Introduction to Ayurveda
In this website some members of the spiritual family have been properly introduced, such as meditation, zen, yoga, chakra, kundalini, pranayama, etc. and hopefully you are getting to know them well. Today we are going to introduce another important member of this most lovely family. Say hello to Mr. Ayurveda. Ayurveda literarily means the Science of Life and Longevity. It is the science of natural healing which dates back almost 5 thousand years and has been evolving and gathering wisdom since then. Thus, today it is one of the most profound and complete holistic healing systems on this planet.
In this introductory article I will give you a broad overview of Ayurveda and lay down the foundation for providing you future health, healing and wellbeing solutions from this great science.
Background of Ayurveda:
Ayurveda is a psychobiological system that looks to optimize health taking into account your body, mind and emotions. Ayurveda is based on the Vedic Samkhya Philosophy of which, for our purposes here, we will focus on just the 5 Great Elements and the 3 Doshas (humours or fundamental energies that form your constitution) that are derived from them. The 5 great elements are space (ether), air, fire, water and earth. The 3 doshas are vata, pitta and kapha. More on this in the following sections.
The 5 Great Elements & the 3 Doshas of Ayruveda:
The Ayurvedic framework within which all healing is conducted is based on the 3 doshas. Understanding the doshas and their interaction is the key to understanding Ayurveda. The 3 doshas are formed by the 5 elements as follows…
Vata: Space & Air
Pitta: Fire & Water
Kapha: Water & Earth
According to Ayurveda everything, including the body-mind complex, can be defined by these 3 humours. They exist in varying quantities in all things. The qualities of the 3 doshas are as follows:
Vata: Dry, Light, Cold, Rough, Subtle & Mobile
Pitta: Sharp, Hot, Light, Slightly Oily, Slightly Odorous, Mobile & Liquid
Kapha: Wet, Cold, Heavy, Dull, Soft, Sticky & Fixed
Health Goal of Ayurveda (Prakruti & Vikruti):
Ayurveda states that each of us is born with a particular combination of the 3 doshas. This is our natural state, our constitution or our blueprint. It is called Prakruti. Due to life acting upon us, this natural balance is altered and the altered current state of your doshas is called Vikruti. The objective of Ayurveda is help you regain your natural state or close the discrepancy between Vikruti and Prakruti.
It is important to remember here that Ayurveda is not trying to equalize the amount of Vata, Pitta and Kapha in your system. It is trying to re-establish the natural composition of these three doshas that you were born with. Here is how Ayurveda looks to do this.
Healing Principles & Techniques of Ayurveda:
Ayurveda is based on the following 2 principles:
1. Like Increases Like
2. Opposites Decrease Each Other
Ayurveda is the manipulation of the three humours, vata, pitta & kapha, based on the 2 principles above. Since everything is composed of these 3 humours everything is available to be used to influence the quantities of these 3 humours in the body-mind complex. Some of the more common treatment modalities are as follows…
Diet & Nutrition
Yoga & Exercises
Thought & Visualization
One of the most fun parts of Ayurveda is figuring out your constitutional makeup and seeing in what quantities Vata, Pitta & Kapha doshas exist in you. But, the best part of Ayurveda is that it is a science of SELF HEALING. Once you understand the basic concepts as outlined in this article, you are well on your way to helping yourself create optimum health and vitality. In future articles I will go deeper into Ayurveda and how to use this great knowledge to effectively heal yourself and set the stage for greater spiritual and personal growth.