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Ayurveda means the science of life or science of longevity. It is the oldest complete health system of natural holistic healing in the world and originates from India over 5000 years ago. Ayurveda was revealed to the seers of India. These seers or “rishis” understood the principle that well being can be created and destroyed. Ayurveda promotes both positive health and a long life.
Even though Ayurveda is rooted in antiquity it is based in universal principles and truths that never change and therefore Ayurveda is as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago.
Ayurveda is very focused on prevention. Ayurveda can cure the ill and maintain health in the healthy person. It is never too late to start.
Ayurveda has many unique principles due to the understanding that human beings are a microcosm of the greater universe and the relationship of our inner and outer worlds.
Our inner and outer world are made up of these 5 great elements being
Everyone of us have these elements in us in different ratios. Also, these elements are in our environment. The theory in Ayurveda is that like increases like. For example, if we are in a cold environment and we are eating ice cream which will increase cold in the body then an imbalance will more likely occur. All of our food has the same elements in them as well in varying ratios. Therefore, understanding this we can balance our health and system.
These 5 elements combine to represent the Doshas
Ether & Air = Vata
Fire & Water = Pitta
Water & Earth = Kapha
Ayurveda teaches that health is maintained by the balance of these three subtle energies known as Doshas. The Doshas are in every cell of the body.
Vata creates all movement in the body and is the king of the Doshas.
Pitta gives all transformation in the body
Kapha gives strength, stability and lubrication to the body.
The basis of all Ayurvedic treatments are designed to bring these Doshas into harmony. Due to this the focus is on “causes” and uprooting the cause instead of treating isolated symptoms.
Due to investigating diet, lifestyle and family history etc Ayurveda can see what could manifest if a person keeps on the same track. In our culture disease can only be seen when it has progressed and often to a stage that is just manageable rather than being able to cure and often with medicines and protocols that make the person unwell. Through daily practices, understanding our constitution, balancing foods, right actions and working with the seasons we put ourselves in good stead to enjoy life and health longer
Concept of Trigunas. – The Trigunas are the three universal qualities which pervade all creation. The three aspects of the Mind are Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. These three qualities affect our mind as well as the body.
Sattva – on a universal level it is vast and clear space. Within our being it is perception and the knower. Sattva is the light of consciousness and potential energy. We are always striving to be more sattvic in nature. Sattvic people are noble and spiritual.
Rajas – rajas is the movement of perception, which becomes the process of attention. Rajas is the energy. Rajasic people are intellectual and vulnerable to temptations, are very human in their character and approach to life.
Tamas – is the experience. Tamas is also inertia. If there is no tamas there is no experience. Tamas is dullness, darkness & inability to perceive. It is characterised by heaviness and resistance. It is the mind clouded by ignorance & fear. Tamasic individuals are the most down to earth, concerned about fundamental questions of practical existence, especially when confronted by more spiritual and less physical issues.
Prakruti is our constitution that never changes and is created at conception.
Vikruti is a state that varies from our Prakruti. The Doshas become disturbed due to lifestyle, diet such as eating in a way that does not suit the Prakruti, where we live, how we think etc.
Agni in Sanskrit means digestive fire. The main Agni is called the Jathara Agni and is located in the stomach and intestinal tract. Agni digests and transforms the food we eat. There is also Agni in our cells and tissues that digest the ahara rasa (digested food) through our body to nourish our whole system. Agni is the most important aspect in Ayurveda for good health. When our Agni is poor this is the main cause of disease due to the formation of Ama that lodges in our body.
Ama (described as toxins) which comes from improper digestion It is sticky and lodges in our tissues which creates disease.