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Body without mind and spirit is dead. Before I started Yoga Teacher Training, I’d never heard of Ayurveda healing before. I definitely knew about holistic healing and non-traditional methods for maintaining a healthy mind and body. But I had no clue what Ayurveda was. Ayurveda is a science of life (Ayur = life, Veda = knowledge).
“We are wellness. We are consciousness. That is our natural state. Disease is an impostor.”Path of Practice: Ayurvedic Book of Healing with Food, Breath and Sound
By Maya Tiwari
Ayurveda the science of life. It is several thousands of years of science-based on the Vedas. (The Vedas are the world’s oldest existing form of literature.) Ayurveda is one of the world’s most sophisticated and powerful mind-body health systems. The guiding principle in Ayurveda is that the mind and the body are inextricably connected (balance).
Nothing has more power to heal and transform the body than the mind. Ayurveda can be used as a preventive health care system by keeping the body balance. It can also be used as a responsive system to bring the body back into balance.
Traditional health care seeks to treat symptoms. Instead, Arurveda seeks to treat the entire person and seeks to bring him/her back into a state of balance. The balance is achieved through diet, exercise, and lifestyle.
We tend to think that newer is always better. There is new technology coming out every day and we always want the newest gadget. However, just because something is newer, doesn’t mean it’s always better. People often turn to Ayurveda when they experience side effects from traditional western medicine.
“Where advantageous and disadvantageous, as well as happy and unhappy states of life, along with what is good and bad for life, its measurement and life itself are described, that science is known as Ayurveda.”Charak Samhita – Sutra Sthan, Chapter 1, Verse 41
Nature and humans are connected and part of the same cosmos and its universal energies. Ayurveda uses the inherent principles of nature by keeping the individual’s mind, body, and spirit in balance with nature. The goal with Ayurveda is to find your balance, and then stay in balance. Balance means a life that is bestowed with a healthy body, a balanced mind free from negative emotions and filled with divine consciousness.
Ayurvedic philosophy is based on the 5 elements of your body:
- Ether (space) – hollow parts of our body; helps us move around
- Air – inhaled during our breathing
- Fire – digestion; breaks down the food we eat
- Water – about 2/3 of our body and we need water to survive
- Earth – in our bones and in our vital minerals that keep us healthy
The 5 elements in their biological form are present in our body as the Tridosha (fundamental life energies). The doshas govern the function of our body on a physical and emotional level. Ayurveda is the belief that life is not just the beating of a heart and respiration, the sense organs are responsible for gathering knowledge, communication, and our actions.
Tridosha is made up of 3 doshas. The 3 doshas are:
- VATA – ether + air (generally thin people and sometimes hard to gain weight; may tire easily; should stay warm; creative and gets bored easily)
- PITTA – fire + water (generally medium-sized; muscular; intelligent with a sharp wit; good leaders)
- KAPHA – water + earth (sturdier heavy frames; lots of stamina; positive outlook on life; slow eaters; calm and affectionate)
Every activity and function of our mind and body is dependent upon the balanced or unbalanced state of our doshas. Everyone is born with a different and unique balance of the doshas. No two people are alike so the goal is to find what our own special combination of doshas is and to work to keep those balanced. Learning about your doshas can help you work with your natural strengths and strengthen your weaknesses.
Looking for balance? Check out this article on 7 Ways to Be Happier!
I also love this Ayurveda Cookbook for Beginners!