What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is the ancient practice of achieving and maintaining optimal health and balance physically, mentally and spiritually. The many benefits of Ayurvedic applications have been tried and proven over centuries, and its methodologies and teachings are just as applicable today as they were thousands of years ago.
Ayurveda is one of the oldest surviving traditional medical systems in the world, originating from Indian cultures around 500 years ago. The word Ayurveda is derived from Sanskrit roots – Ayur (life) and Veda(knowledge). The source of the knowledge is originates from the divine books of knowledge known as the Vedas which dates back to 1000BC. The oldest written representations of Ayurvedic principles are found in the Rig Veda. The fundamentals are then laid out in several major scripts, including the texts from Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita, and Vaghbhat Samhita. The beauty in the way these have been explained is that they rely on basic principles which can be applied practically in any day and age.
The knowledge was taught and passed directly from teacher to apprentice, and the art of Ayurveda had spread around in the 6th century BC to Tibet, China, Mongolia, Korea and Sri Lanka, carried over by the Buddhist monks travelling to those lands. Although not much of it survives in original form, its effects can be seen in the various new age concepts that have originated from there.
The Ayurvedic system views health as more than just the absence of disease but as a balance of mind, body and spirit. As a result it has been passed down through hundreds of generations as a comprehensive healing system, evolving to meet the requirements of the time, and yet still maintaining commitment to its original core principles. Various cultures have drawn upon the ideas of Ayurvedic medicine, and it continues to grow and thrive in both the East and the West.
While Ayurvedic principles can be used to explain the complexity of not only health, but also the world around us, there are several simple basics that become the building blocks for everything else:
Ayurveda’s fundamental approach to well-being is that you must reach your unique state of balance in your whole being—body, mind, and spirit.
Ayurveda categorises physical energies as three principles: vata, pitta and kapha. These are explained in more detail below.
The initial method of battling against imbalances is to remove the cause of the problem. If the problem is eliminated, the body can begin to heal itself.
If there are any lingering imbalances after removing the initial cause, then we return the body to a balanced state by introducing opposites to the initial imbalance. For example, the Ayurvedic remedy to excess heat is to use something cooling. So for excess heat or acidity in the digestive system, you could use cooling and soothing herbs like Shatavari.
Always support the digestive system, so that nutrition can be absorbed and waste materials can be eliminated efficiently
Understanding Mind and body types
Vata (space & air)
Composed of air and space, vata is dry, light, cold, rough, subtle/pervasive, mobile, and clear. As such, vata regulates the principle of movement. Any bodily motion—chewing, swallowing, nerve impulses, breathing, muscle movements, thinking, peristalsis, bowel movements, urination, menstruation—requires balanced vata. When vata is out of balance, any number of these movements may be deleteriously affected.
Vata types are known to be creative and energetic when they’re in balance but fearful, stressed and “scatter-brained” when they’re not. Physically, vata types are usually on the thin side, have smaller bones and tend not to put on weight easily. They also might be cold a lot of the time, have a delicate digestive system and have dry, sensitive skin.
Pitta (fire & water)
“Pitta brings forth the qualities of fire and water. It is sharp, penetrating, hot, light, liquid, mobile, and oily. Pitta’s domain is the principal of transformation. Just as fire transforms anything it touches, pitta is in play any time the body converts or processes something. So pitta oversees digestion, metabolism, temperature maintenance, sensory perception, and comprehension. Imbalanced pitta can lead to sharpness and inflammation in these areas in particular.”
Pitta types tend to be smart, hard-working and driven (even competitive) when in balance but can be overly angry and aggressive when they’re not. They tend to have a medium build, be athletic and are versatile in terms of putting on weight or muscle.
Kapha (water & earth)
“Kapha, composed of earth and water, is heavy, cold, dull, oily, smooth, dense, soft, static, liquid, cloudy, hard, and gross (in the sense of dense or thick). As kapha governs stability and structure, it forms the substance of the human body, from the skeleton to various organs to the fatty molecules (lipids) that support the body. An excess of kapha leads to an overabundance of density, heaviness, and excess in the body.
Kaphas are known for being grounded, supportive, loving and forgiving when in balance — almost like a motherly type. However, they can also be lazy, insecure, envious and sad when they’re not in balance.
Ayurveda and Lifestyle
Ayurveda provides several methods to balance doshas and maintain health and wellbeing. The key is to address and find balance between mind, body and spirit. The benefits of Ayurvedic Medicine include:
Helps Lower Stress and Anxiety
Lowers Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
Helps with Recovery from Injuries and Illnesses
Promotes a Nutrient-Dense, Antioxidant-Rich Diet
Can Help with Weight Loss or Maintenance
Helps with Hormonal Balance
Find out your type and what you can do to achieve balance using Auyvreic prinicples here: https://lifespa.com/ayurvedic-health-quizzes/body-type-quiz/