Ayurveda, the knowledge of life and longevity, is perhaps the oldest existing body of knowledge on the healing process. Said to be more than 5000 years old, the Sanskritword Āyurveda(आयुर्वेद)translates to “the knowledge of life and longevity” (Ayur = long life, Veda: knowledge).
Ayurveda is based on two main principles:
1. A human being as an interplay of the mind, the body and the spirit. In order to attain composite health, a lifestyle encompassing all aspects of diet and nutrition, herbs and oils, yoga and exercise, breathing and meditation techniques is required.
2. Since each human is unique, healing treatments are customized to treat each individual differently. There are no one pill cures all approach since Ayurveda aims to cure the root cause of the problems facing an individual, instead of dealing with the symptoms on a superficial level.
Ayurveda works on the concept that everything in nature is made up of five great natural elements or “pancha mahabhuta”. These are prithvi (earth) apas (water) tejas (fire) vayu (air) and vyom (ether). It is further suggested that all of nature, including the human body, is made up of these five essential elements and that upon death, the human body dissolves into these same five elements of nature, thereby balancing the cycle of creation.
Ancient sacred texts or Vedas, state that life on earth came into existence because of these five natural elements and they are believed to be basis for the creation of all cosmic rays and evolving in nature.
Ether (Vyom) Sound
Air (Vayu) Sound + touch
Fire (Tejas) Sound + touch + form
Water (Apas) Sound + touch + form + taste
Earth (Prithvi) Sound + touch + form + taste + smell
These five natural elements are present in our bodies in varying proportions, thus making a person individually unique.
1. Earth:Solid, heavy and dense. Present in our bodies as bones, nails & teeth
2. Water: Liquid, flowing and dissolving. Present in our as bodies blood, water & lymph
3. Fire: Energy, heat, metabolism and transformation. Present in our bodies as digestive system and regulation of body temperature.
4. Air: Oxygen, breath, motion and lightness. Present in our bodies as the entire respiration system and movement of nerve impulses.
5. Ether: Space, all-pervasiveness, omniscience and emptiness Present in our bodies as the space between cells, and as the universal truth of our inner self.
A healthy body and mind is one where all the five elements are in balance and they function in harmony both internally within our bodies and externally as in extended alignment with nature and our environment. Whenever the internal or external balance is not aligned, our entire mind-body system is disrupted, leading to disorder and imbalances. Slowly over time, these imbalances can become a disease bringing on stress and neglect.
Ayurveda describes these elemental factors as doshas named as Vata, Pitta, Kapha, and states that a balance of these doshas results in good health, while imbalance results in disease. These three doshas are present in each one of us in varying degrees, but usually one or two dominate determining each individual’s physiological and personality traits.
Vata (Air and Ether): Vata dosha is associated with movement, breathing and heart pulsation. When in balance, people with Vata types are creative and flexible and when out of balance, they are unstable, anxious and fearful.
Pitta (Fire and Water): Pitta dosha is associated with metabolism, digestion and body temperature. When in balance, people with Pitta types are warm outgoing and great leaders and when out of balance, they can be easy to anger and hostile.
Kapha (Water and Earth): Kapha dosha is associated with the the physical form, that holds the cells together. When in balance, people with Kapha types are stable, calm and loving and when out of balance, they can be obsessive and greedy.
Understanding your unique doshas and the specific needs that are derived from it, allows you to make optimal choices about diet, exercise, supplements, and all other aspects of your lifestyle. In addition to food, Meditation is an important tool used in ancient Ayurveda for balancing the mind, body and spirit.
In pursuit of well being and good health, living a healthy, balanced lifestyle in alignment with natural elements is of paramount importance. Ayurveda offers a body of wisdom designed to help you stay vibrant and healthy, while realizing your full human potential in the most uplifting form.