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What is Ayurveda?
This article answers the following questions: What is Ayurveda? How is Ayurveda a science? How does it work? And what is Ayurveda for?
Believe it or not, living in today’s world is easier than ever. Because almost everything is there ready for us to take, we are surrounded by choices, so many, too many in fact. We no longer have to hunt or even grow our food, the supermarkets, and grocery stores have got that covered for us. We no longer have to weave and make our clothes or build our tools, in just a click of a button it will appear right at our doorstep!
The advancement of technology gave us a better picture of our history and we are now capable of creating even more wonders for the future.
In terms of health, we have gone so far that we can now die because of too much food and not from the lack of it. The lifestyle that most of us live in, that which is drawn by comfort, convenience, and way too much self-gratification drives most of us to a lonely and agonizing aging life.
At a quick glance, so much has changed. But in essence, life has not changed.
Up until the time of writing this article, there is no absolute universally agreed fact of how life came to be, we have come to the moon and back, traveling through space but until now, all we have are theories.
And since the dawn of our time, any life form goes through a process. Life starts and ends.
Anything that goes into some kind of process can be studied. All of us have seen, experienced, and observed life.
Scientists and philosophers, however, dedicated their lives to studying life. Among these people are the sages of India where Ayurveda came about.
Ayurveda for Beginners
What is Ayurveda?
The word Ayurveda is composed of two Sanskrit words joined together which are “ayus” (which literally means life) and “veda” (knowledge). Ayurveda therefore literally means knowledge of life or some may say the science of life.
It is an art, science and philosophy of maintaining a well-balanced life. An ocean of knowledge with no absolute origin and has no end. Where there is life, there is Ayurveda.
Widely popular in Asia particularly in India and in Sri Lanka where most of the population continues to seek guidance through Ayurveda, the teachings of Ayurveda have been transcribed by the ancient sages of India and its knowledge continues to grow in practice worldwide.
Ayurveda shares the philosophy that human being is a trio unity of Mind, Body, and Spirit. The awakened consciousness, a quality of the spirit, is what bonds the mind and body so that one can live a healthy life and enjoy eternal happiness. Therefore, the Ayurvedic approach views the individual as a whole and recognizes the relationship between these three aspects of life.
How is Ayurveda a science?
As a science, Ayurveda is a system of medicine that applies the knowledge into practice to maintain health and cure illness by balancing the unbalanced.
“Health according to Ayurveda is defined as having a balance of the 3 dosas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) the substances present in the body to maintain life, a well-balanced digestive system, well maintained bodily tissues, a well functioning excretory system, an awakened consciousness which has the ability to control the mind and satisfy the senses. All these are essential in maintaining the stability of the mind, body, and spirit so that one can be truly healthy.”
It has a unique well-established system of assessment, diagnoses, and treatment of a disease.
Part of the assessment is determining the dosha. Prakruti the unique doshic constitution of an individual from birth and Vikruti the imbalanced constitution currently dominating.
What is Dosha?
According to Ayurveda, we are made up of substances that sustain and maintain life. These substances are the three doshas vata, pitta, and kapha. But the three doshas not only sustain and maintain us, but it also gives us our unique identity.
All three doshas are present in the body. However, one or any combination may be dominant than the other. The dominant dosha determines who you are, your likes, and dislikes. How your body and mind are likely to react from the external and internal environment.
Dosha is like our DNA. The default setting of our being.
There are 7 basic constitution
Doshas are highly volatile, it can increase or decrease and react with each other inside the body. These changes together with other factors can present as a disease.
One key to achieving balance is by effectively treating the imbalanced dosha.
Maintaining the Dhatu
Dhatu or bodily tissues must be well maintained, any imbalance or obstruction may show simple signs and symptoms that if left untreated could progress into a more serious problem.
There are 7 Dhatus according to Ayurveda.
- Rasa (plasma)
- Rakta (blood)
- Mansa (muscle)
- Medas (fat)
- Asthi (bone)
- Majja (bone marrow)
- Sukra (seminal fluid)
Obstructions between the dhatus could produce Ama or toxins.
Providing the Dhatu with the right nourishment and ensuring that all srotas or channels are not obstructed is very important in the maintenance of a healthy body and as a result, ojas or immunity is strengthened.
Balance the Agni
Balancing the agni or digestion is the starting focus of Ayurvedic treatments. Ayurveda believes that for the body to heal, it must have good digestion. If the body can digest properly, nourishing each tissue, and is effectively eliminating waste products then it can heal by its strengthened immunity.
How does Ayurveda work?
We can understand how Ayurveda works by looking at some of its unique features.
1. Ayurveda works with the laws of the universe.
We are surrounded by different universal laws, such for example are the laws of gravity, the law of the time, space, pressure, temperature, and many others. Ayurveda teaches us the knowledge of how these laws affect us, our health, and how to live in harmony with these laws.
2. Emphasis on prevention and promotion of health
The methods of Ayurveda put emphasis on the prevention of diseases and promotion of positive health. By teaching us how to live a balanced life where satisfaction, nutrition, and desires are not sacrificed.
3. Ayurveda is in harmony with nature.
Ayurveda recognizes all life present in the universe, how all things are connected and how much nature has provided us with what we need in life and beyond.
4. Treats an individual as a unique whole according to one’s constitution.
According to Ayurveda each of us has our own individual unique constitution. We are composed of substances that sustain and maintain life, this is observed through the Tri-Dosha concept.
These three doshas can increase, decrease, and/or react with each other and within the body. Imbalances of the dosas cause disease to occur, the Ayurvedic practitioner will examine the imbalance looking at all aspects and treat this according to the person’s constitution.
5. Emphasis on wholesome nutrition and holistic therapies.
One fundamental treatment offered by Ayurveda is making food be thy medicine. It finds a balance of flavor and nutrition. It teaches how food affects our individual constitution and finds cure using the natural wholesome dietary regimen, holistic therapies, natural herbs, and oils. According to Ayurveda, with enough knowledge and practice, anything in nature can be used as a medicine.
So, What is Ayurveda for?
Life in itself has not changed and will not change, it will continue to start and end. The wiser people before us have seen and observed life. And we will continue to see, observe, and learn from life. Ayurveda came to be with its aim to preserve health, relieve suffering from diseases, and to help us achieve the ultimate goals of life.
Welcome to Kahlmah!
My name is Rea, your Ayurvedic coach, and Ayurvedic therapist. At Kahlmah we believe health is our true wealth! We are passionate to share with you how Ayurveda can help to find balance in our lives. We hope you will find our posts useful. Enjoy!