiff, dry, anxious, fearful, hyperactive, spacey and dishonest. The main qualities of vāta are: mobile, cold, light and dry.
Pitta ( pit-tuh) is made up of fire and water. The Greeks called this yellow bile. Pitta relates to body heat. It governs the body’s metabolic system, bile, digestive fire/potency, the endocrine system, comprehension and intelligence. When in balance pitta is driven, focused, warm, intelligent, articulate, and determined. When out of balance pitta may be aggressive, cruel, lacking in compassion, manipulative, fanatical, domineering, angry and hateful. The main qualities of pitta are: hot, sharp and liquid,
Kapha (kuh-fuh) is made up of water and earth. The Greeks called this blood and phlegm. It is responsible for the body structure. It governs lubrication of the joints, the body’s immunity, supplies water to the bodily parts and systems, is the body connective tissues, such plasma, mucus and tendons. When in balance Kapha is expressed as love, forgiveness, romantic, sentimental, calm, peaceful, nurturing and loyal. When out of balance Kapha may be lazy, lethargic, depressed, lustful, greedy, materialistic, and controlling. The main qualities of kapha are: heavy, slow, hard and dense.
Everyone is comprised of all 3 doshas, but in different amounts. By knowing your nature, you can help take charge of your health related concerns and your life. I look forward to helping you achieve this.