Ayurveda is a comprehensive system of healthcare that has been practiced in India for over five thousand years. It is thought to be the world’s oldest healing system and is commonly referred to as the “mother of all sciences.” Ayurveda, in Sanskrit, means “science of life” (ayu means life, and veda means science). Rooted in ancient books of wisdom known the Vedas, Ayurveda is deeply spiritual and encompasses life in its totality. It epitomizes a true body-mind approach to health and wellness.
Ayurveda defines health as a balance of body, mind, and spirit – a balance that includes being in harmony with one’s environment and the cosmos. The goal of Ayurveda is to achieve this balance and harmony in order to live life to its fullest potential. When imbalance occurs, one’s outlook and approach to life suffers, and illness can result. To restore balance, Ayurveda combines natural therapies with a highly individualized regimen. When back in balance, and with health restored, one’s outlook is in sync with life, the environment, and the well-ordered universe.
To determine whether a balance or imbalance is present, Ayurveda uses the patient’s body-type or constitution (called dosha) to make an assessment. In Ayurveda our dosha is made up of a combination of the five universal elements – space, air, water, fire, earth. The combination of space and air dosha is called Vata, fire and water dosha is Pitta, earth and water dosha is Kapha. Each person contains elements of all three doshas in their own unique balance with one predominating. Vata governs movements in the body, such as nerve impulses, circulation, respiration, elimination. Pitta governs metabolism, including digestion and absorption. Kapha is responsible for growth and the immune system. Should one dosha become excessive or depleted, a plan is formulated to correct the imbalance. Treatment takes into account the fact that Vata, Pitta, and Kapha are also present in the food we eat and in our environment. As Ayurveda takes a holistic approach to healing, a regimen might include specific lifestyle and nutritional guidelines, vitamin and mineral supplements, herbs and homeopathy, and a detox or cleansing program for impurities. Breathing techniques, yoga exercises, and meditation might also be part of the plan.
Ayurveda is a healing regimen as well as a health maintenance program. Prevention is a main focus of Ayurveda and imbalances can be detected before the manifestation of illness. Overall, Ayurveda is a way of life – a path to fulfillment, health, happiness, harmony, and bliss.