"Where does human and nature begin? There is air out there, it is just air
(and) we call it nature. I breathe it in, it becomes my breathe.
Where is the boundary line?
There is calcium in the rock and calcium in my bone. When I ingest calcium from
the rock and put it in my bone, that becomes me, but I do not think of the other
calcium out there as my being. Why not?"
Swami Veda Bharati
Definition: Peacefulness, harmony, equilibrium, equanimity, satisfaction, contenment, santosha.
Simply stated, Ayurveda is a 5,000 year old system of health for the whole person. While new to America, it is the oldest system of healing and it is the sister science of Yoga.
Ayurveda is considered the healing
side of Yoga and Yoga is considered the spiritual side of Ayurveda.
They share the same end goal--that of reconnecting people to their true,
balanced nature so that they may live healthier, more balance, more
peaceful lives. Ayurveda and Yoga combined, create a comprehensive approach
to a balanced body, mind and spirit.
Ayurveda--Sanskrit for the "knowledge, wisdom, science of life."
"Ayus" means life and "veda"
means knowledge or science. The term "Ayurveda" means the
"knowledge of life" or "the science of life."
The ancient Ayurvedic scholar, Charaka,
stated that "ayu" is comprised of body, senses and the soul.
The Rig Veda, written over 6,000 years ago, contains detailed prescriptions
for various human ailments.
Ayurveda is widely considered the oldest form of healthcare in the world and the fundamentals of Ayurveda can be found in the Vedas, the ancient Indian books of wisdom.
Recently, popular books by Deepak Chopra, M.D., and others have called attention to the potential of this ancient healing system.
"Recently (the) National Cancer Institute
funded 11 separate studies on Ayurvedic herbal preparations, as agents
to be investigated for their possible role in the prevention and treatment
of cancer." Link to article here
Oprah + Deepak Chopra = Ayurveda has
arrived and it's thriving.
How Can Ayurveda Help Me?
The goal of Ayurveda is the prevent illness, restore health and extend life. Ayurveda helps us be vital, energized and to realize our highest potential.
When we live in harmony with our nature,
we create health. When we live disharmoniously, we manifest imbalances.
Ayurveda is an intuitive, simple, and complete system for learning how
to live in greater harmony with our environment.
So, Ayurveda is a path back to optimal
health achieved through the balancing of the five elements in the body
and mind. Food choices, herbs, colors, aromas, lifestyle choices,
five sense treatments, yoga and meditation are all tools used in the process.
Sometimes we feel it is indulgent to care for ourselves in this way. It is not. It is when we are balanced that we can be the healthiest, most loving, most effective, clearest and kindest.
Think of your last trip on an airplane.
The flight attendant instructs us, in the event of an emergency, an
air mask will come down. "Put on your own oxygen mask first, before
assisting those around you."
When we invest in our balance, we share that balance with others through
how we live.
Basic Principles of Ayurveda:
The Five Elements:
According to Ayurveda, everything in the universe is made up of a combination of the five elements.
Those elements and there qualities:
The five elements are combined and
represent the three fundamental qualities or bio-energetic forces that
govern the structure and function of the body and mind. Though not measurable,
we observe and experience them all day long.
In Ayurveda, they are known as doshas of which there are three: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. When any of the doshas accumulate, balance is lost. Each person has a unique constitution called prakruti; your individual combination of the three doshas.
Your prakruti is your uniqueness. It
determines what is in harmony for your individual nature and what is
not. Knowing your prakruti is necessary for optimal health.
Have you ever noticed how you may react
to a food differently than others in your family? Or, you may be deeply
attracted or repelled by certain colors, aroma and the like? ("Oh,
I love that color-Oh, I cannot stand it." Or, "I really liked
that movie-I thought it was a waste of time.") This is all influenced
When we understand our prakruti, we can make choices that support our balance. It's that simple. When we don"t, and we are out of balance, we tend to seek out that which makes us more imbalanced.
In Ayurveda, the three doshas are balanced
Vata is involved with the movement
of electricity in the nerves and as such plays a major role in the nervous
system and brain. The movement of food through the digestive system
and circulation of nutrients is the work of Vata.
When Vata is predominant, the body
is thin, light and there is a quickness to the thoughts and actions.
There is a theme of change. Balanced Vata is creative, enthusiastic,
and fun. If there is excess Vata, there may be anxiety, poor digestion,
Pitta is involved in metabolism and
transformation. Pitta's main job is the chemical transformation associated
with digestion and metabolism.
When Pitta is predominant, there is
a muscular frame. Pitta is smart and determined. When balanced, Pitta
is warm, intelligent and a good leader. When out of balance, Pitta shows
itself as critical, irritable, and aggressive.
Kapha is involved in building new tissues
and is responsible for physical structure of the body including muscle
When Kapha predominates, the body frame
is heavier. Thinking is slower and stable. When balanced, Kapha is calm,
sweet, nurturing and loyal. When excessive, Kapha can gain weight, experience
congestion, and resist healthy change.
The purpose of Ayurveda is to maintain
balance between Vata, Pitta, and Kapha and to restore balance among
the three doshas. This balance allows all aspects of us--body, mind
and spirit-to function more optimally so that we may live more peaceful,
When the doshas are out of balance,
they may manifest as such examples:
|Worry, anxiety||Frustration, criticalness||Depression, lethargy|
|Sleep problems||Red eyes, acne||Weight gain|
|Gas, bloating||Acidic stomach||Cravings|
|Lower back pain||Perfectionism||Oily skin|
|Menstrual problems||Burn out||Excessive sleep|
When the doshas are balanced, they may manifest as such examples:
In A Nutshell:
Using the principles of Ayurveda, we come to know ourselves well. We can now make choices that are the most supportive and nourishing to our lives.
We are a distinct blend of the five elements. These five elements combine to create the three doshas. All three doshas are present in each human being, in different amounts, that is prakruti, our constitution, our nature.
To live healthy, happy, peaceful lives, we need the knowledge of our nature and how to balance it. Ayurveda is a profound system based on prevention, maintenance, rejuvenation and self-realization. It is intuitive, simple, and sustainable.