What is Ayurveda
Ayurveda is an ancient knowledge cultivated by the sages of India. It has been developed from various treatises and manuscripts and has made its way to becoming one of the ancient most but modern health care techniques. ‘Ayur’ means life and ‘Veda’ means science. Thus, the term Ayurveda means ‘science of life’. The theories and notions of Ayurveda have been practiced since the past 5000 years. It recommends methods for appropriate living and longevity. It includes instructions to maintain good health as well as dealing with illness through yoga, treatments, herbal medicines, correct diet and lifestyle changes.
The Ayurvedic Treatment Philosophy
According to Ayurveda it is possible for you to live a long and healthy life through intelligent co-ordination of your body (sharira), mind (mana), senses (indriya) and soul (atma).
Ayurvedic science revolves around the five elements (panchmahabhoot) i.e. earth (prithvi), water (jal), fire (agni), air (vayu), ether (aakash) that goes into the making of the three physical energies – Vata, Pitta, Kapha and the three mental energies – Satwa, Rajas and Tamas which inturn determines the constitution (prakriti). Ayurveda thus offers a unique blend of science and philosophy that balances the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual components necessary for holistic health.
Science of Ayurveda
Ayurveda is not just an Ancient Indian Medical system, but a complete guide to healthy living. It has been around for several thousands of years and has stood through the test of time. Ayurvedic physicians were doing surgeries and other complex medical procedures long back– while in modern science its a very recent phenomenon. The vedic philosophy believes that the entire universe is one – whether it is human beings, animals, plans or non-animate objects. Hence, there is interdependence on each other. Ayurveda believes in creating hamony of the human body-mind-soul with the surrounding and nature. Hence, the focus of Ayuveda extends far beyond healing physical ailments but to mental and spiritual realms of helping a person attain the highest self realistion.
Body types as per Ayurveda
Ayurveda believes that each individual has its own unique body constitution like the thumbprint. It is a blend of three body types that include mental, physical and emotional aspects. These are known as doshas in Ayurvedic scriptures. These Doshas are further classified as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
Vata represents space and air. It governs all physiological movements like breathing, talking, circulation, assimilation of food, urination, menstruation etc. People who possess this dosha have fast body movement and quick thought process. Vata dosha gives force to the other two Doshas.
Pitta represents fire and water. It is the biological energy that functions through organic acids, hormones, enzymes, and bile. Physiologically, Pitta controls aggression, joy, willpower and mental perception.
Kapha represents water and earth. An individual dominated by this dosha is ruled by emotions like love, greed, patience, forgiveness, and attachment. It is this dosha that provides the body its physical form and structure.
Ayurvedic herbs are extracted from different parts of the plant – leaves, nuts, seeds, bark, roots and so on. There are thousands of such herbs and their combinations which are available as medicines. The method of processing & extraction also varies greatly – while some are extracted by boiling in water, some are used to make herbal wines and others are used directly for ingestion. Combination of herbs which are described in Ayurvedic scriptures are called “classical medicines” while those which have been formulated by pharmaceutical companies are called “proprietary medicines”. It is advisable to consult an Ayurvedic Doctor before starring any medication
Ayurvedic diet is prescribed as per the prakruti (body constitution) and vikruti (imbalance in the body) of a person. Hence, Ayurvedic diet recommendations vary from person to person. Some examples of Ayurvedic diet are given below
Food to Have: Favour foods that are warm, heavy, and oily.
Food to Avoid: Cold, dry, spicy, bitter, astringent etc
Food to Have: Foods that are cool, refreshing and liquid. Vegetables and fresh organic fruits.
Food to Avoid: Spicy, salty or sour foods.
Food to Have: Foods that are spicy, bitter, and astringent.
Food to Avoid: Sweet, salty, and sour.