Ayurveda is India's traditional, natural system of medicine that has been practised for over 5,000 years. Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word that means "science of life" or "practices of longevity. "Ayurveda is the science of life or longevity, which helps in the promotion of health, prevention of diseases and in achieving a long life.
Uniqueness of Individuals
According to Ayurveda, each of us have a unique constitution and our health prescription must be unique too. This means that in order to be healthy, you need to eat certain foods that are beneficial for your body type and stay away from others. Your exercise programme, herbal formulations and detox therapies must be personally tailored as well.
The Body Constitution
Every living and non - living entity in this universe is composed of five basic components called Panchmahabutas. These are Ether (sky), Air, Water, Fire and Earth. In living individuals they combine in various permutations and combinations to form Tri Doshas (three Doshas) which form the structural and functional units of life. The human body is also composed of these three Doshas namelyVata, Pitta and Kapha.
What is a Dosha?
According to Ayurveda, each of us has a unique mix of three mind/body principles which create our specific mental and physical characteristics. These three principles are called 'doshas'. Most of us have one or two doshas which are most lively in our nature, with the remaining one(s) less significant.
Ayurvedic Concept of Health & Disease
When doshas stay in a state of balance in the human body, a condition of normal health prevails. On the other hand if the state of balance is disturbed quantitatively as well as qualitatively, the result is a manifestation of disease or poor quality of health.
When body/mind are balanced and harmonious, then the end product is life energy. In Ayurveda we call it PRANA. This PRANA is our health, our immunity, our healing energy, our zest for life, our peace, our joy. The quality of PRANA is quality of life.
A brief summary of the doshas
Vata is a combination or air and ether. Vata governs and controls our physical and emotional development, movements, circulation, as well as the actions of our nervous system.
People who are predominated by Vata resemble the elements of air and ether. They tend to be thin, quick, light, changeable, unpredictable, talkative, enthusiastic and impulsive. Creative people normally have a strong Vata component. When such people are out of balance they tend to be restless and have problems like body aches, stiff joints, arthritis, poor circulation of blood, ageing, intestinal gas, constipation, insomnia, anxiety etc.
Vata is the controller of the life force within us, and it leads the other two doshas.
Pitta is a combination of fire and water, with fire being the dominant one. Pitta governs the metabolism and all other body processes involving heat such as digestion, hormones and energy creation.
People who are predominated by Pitta are fiery in nature, sharp, penetrating, with reddish or flushed complexion, competitive and hot tempered. They normally suffer from problems such as inflammation, heartburn, ulcers, high blood pressure, skin rashes, anger, frustration etc.
Kapha is a combination of earth and water. Kapha governs the body structure, tissues and maintains stability, cohesion, fluid balance as well as biological strength.
People who are predominated by Kapha are solid, steady, have great endurance, are even-tempered and calm with a tendency to gain weight and normally have a large body frame. They generally suffer from problems such as sinuses, obesity, mental and physical lethargy etc.
The unique combination of the three doshas in you that determines your true and essential nature, is referred to as prakriti. Although your prakriti is made up of all doshas, there will be one dosha that predominates.
When there is an imbalance between the doshas, that is known asvikriti.. This would lead to mental and physical illness and disharmony.
Purification and detoxification is an integral part of the Ayurvedic system and would include diet and lifestyle changes, herbal remedies, various detox therapies, yoga, breathing exercises etc. Tailoring treatment is only possible after examining the patient.