What is Ayurveda | Understanding the Ayurvedic Basic Principles

Ayur means life. Veda means knowledge or science.The “Science of life”. It is not about a medical science but a philosophy on obtaining and maintaining a healthy, happy, beautiful life. This is not religion, it is about life and living wholesomely and in balance with all things.
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By: Christina Hale

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
the body.

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.

  • Ether/Space 
  • Air
  • Fire
  • Water
  • Earth

the elements What is Ayurveda Understanding the Ayurvedic Basic Principles

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
be occurring.

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.

results 1 auyverdic type quiz


A Snapshot of my personal Ayurveda type.

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.

balanced stones water splashing What is Ayurveda Understanding the Ayurvedic Basic Principles


Balancing the Stones

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.

Ayurvedic Super Foods

Mind, Body, Soul

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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

You can find the next article here.

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.

christina hale signature

References & Resources

  1. Principles & Practices of Ayurveda : California
    College of Ayurveda: http://www.ayurvedacollege.com/articles/drhalpern/Principles_practices
  2. What Is Ayurveda: The Chopra Center: https://chopra.com/articles/what-is-ayurveda
  3.  Basic
    Principles of Ayurveda: The Gerson Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine: https://www.ayurveda.md/usefull-links/30-basic-principles-of-ayurveda
  4. What is Your Dosha: Creating an Ayurvedic
    profile, Quiz: Banyan Botanicals: https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/prakriti-quiz/
  5. Lower Your Body’s Inflammation| Ayurvedic
    Superfoods: Heart & Body Naturals: http://shophbn.com/superfoods.asp?sponsorsite=chale

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“Knowledge is the Power to a Better You, Better Health and Unlocking your Natural Power!”

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8 thoughts on “What is Ayurveda | Understanding the Ayurvedic Basic Principles”

  1. Pingback: Basic Ayurvedic Practices you can Start Today to Feel Great Tomorrow!

  2. Pingback: 5 Powerful Reasons for Choosing Natural Remedies

  3. I have heard much about Ayurveda. And must confess. I knew absolutely nothing about it. Now, I know at least a bit more. Thanks to your really good and helpful article.

    I like that Ayurveda looks at a person as a whole. Not just the symptoms, which is what Western medicine does. I have long been averse to Western medicine because of that. And have always sought for natural and alternative healing.

    But sadly, some ailments seem to need Western medicine. Or does it, I wonder? E.g. Diabetes – can Ayurveda help? Also, I have gum disease (because of diabetes) – can Ayurveda help? I hope it can. I prefer natural healing than drugs. Please let me know?

    1. Hi Timotheus,
      Ayurveda is a wonderful practice of balanced living wellness. I love the ideas and many of the practices and implement them in my daily life. As an alternative medicine, it has many values including the issues you asked about. There are often always alternatives. I am not standing against western medicine. As it has so many great values as well. Many miraculous people, items and even some medicines have helped and saved lives. I always recommend talking with your Doctor. Alternatives can be researched and discussed with your physician or should be able to. If you have a doctor that is completely resistant to your needs or desires it may be time to get a different opinion. I believe that even those in a professional western medical practice can talk with reason about a person’s choices in their health care plan. I have hit brick walls. You can easily recognize a Doctor who is just against it because it is not “medicine” or a doctor that has a genuine concern about possible interactions or effectiveness. I am fortunate enough at this time to have found a doctor that works with both Eastern and Western medicine. This is very helpful to me as an herbalist and my personal need for natural alternatives.
      I have put this out in a different article on site What you Can and Can’t say about naturals so understand as I address your specific concerns. I can not tell you that anything considered food (alternative medicine) can fix your health issues.
      However, Supplements and natural remedies that have shown promise in helping to balance healthy blood sugar levels are:
      – A Healthy Diet ( this is something western and eastern medicine can agree on) green vegetables -leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, those packed in nutrients. Avoid starchy vegetables and high doses of complex carbs. Take a look at Ayurveda inspired eating plans. You can also see on my follow up article to this one Basic Ayuervedic Practices you can start today to feel great tomorrow I introduce the 6 tastes and eating the rainbow. This is a great format to creating a diet that feeds the body well without raising blood sugars.
      – Natural supplements like Hemp CBD oil ( I use this myself) can promote healthy blood sugar levels. If hemp CBD is not allowed in your Country or area CBD can also be found in Nigella sativa. Heart and body naturals have an Oil called “Entourage” that is an alternative to hemp CBD and available in more varieties. CBD is not the only choice many herbal supplements are available that can help sugar levels. Cinnamon, garlic, prickly pear cactus and more. And bottled supplements like chromium, magnesium and omega3 fatty acids.
      As far as gum disease an Ayurveda approach may look at the resulting gum issues can be coming from other areas of the body. How is your digestion? Poor digestion is can cause of gum issues believe it or not. Liver toxins not flushing properly, poor levels of probiotics (good bacteria) these can all lead to issues that show in your mouth. Teeth cleansiness is not always the cause for gum issues. Disinfect your mouth naturally with lemon water, this also aids the liver. Warm salt water rinses following this drink can help improve gum disease. Eat heavily alkaline foods. Drink plenty of water and get rest. Those all sound fairly odd to a dental issue but you may be surprised! Obviously good dental care is in order too. Avoid fluoride toothpaste whenever possible.
      I hope this helps and offers a few ideas you can discuss with your doctor and make sure they are safe for you.
      Thank you Christina

  4. Pingback: What is Homeostasis? | Importance of Homeostasis in the Body

    1. Thank you my medical tech,
      This is just the basic introduction. There is much more to learn you are very correct. I think it is a nice starter to get people familiar with the concept. I welcome additional information you or anyone else would like to contribute that will help the readers. In addition, I have a simple article on how to begin introducing Ayurveda in your life.
      Appreciate your commenting.

  5. I do believe in the power of mind and body and how the connection has the ability to keep you in balance. I also know that food has a big impact on how the body reacts.

    thanks for publishing this article and I will definitely look at more of your articles on this as you have really peaked my interest and I would love to find out more.

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