What Is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda literally translates as the “Knowledge of life”. It was originally classified as a Upaveda, a supplementary part of the Vedas, which are the ancient texts that form the core of most religions in India.

Ayurveda arose within the context of the yoga system as a means to prolong the lifespan of human beings within each reincarnation, and thus can be regarded as the healing branch or medical side of the system of yoga. This does not mean that it is a religious dogma but a way of unfolding our spiritual and physical potentials. While one can approach Ayurveda from different spiritual backgrounds, recognition of consciousness as the underlying factor in healing is a great help for applying Ayurveda in an authentic manner.

Ayurveda is a medical science of our entire nature: body, mind and spirit. As such, it is not a mere physical or chemical form of medicine, it is an art, weaving the natural forces within and around us in order to create new forms of harmony and transformation. The aim of Ayurveda is to remedy the root imbalances that lead to disease and create optimal conditions for health and healing. Ayurveda teaches that the foundation of true health is alignment with our spiritual nature and living in harmony with the natural world. Ayurveda’s holistic paradigm and lifestyle therapies perfectly complement modern health care.

Ayurveda follows an organic, naturalistic, and energetic approach, based on the recognition of the life force. In addition, it is also a qualitative type of energetic medicine as it considers the spiritual factors in the disease process and the spiritual qualities inherent in natural substances. Ayurveda is mostly concerned with improving the quality of our lives so we can attain a higher state of consciousness and therefore does not recommend substances or actions that lower consciousness, even if they might balance the life-force at an outer level.

The Theory Of The Three Doshas

Ayurveda understands health in terms of the balance of three principles that are the most fundamental expressions of the unified field on the physical level. These three basic principles, known as the three doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha), underlie and govern all aspects of physiological functioning. All three doshas are present throughout the body, with each one predominating at certain sites and performing specific functions. When the doshas are in balance, the individual enjoys good health and well-being. Imbalance of the doshas, if not corrected, leads eventually to disease. All programs of Ayurveda are designed to restore and maintain the three doshas in perfect balance.

Understanding what you need to do to achieve total health is as simple as understanding Vata, Pitta and Kapha – the three fundamental principles of nature which govern all the activities of your mind and body; Vata is quick, cold and dry by nature. It governs motion, breathing, circulation, elimination and the flow of nerve impulses to and from the brain. Pitta is hot and precise by nature. It governs digestion and metabolism and the processing of food, air and water throughout the body. Kapha is solid and steady by nature. It governs structure and fluid balance and forms muscle, fat, bone and sinew. We all have a certain amount of Vata, Pita and Kapha in our constitution and while all three of them are active, one or two usually dominate. If a dosha has gone out of balance, it can be brought back into balance using measures that are the opposite of those influences that caused the disturbance.