Ayurveda, The Science of Life
Jan 12, 2009 12:28PM
By Ranjit Deora
Ayurveda, known as the science of life, is one of the oldest systems of natural health care, originating in India over 5,000 years ago. Now considered one of the leading forms of holistic medicine available in the West, Ayurveda holds that everything you interact with - diet, family, work or relationships- has a direct effect on health and well-being. By addressing the body as a whole, Ayurveda can restore equilibrium when you're ill and can keep the body's natural defense system strong when you're healthy.
According to Ayurvedic principles everything in nature, including our bodies, is made from the five elements of space, air, fire, water and earth. These five elements combine to form the three basic body-mind profiles called doshas. These three doshas called vata, pitta and kapha, govern our entire physical composition and how each of us is uniquely inclined to react and interact with the world around us.
The doshas are powerful and important aids in understanding the characteristics and behavior of each human being and their reactions toward stress, food and the environment. Ayurveda maintains that the main cause of disease is the lack of proper physiological and psychological functions due to an excess or deficiency of vata, pitta or kapha.
Because the mind and the body work in conjunction with one another to regulate our physiology, Ayurveda treats the root cause of illnesses, not just the symptoms. The doshas influence us on every level depending on which dosha dominates within each characteristic - from body type to thinking patterns, from energy levels to digestion. Whichever dosha appears to dominate a person's behavior and physique is called his constitution type. Each constitution type has particular strengths and susceptibilities and can affect your creativity, flexibility, stress resilience, immune system and more.
For example, those with a dominant vata dosha typically have a thin, slender body frame and are clever, active, shy and creative. When imbalanced, vatas may experience worry, insomnia, fluctuating appetite and constipation. Pittas have a medium build and symmetrical frame and are organized, ambitious and driven. When there is an excess of pitta, they are impatient, hostile and exhibit emotional outbursts and may have heartburn, diarrhea and skin rashes. Kaphas are stout and heavy and are relaxed, patient, compassionate and steady. They may experience emotional attachment, clinginess, greed, aching joints, poor digestion and high cholesterol during kapha aggravation.
While each dosha plays an individual role in our bodies, overall good health is achieved only when all three are in balance. Knowing your unique proportions of vata, pitta and kapha is a prerequisite to understanding Ayurvedic diagnosis and treatment. A qualified Ayurvedic practitioner can determine the dominant dosha in your body-mind makeup to prescribe a safe, effective treatment plan.
With the use of special herbs, massage, specific yoga/ meditation techniques, detoxification and purification techniques and sound nutritional advice, Ayurveda enhances the physical and mental health of both distressed and healthy individuals.Â Maintaining the clarity of the senses is an essential part in allowing the mind and body to integrate their functions for optimal health. Yoga and meditation exercises help facilitate stillness and peace so the senses can heighten and healing can occur. If practiced properly, Ayurveda can lead one to a state of complete balance at the physical, mental and spiritual levels.
Yogi Ranjit, owner of Yoga Health Solutions, offers individual and corporate wellness programs and Yoga Therapy. His holistic health programs use the Ayurvedic diet/lifestyle and meditation to restore balance.Â Info: (704) 277-6049 or [email protected].Â