Ayurveda is translated as the science of life (‘ayu’, meaning ‘life’, and ‘veda’, meaning ‘knowledge.’). Ayurveda is a 5,000 year old medical healthcare system which is a sister science to yoga. It is believed to be the oldest medical system (older even than Traditional Chinese Medicine). It’s a holistic healing system that look at the a whole lifestyle, including herbal medicine, diet, daily routines, exercise, mind, philosophy and spirituality.
According to Ayurveda we have our own unique constitution which is a mix of 3 Doshas - Vata (Air + Space), Pitta (Fire + Water) and Kapha (Earth + Water). Each dosha has a unique blends of physical and psychological characteristics, we often have one dosha that is dominant. When your Doshas are balanced you can live to 100 years. Our unique ratio is called our PRAKRITI known as our natural state when everything is balanced. Once we know our unique constitution this guides us to a lifestyle that will allow you to live a healthy life.
We are born with our constitution and this doesn't not change, you may naturally be creative, think quickly, have tall thin body frame, tend to have dry skin and feel cold like Vata, but when we go out of balance you may experience bloating, eczema, lose appetite, have upset tummy or feel anxious. These are all signs that our body is out of balance, we’re not supporting our natural constitution.
THE AYURVEDA DEFINITION OF HEALTH
Prasanna Atmenindriya manaha
The above is a Sanskrit sloka from the ancient Ayurvedic texts which state; he doshas must be in equilibrium, the digestive fire must be in a balanced state and the tissues (dhatus) and malas (waste) must work in a normal state. The sensory and motor organs and mind, and soul (atma) must be also in an awakened state. Such a person is deemed to be healthy and happy or Swastha.
The doshas that are present in the body and mind, namely vata, pitta and kapha, must be in a balanced state in order to keep a person healthy. When the balance of the doshas is disturbed, either aggravated or decreased (vitiated) it produces a state of Dosha Vaishamya, which is called disease.
In order to keep an individual healthy, their digestive fire (koshtagni) and dhatuagni (tissue enzymes) must be in a proper state. When the quality of agni is decreased ( Mandagni) it will cause many diseases (“Rogaha Sarvepi Mande Agnou”). It is well known that the health of an individual depends on the proper strength of his digestive power.
The seven tissues and three excreta of the body must be in a balanced state to function properly. According to Ayurveda there are seven Dhatus namely Rasa, Rakta, Mamsa, Medas, Asthi, Majja and Shukra
The three excreta or Malas are Purisa (faeces), Mutra (urine), Sweda (sweat).
In Ayurveda the functions of the sensory and motor organs and mind have been given special importance. When these are not in equilibrium and not discharging their functions properly, it will lead to a state called disease.
The state of mental health is more important than that of the physical health of a person.
Awakened consciousness is the main ligation, which ties the mind and body together to achieve eternal health and happiness
The healthy state is maintained from birth and the three doshas remain in a balanced state, then the person achieves a well - balanced constitution, attractive appearance, good muscular strength and complete peace of mind. Good health can be maintained until death. For this one should intelligently follow all the rules laid down according to this science. Only then will a person enjoy an optimum life span of a hundred years without contracting disease. He will also gain recognition in society, friendship with people and honour and wealth as he has the energy and ability to achieve all the goals
THE FIVE ELEMENTS
Air, Space, Fire, Earth, Water
Everything is made up the five elements.
THE THREE DOSHAS
Vata, Pitta, Kapha
THE 20 QUALITIES
THE THREE GUNAS
Joann Buchan is a member of the AAPUK
AAPUK is a not-for-profit organisation established to raise awareness of Ayurveda for the benefit of the whole human community through public education and other mediums and is dedicated to the support and representation of Ayurvedic Professionals in the UK and abroad.
The organisation represents Ayurvedic professionals – doctors, practitioners, therapists and students – both as beneficiaries and torchbearers of Ayurveda in the West. It aims to be a community led organisation benefitting from the expertise of medical authorities and universities in the field from both sides of the world.
Ayurveda is increasingly recognised as the oldest and most intelligent system of healing known to man. AAPUK is aimed at protecting and promoting its most authentic expression in the modern world.
The Three DOSHAS (Tridosha)
(AIR + SPACE)
Vata is the principle of movement, the air and space within the body and the subtle energy that governs biological movement. Vata governs breathing, blinking of the eyelids, movements in the muscles and tissues, pulsations in
the heart and all expansion and contraction. Vata also governs such sensations, feelings and emotions as nervousness, fear, anxiety, pain, tremors and spasms. The large intestine, pelvic, bones, skin, ears and thighs are the seats of vata. If the body develops an excess of vata, it will accumulate in these areas.
(FIRE + WATER)
Pitta is translated as fire, the bodily heat-energy, which manifests as metabolism is not visible like a naked flame. Pitta governs digestion, absorption, assimilation, nutrition, metabolism, body temperature, skin coloration, the
lustre of the eyes; and also intelligence and understanding. Psychologically, pitta arouses anger, hate and jealousy. The small intestine, stomach, sweat glands, blood, fat, eyes and
skin are the seats of pitta. Pitta is formed from the elements fire and water.
(EARTH + WATER)
Kapha cements the elements of the body, providing the material for physical structure. Kapha lubricates the joints, provides moisture to the skin, helps heal wounds, fills the spaces in the body, and gives biological strength vigour and stability. Kapha also support's memory retention, gives energy to the heart and lungs and maintains immunity. Kapha is present in the chest, throat, head, sinuses, nose, mouth, and stomach, also joints, cytoplasm, plasma, and liquid secretions of the body such as mucous. Psychologically, kapha is responsible for emotions of attachment, greed and long standing envy; it is also expressed in tendencies toward calmness, forgiveness and love. The chest is the seat of kapha.