Ayurveda or the “science of life” is a complete and sophisticated mind-body health system originating from ancient India. Ayurveda is the oldest health science known that truly considers the human being in its entirety – mind, body and soul. Ayurveda practised holistically empowers the individual with the wisdom to lead a life of complete balance.
The knowledge of Ayurveda is embedded in one of humanity’s oldest texts the Vedas. The four Vedas – Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva have been constructed over thousands of years of written and spoken transmissions of knowledge. The Vedas explain ancient knowledge of healing practices such as herbal preparations, lifestyle recommendations, yoga, dietary requirements, meditation/prayer and a diverse range of treatment practices including massage and Pancha Karma (detox therapies).
In Ayurveda, it is believed that the Pancha Mahabhutas or five elements create all matter in the universe including the human body. The five elements are:
Jala (Water) and
Ayurveda states that at the time of human conception, the five Pancha Mahabhutas (elements) combine to form energies called Doshas. The three Doshas of Vata, Pitta and Kapha are all present within every molecule, cell and organ of the human body to some degree. However, each individual has one, two or even three equal primary Doshas that form the very essence of their general physical make up and disposition. Each Dosha has particular characteristics or Gunas which drive our bodies most basic functions:
VATA (AIR + ETHER): Qualities include; cold, light, dry, irregular, rough, moving, quick, changeable.
PITTA (FIRE + WATER): Qualities include; hot, light, intense, penetrating, pungent, sharp, acidic.
KAPHA (WATER + EARTH): Qualities include; heavy, slow, steady, solid, cold, soft, oily.
Our most natural, balanced and pre-determined constitution is called Prakriti. This Sanskrit term means “nature”, “creativity” or “the first creation”. Our Prakriti (formed at conception) is fixed throughout our lifetime, and is an individuals’ unique combination of the Doshas. Put simply, Prakriti is our most optimum self that is free from illness and disease. In opposition, Vikriti is a current state of imbalance in an individuals Doshas. As an example, constant interaction with a particular environment, poor food choices or imbalanced emotions can effect our Prakriti and lead to Vikriti, a state of illness and disease.
In Ayurvedic medicine, practitioners work on treating the patients’ body holistically, looking at mechanical, systemic and energetic imbalances. Ayurvedic medicine focuses on treating the root cause of any imbalance, thereby eliminating initial acute symptoms and further manifestation of the disease or illness. Ayurveda equips each individual with simple skills and knowledge to live in alignment with their balanced natural constitution throughout their lives.
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