The term "ayurveda" thus means 'the knowledge of life' or 'the science of life'. According to the ancient Ayurvedic scholar Charaka, "ayu" comprises the mind, body, senses and the soul.
Many people believe that it is the oldest and most developed science of natural healing system in the world
OBJECTIVE OF AYURVEDA
Ayurveda stresses the prevention of disease and advocates the use of good herbs. Knowledge of this science helps to create this balance health by maintaining a balance in one’s life, right thinking, diet, lifestyle and the use of body, mind and consciousness according to the individual constitution (prakriti) and how to make lifestyle changes to bring about and maintain this balance.
The aim of this system is to prevent illness, heal the sick and preserve life. This can be summed up as follows:
• To protect health and prolong life ("Swasthyas swasthya rakshanam")
• To eliminate diseases and dysfunctions of the body ("Aturasya vikar prashamanamcha")
PRINCIPLES OF AYURVEDA
In Ayurveda we view a person as a unique individual made up of five primary elements. The elements are ether (space), air, fire, water, and earth. In combination, these six (including Prana) facilitate the development of three specific humoral energies in a living organism. These are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These three are called doshas or ‘faults’ because disease occurs when one or more of these three increase beyond the norm for the individual person.
They are mainly of three types, which in our lives determines health or disease:
Vata: It's a composite of the elements of air and ether, is characterized by erratic, cold, active, dry, clear and subtle.
Pitta: It's a composite of the elements of fire and water, is characterized by being intense, hot, oily and sharp.
Kapha: energy is a composite of the elements of water and earth, is characterized by being calm, heavy, cool and moist.
WHAT’S YOUR DOSHA?
The following are the primary characteristics of the three dosha types of Ayurveda: vata, pitta and kapha. So as to determine which is most like you, put a check mark by the descriptions that suit your appearance, personality and behavior. If one column has many more checks then the others, you are likely a single dosha clearly dominates, you are most likely a two-dosha type, with a nearly equal amount of two dosha traints and some of the third. If all three are nearly equal, you’re considered to be tridoshic in Ayurveda, but this is very rare, so you may want to try once ore with the input of a close friend.
Dry, curly hair; usually medium or light brown
Thin, bony physique
Sensitive to noise
Anxious and fearful under stress
Tendency toward nervous disorders
Straight, fine hair; blond red, or early gray
Ruddy, warm complexion
Medium build, muscular
Sound, moderate sleeper
Careful with money
Sensitive to bright light
Irritated under stress
Tendency toward ulcers, heartburn
Thick, bouncy hair; dark brown or black
Oily, smooth skin
Slow and steady
Dislike damp and cold Tolerate extremes well
Deep, long sleeper
Saves and accumulates money but will spend
Sensitive to strong odors
Mostly calm under stress
Tendency toward obesity
Vata—cold and dry: Vata people tend to be thin, have a lot of creative & nervous energy, are prone to anxiety, have variable appetites. They are prone to digestive disturbances and nervous diseases.
Pitta—hot and moist: Pitta people tend to be active doers, have moderate builds, strong metabolism and strong digestion. They are prone to inflammatory diseases.
Kapha—cold and moist:: Kapha people tend to be well, with a slower metabolism, and a calmer, slower style of speech and movement. They have good endurance and stamina, developed but prone to overweight and to diseases related to accumulated mucous.
Out of the three basic forces can seven categories be formed:
- Wind dominated individuals (vata)
- Bile dominated individuals (pitta)
- Mucus dominated individuals (kapha)
- Wind and Bile dominated individuals (vata and pitta)
- Wind and Mucus dominated individuals (vata and kapha)
- Bile and mucus dominated individuals (pitta and kapha)
- Wind, bile and mucus dominated individuals (vata and pitta and kapha in equal proportion)
If toxins in the body are abundant, then a cleansing process known as panchakarma is recommended to purge these unwanted toxins. This fivefold purification therapy is a classical form of treatment in ayurveda. These specialized procedures consist of the following:
• Therapeutic vomiting or emesis (Vaman)
• Purgation (Virechan)
• Enema (Basti)
• Elimination of toxins through the nose (Nasya)
• Bloodletting or detoxification of the blood (Rakta moksha)
Pancha Karma is the cornerstone to Ayurvedic management of disease. Whereas diet, lifestyle and herbal supplements play key roles in creating and maintaining health; Pancha Karma is the process which gets to the root cause of the problem and corrects the essential balance of mind, body, and emotions.
Pancha Karma is not only good for alleviating disease but is also a useful tool in maintaining excellent health. Ayurveda advises undergoing Pancha Karma at the seasonal changes to both keep the metabolism b and keep toxins from accumulating in the Mind/Body. Using Pancha Karma prior to any rejuvenation treatment (herbal tonics and foods) greatly enhances the beneficial effects; for it cleanses the body, improves the digestion and improves the metabolic processes of the Mind/Body.
After Pancha Karma a specific graded diet is followed for seven days to assure that the agni returns to a normal balanced state and that no further Ama (toxins) is formed in the GI tract.