“An ancient practice that has practical and powerful applications that are still relevant today!” The easiest definition of what is Ayurveda comes from the name itself. Ayur means life. Veda means knowledge or science. The Ayurvedic basic principles center around this term “Science of life”.
It is not about a medical science but a philosophy on obtaining and maintaining a healthy, happy, beautiful life. It is a way of living that strives to help you reach your optimum potential in all aspects of your being. Through mind, body, and spirit. Ayurveda also centers around the belief that most disease can be cured by locating the imbalance between these three aspects of ourselves.
Balance vs Imbalance is the path to healing and the guiding force behind Ayurvedic medicine and teachings. This balance needs to be obtained in Mind, Body, and Spirit in order to find the cure of an illness or to achieve complete health, and a complete happy life,
It is not about religion, it is about life and living wholesomely.
What is Ayurveda?
As one of the world’s oldest holistic healing practices in
the world. It began almost 5000 years ago in the Country of India as part of
the Veda culture. It acts on two main guiding principles. The mind and body
connection and the power of the minds ability to allow and promote healing in
This focus lies on whole body, whole life, and complete balance. Ayurvedic belief is that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit. These must work together in order for healing to take place and to obtain optimum health.
The main goal of Ayurveda is to promote good health and wellness always. Not just when you become ill or need to battle a disease. If health problems exist this system looks not only at the present issue but the person as a whole. Their life, their body types, and their emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
A Video Look at Ayurveda for Greater Understanding
How does this differ from the health care philosophy of Western Medicine?
Aruyveda vs Allopathic Medicine
Western medicine, also referred to as Allopathic medicine, is based on physical outward signs alone. It focuses on the pathology of illness and the symptoms of disease. Here in the United States and many other areas this is the primary focus of the medical community.
Typically, in Allopathic societies we seek out treatment
only when we have physical signs that the body is sick. Medication is then often
prescribed to treat those physical symptoms alone.
Where Ayurveda focuses on the root causes of sickness that can stem from “dosha” imbalance, or misalignment between the body, mind, and spirit. The Ayurvedic basic principles see things much deeper and look for weakness in all aspects of the patient’s life.
The physical symptoms are viewed as clues and reasons why the body became ill. These can come from all aspects of a patient’s life from their emotional states and lifestyle to their inner most desires and faith. A person seeking Ayuervedic medicine would be asked about their lives from the time of youth to the present day to help see where a possible imbalance may exist. The root causes.
Ayurvedic Basic Principles, Energies & Doshas
Energy, it is within us and without, all around us. It is the makeup of life itself and within all things. This is represented in the 5 Elements principle. The building blocks of all creation.
What are doshas or a dosha?
They are biological energies found throughout the human body and the mind. They encompass the 5 energies that are the foundation of all life. In Ayurveda, they are considered the blueprint and fundamental aspects that control all our physical and mental processes.
They are called Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Let’s break them down to get a better idea.
The Three Doshas
Vata– The Wind- change and Motion
Represents the elements of Air and space. The word itself can be translated to mean “wind”. It is the energy inside the mind and body that represent movement. Activity, creativity, expression and our ability to communicate originate here. Sometimes referred to as the “king” of the doshas since it is considered to be in charge of the body’s life force and gives motion to the rest of the elements (doshas).
Signals that the Vata is unbalanced is often found in cloudy thoughts, anxiety, depression and physically as dry skin, constipation, irregular female cycles and lack of energy.
Pitta- That which cooks or digests – Transformation
Pitta is representative of the elements of fire and water and roughly means “that which cooks”. It is the energy inside us that represent the functions of digestion both in food and innermost understanding of ideas or teachings. It also is the key to stimulating our intellect, enthusiasm, and determination. Additionally, in the body, it can be seen in our metabolism, vision, skin and hair luster and regulated body temperature.
Signals of an Unbalanced Pitta physically include heartburn, IBS and other digestive issues, irregular body temperatures, impaired vision, dullhair, and skin. Mentally as addictive behavior, loss of energy or joy in life, inabi lity to reason and difficulty learning.
Kapha – That which sticks, embrace, holding together- stability and structure
This dosha is a representation of the elements earth and water. It has been translated in many ways but commonly referred to as “that which sticks”. It is the representation of solid structure to everything physically and mentally. It is believed to be a part of every atom and cell of the body. The bones, joints and entire skeletal system is part of this dosha but also the blood. It offers our body its physical strength and endurance and controls our immunity and disease resistance. In the mind, it is the foundation of our psychological well-being as a regulator of human emotions, empathy, forgiveness, patience, and understanding.
Signs physically of Kapha imbalance include decreased immunity, poor appetite control, sluggish digestion, sexual dysfunction, excessive mucous, dry mouth and eyes, obesity, weak bones and joints, and other musculoskeletal issues. Mentally it displays as intolerance, insecurity, jealousy, rudeness, lack of compassion and inability to control emotions.
The central idea behind Ayurvedic medicine is the belief that all health exists when are three doshas are aligned. Dosha make-up is also unique within each person. As some may be a high Pitta type where others may posses higher levels of a different type.
Finding Your Unique Type
These doshas are in a unique combination in every individual and mark your own exclusive energetic blueprint. Your individual makeup can be seen in your personality, intellect, physical shape, and complexion.
Knowing your unique dosha or Ayuervedic profile can help you
see your greatest strengths, and greatest weakness.
They can also indicate areas that are out of balance. Those
who practice Ayuervedic medicine investigate the life of each patient as a
whole to determine their unique dosha makeup and where a possible imbalance may
I have included a link to a questionnaire at another site that can help you identify your specific profile. I am not in any way associated with this site, but the information and method were highly accurate. Click here or you can find the link at the bottom of this article in references & resources.
The 3 tools for a balanced State
These three basic tools help to keep our energies or Doshas in a balanced state they are also referred to as the THREE PILLARS.
- Diet – “we are what we eat”. Every food is transformed and becomes a part of our makeup. Eat fresh, seasonal, home cooked and colorful food. It is the primary factor to obtain balance. This is not just about the body as food can also nurish the mind and spirit.
- Lifestyle- “free of stress and worries”. Meditation, creativity, prayer and spending time wisely. These are just a few ways to balance the spirit as a whole. To feed your spirit the energies it needs to be strong, sharp and free.
- State of Mind- “the mind has the ability to cure and cause disease” Use your mind to create positive thoughts and clear visions. Positive reinforcements to self and with others.
Bringing Self into Harmony
We have looked at what is Ayurveda and recognize it as balancing of the mind, body, and spirit. But how do we bring these into alignment? Knowing your personal strengths and weakness in your dosha makeup is a great first step.
Understanding these things will help you to change your lifestyle to brings your doshas into harmony. Once you recognize these doshas in yourself you can learn how to harmonize the energies and use the 3 pillars to maintain, keep and live in blance.
The Best part is it does not need to be complicated. Ayurvedic alignment is all about doing it in the most natural ways possible. In fact, living in harmony with nature is a key part of your balance and a fundamental of the Ayurveda lifestyle.
Those elements that live within us all (the doshas) also live outside of ourselves. The Ethera(space), earth, air, fire, and water are in every aspect of nature and life itself. It is larger than us and brings us into connection with “something greater”. This is a not a religious observation as a person’s faith is not a qualification to achieve harmony with Ayurveda. However, recognizing that a force is a powerful connection to you and everything around you is a spiritual fulfillment.
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Growing Your Ayurveda Knowledge
This article only begins to touch on the Ayurvedic basic principles and what it means. In the next posting, I will be looking at simple ways to help incorporate these methods as part of your natural wellness plan. This may not be for everyone but the fundamentals behind this practice CAN HELP ANYONE.
I look forward to your comments and communication about What is Ayurveda. While I am certainly no expert I suspect that many of my readers may be. Let us open the line to communicate and help each other explore this ancient yet relevant practice.
“Knowledge is the Power to a Better You, Better Health and Unlocking your Natural Power!” Let us share with each other.
References & Resources
- Principles & Practices of Ayurveda : California
College of Ayurveda: http://www.ayurvedacollege.com/articles/drhalpern/Principles_practices
- What Is Ayurveda: The Chopra Center: https://chopra.com/articles/what-is-ayurveda
Principles of Ayurveda: The Gerson Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine: https://www.ayurveda.md/usefull-links/30-basic-principles-of-ayurveda
- What is Your Dosha: Creating an Ayurvedic
profile, Quiz: Banyan Botanicals: https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/prakriti-quiz/
- Lower Your Body’s Inflammation| Ayurvedic
Superfoods: Heart & Body Naturals: http://shophbn.com/superfoods.asp?sponsorsite=chale