What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is the traditional health care system of India and it is said to be between 5 – 10 thousand years old. Ayurveda and Yoga are sister sciences. Ayurveda is the healing side of Yoga and Yoga is the spiritual side of Ayurveda. The word Ayurveda literally means ‘knowledge of life’ and is the science of life, prevention and longevity. Ayurveda is often called the ‘mother of healing’ because within it are found the roots of all other healing philosophies.

The goal of Ayurveda is to teach people the principles and practices of this health care system so they may be able to keep themselves healthy and disease free. Inherent in Ayurvedic principles is the concept that you are capable of taking charge of your own life and health. You are the only one that can do this, because you are the only one who truly has charge over your actions and deeds. Ayurveda places great emphasis on prevention of symptoms and disease.

What makes Ayurveda different is that it recognizes the uniqueness of the individual. It is not a one-size-fits-all system. Instead, its practices are tailored to each person’s unique constitution and life environment. Ayurveda involves knowing yourself and the needs of your unique body, mind, personality and life circumstances. It also considers all levels of a person and says that the body, mind and spirit are all interconnected. Our bodies are directly impacted by our thoughts, emotions, feelings and choice of lifestyle.

Five Elements and Tri-dosha Theory   

The most fundamental premise in Ayurveda is the five element and tri-dosha theory. According to Ayurveda, the universal life force manifests in everything and everybody in different forms of density or vibration. When matter is in it’s subtlest form and we only perceive emptiness, that is space. Anytime there is movement within space, that is air. When matter gives off heat and light and causes transformation, that is fire. When matter is liquid and fluid, that is water. When matter is solid or hard, that is earth. The five element theory is a different theory from the scientific method we normally view the body, and using this theory helps us to understand our deeper Nature.

The five elements combine in pairs to form three dynamic forces called doshas. The three doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The word dosha means ‘that which changes’ because the life force is constantly moving and changing in a dynamic balance. This is the energy that allows life to happen. Vata is the biological force which governs all motion in the body, Pitta is the force which governs all digestion and metabolism and Kapha is the biological force which governs growth and structure in the body.

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Posted by:  Dorothy Ruggiero, LMT

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