What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is known as the 'Mother of all healing systems' because it pre-dates all other healing therapies and natural medicines. Ayurveda is a complete knowledge of life that teaches us how to live in tune with nature and elevate ourselves into the higher realms of happiness - the ultimate goal in life.
The term Ayurveda is composed of two Sanskrit words – Ayu meaning life & Veda meaning knowledge or science. This “Science of Life” originated in India over 5000 years ago, making it one of the world’s oldest healthcare systems. It is not merely a health care system to treat ailments but a complete philosophy that encourages the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle.
According to Ayurveda, each individual is unique, a combination of physical, mental & emotional characteristics which are known as his/her constitution (Prakruti). Many factors both internal as well as external can affect this constitution; including one’s emotional state, diet, daily food choices, season and weather, physical trauma, job and family relationships.
Once we understand that these factors can cause an imbalance in our constitution we have a choice to take appropriate action to remove or reduce their effects to eliminate the cause.
Within the body there is constant interaction between order and disorder. Once we understand the nature and structure of disorder one can establish order. There is a powerful relationship between humankind and environment. When we choose to live outside this balance, our systems’ struggle to maintain equanimity. When the balance between the two is maintained, all our systems function optimally.
Ayurveda recognises three primary energies, Vata, Pitta & Kapha.
Together they regulate every physiological and psychological characteristic from basic cellular processes to the most complex biological functions. When these forces are in a state of natural balance the defence mechanism of the body works at peak efficiency.
Vata – represents the momentum. It is responsible for all the bodily activities and sensations. It controls the movement of blood through the circulatory system, breathing, the delivery of nutrients to the cells and the removal & excretion of waste products.
Pitta – represents metabolism. It governs digestion and metabolic transformation of nutrients into biologically usable forms. It also imparts the capacity to absorb ideas and impressions and bestows intelligence and an enthusiasm for life.
Kapha – provides substance and support. It gives strength and stability, both physically and psychologically. It enhances resistance to disease and promotes the healing process.
To learn how to balance the body, mind and consciousness requires an understanding how Vata, Pitta & Kapha work together.
Vata – In balance, it promotes flexibility & creativity.
Out of balance it produces fear & anxiety.
Pitta - In balance, it promotes understanding & intelligence.
Out of balance it produces anger, hate & jealousy.
Kapha – In balance, it promotes love, calmness & forgiveness.
Out of balance it produces attachment, greed & envy.
Ayurveda uses diet, lifestyle and herbs appropriate to individual constitution
to strengthen the body, mind and consciousness.
Life challenges us with many opportunities.
Although there is much over which we have little control, we do have the power to determine
our diet and lifestyle. Ayurveda teaches us that when we recognise their importance and
choose to give attention to these, our individual balance and health is achieved.