Ayurveda is considered by many scholars to be the oldest healing science. In Sanskrit, Ayurveda means “The Science of Life.” Ayurvedic knowledge originated in India more than 5,000 years ago and is often called the “Mother of All Healing.” It stems from the ancient Vedic culture and was taught for many thousands of years in an oral tradition from accomplished masters to their disciples. Some of this knowledge was set to print a few thousand years ago, but much of it is inaccessible. The principles of many of the natural healing systems now familiar in the West have their roots in Ayurveda, including Homeopathy and Polarity Therapy.
Ayurveda places great emphasis on prevention and encourages the maintenance of health through close attention to balance in one’s life, right thinking, diet, lifestyle and the use of herbs. Knowledge of Ayurveda enables one to understand how to create this balance of body, mind and consciousness according to one’s own individual constitution called Prakruti, and how to make lifestyle changes to bring about and maintain this balance.
Many factors, both internal and external, act upon us to disturb this balance and are reflected as a change in one’s constitution from the balanced state. Examples of these emotional and physical stresses include one’s emotional state, diet and food choices, seasons and weather, physical trauma, work and family relationships. Once these factors are understood, one can take appropriate actions to nullify or minimize their effects or eliminate the causes of imbalance and re-establish one’s original constitution. Health is order; disease is disorder. Within the body there is a constant interaction between order and disorder. When one understands the nature and structure of disorder, one can re-establish order.
Ayurveda views individuals as a microcosm of nature based on how synchronised the individual’s Doshas are. Doshas in a state of imbalance are believed to be in Vikruti, leading to a weakened immune system and potential disease. The main Doshas are Vata, Pitta, Kapha, present in every living being. They represent the 5 elements (Air, Fire, Earth, Water, Ether) of Nature in different proportions. An understanding of our Doshas can help us make healthy and productive lifestyle decisions so that we can be stronger and more peaceful versions of ourselves.
People tend to be ‘airy’ in movement and speech. Creative, sociable, and artistic, they are talkative, well informed and aware, but prone to switching interests and pursuits. Light sleepers, and fast walkers, with fluctuating digestion, and prone to nervousness and anxiety. They enjoy activities involving speed and mobility, but don’t possess long-term endurance or stamina.
Pitta Dosha People are ‘fiery’. Highly passionate, competitive, and sharp-minded. They are prone to anger, aggression, and jealousy, and impulsiveness, and like to assert their individuality. They are strong-willed, persuasive, perceptive, and discriminating. They are prone to acne, acidity, and dehydration.
Kapha Dosha People are the calmest of the 3, ‘grounded’, and relatively ‘slow moving’. They are tranquil, placid, laid-back, and not easy to irritate. They prefer traditional convention and structure, and the security and sense of organisation they provide. They are prone to weight gain, depression, lethargy, excessive sleeping, and can suffer from a sluggish digestion and respiratory trouble.