“Ayurveda is the science of life and it has a very basic, simple kind of approach, which is that we are part of the universe and the universe is intelligent and the human body is part of the cosmic body, and the human mind is part of the cosmic mind, and the atom and the universe are exactly the same thing but with different form, and the more we are in touch with this deeper reality, from where everything comes, the more we will be able to heal ourselves and at the same time heal our planet”.
Ayurveda means “science of life”
Ayurveda originated in India more than 5,000 years ago and is believed to be the oldest healing science in existence, from which all other systems emerged. Pronounced “Aa-your-vay-da”, this ancient healing system has three main focuses:
- Healing illness
- Prevention of disease
- Longevity or age reversal
Ayurveda explains the laws of nature that cause health or disease. The first cause of illness is said to be the loss of faith in the Divine or experiencing a spiritual emptiness. From here illness develops due to internal conditions (e.g., foods and liquids) or external conditions (e.g., seasons, lifestyle). The main factors that cause poor health (also described as imbalances) are
- Poor digestion
- Weak immune systems
- Stressful lifestyle
When food is not properly digested it sits in the body. Nutrients are not absorbed and the food decays and forms toxins. These toxins cause most diseases in the body. Therefore, it is important to have good digestion.
The immune system can become depleted by poor nutrition, overwork, drugs and other excesses. The finest essence of nutrition develops a life sap that protects the immune system, much like the sap of a tree heals the bruises in its bark. With all the immune disorders that are prevalent these days, it is even more important that persons develop their immune sap.
What makes Ayurveda so unique?
- This spiritual science offers numerous unique benefits:
- It looks at people as individuals, not as a generic group.
- It heals from the root-cause of an illness, not merely treating the symptoms.
- Only natural therapies are offered.
- No side effects develop from the therapies.
- Therapies are inexpensive and effective
How does Ayurveda Work?
The basic view of Ayurveda is that all of life (people, food, animals, nature, the universe, and diseases) are combinations of three energy-elements: air (called Vayu or Vata), fire (called Pitta), and water (called Kapha). When these elements are balanced, one is healthy. Illness is defined as an imbalance of these elements; all disorders are excesses of one or more element.
A person’s constitution (dosha) is predominantly one or more of these elements. Each element relates to certain body types, foods and health concerns. By nature, whatever a person’s constitution is, they have a tendency for it to become excessed. For example an air constitution person (Vayu dosha) is thin and bony. Physical symptoms of excess air include dry skin, cracking bones, gas and constipation. Mental symptoms of excess air include fear, worry, anxiety and nervousness. When an air constitution (Vayu dosha) person is balanced they are creative, adaptable and have no physical health concerns.
Ayurveda notes that certain foods increase air and other foods reduce air. In general, excess air is reduced by eating cooked or steamed foods, and eating every three or four hours. Foods like carrots, rice and mung beans reduce excess air. Broccoli, baked beans and barley increase air (e.g., they cause gas). Excessive lifestyles also increases the air element.Fire constitution people (Pitta dosha) tend towards excess heat. When healthy they are strong, make good leaders and are warm and goal oriented. When the Pitta dosha is imbalanced, mentally they become hot tempered, impatient, irritable.
Physically they develop heat-related disorders such as acne, rashes, diarrhea, ulcers, toxic blood, liver, kidney, gall bladder, heart and spleen disorders.Water constitutions (Kapha doshas) tend towards excess water. When healthy they are strong, muscular, calm and loyal. When water becomes excessed, they develop lethargy, and a hoarding or greedy nature. Physically they develop congestion, overweight, edema, heart and kidney problems, etc.