What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest systems of medicine and has been around for over 5000 years. Ayurveda is based on the scientific principles of diagnosing and treatment. The key focus of Ayurveda is how everything is interconnected and the need for balance in the mind, body, and spirit. Two main purposes of Ayurveda are to holistically prevent disease and maintain good health through balancing these three things.
What does the word Ayurveda mean?
The word Ayurveda stems from the Sanskrit term for life (ayur) and knowledge (veda.) Over time, Ayurveda became known as the science of life.
How does Ayurveda work?
Ayurveda is based around the idea that no two people are alike so all treatments are considered to be individual treatments. Every person is treated as a unique person with different needs for healing. The goal of Ayurveda is to restore balance in a person’s bodily energies, which are referred to as Doshas.
What are Doshas?
Doshas are the three energies that are thought to circulate in the body. These combine to form a unique individual and perform different functions in the body. Most people will possess characteristics of the three basic Doshas with one Dosha maintaining dominance. Sometimes two Doshas can be dominant, but it is very rare for all three Doshas to be dominant in one person.
The three Dosha types are:
- Vata Dosha: This energy is linked with the elements of air and space. This kind of energy controls bodily functions that are linked to motion, mobility, blood circulation, breathing, blinking and even your heartbeat. Some of the unique qualities of Vata are light, airy, dry, quick and cold. Those that are in balanced with Vata energy are thought to be creative and energetic, thriving with vitality. Those that are imbalanced may be easily stressed or anxious, sometimes even fearful.
- Pitta Dosha: This energy is linked with the elements of fire and water. This kind of energy is tied to the endocrine and digestive systems. This also includes your body’s temperature and nutrition. Some of the unique qualities of Pitta are acidic, sour, hot, pungent and sharp. Those that are balanced with Pitta energy are often viewed as intelligent, hard-working and content. Those that are imbalanced may be quick to anger.
- Kapha Dosha: This energy is associated with the elements of water and earth. This energy controls body growth and supplies water to all body parts. It’s also tied to the immune system. Some of the unique qualities of Kapha are slow, steady, heavy, oily and cold. Those that are balanced with Kapha energy are often thought to be loving, forgiving, easygoing and supportive. Those that are imbalanced may be insecure, envious, jealousy or even lazy.
Do you choose your dominant Dosha?
The simple answer is no, you do not choose your dominant Dosha(s). Doshas are determined at conception and are our birth constitution, or Prakriti.
Vikriti is your condition and this does change depending on the different variables in your life. Where you live, what you eat, your current lifestyle, what you do for work – all of this affects our condition, or Vikriti. Once you know what your Vikriti is, you can use things like herbs, foods, lifestyle changes, etc. to align your condition with your constitution. When those changes are implemented, you should feel a balance in your mind and body.
If you are looking to improve your mind and body balance, Ayurveda is a fantastic holistic health practice that will focus on your whole self. The key goal of Ayurveda is to treat the whole body and not just spot treat specific problems. Consider pairing meditation and mindfulness with Ayurvedic medicine for improved natural healing.
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