Introduction to Ayurveda, “The Science of Life”

Perhaps you have heard of the term “Ayurveda” before, but not quite sure what it entails. Some know Ayurveda as “the sister science of yoga” which gives you a pretty good idea that it has something to do with ancient Eastern practices and traditions. Originating from India over 5,000 years ago, Ayurveda is a system for total body health and wellness that is still widely practiced today. “Ayur” means life and “Veda” means knowledge, so Ayurveda literally translates to “knowledge of life.” 

Also known as “The Science of Life,” Ayurveda is based on the principle that good health is achieved by balancing the mind, body, and spirit. While there are many different schools of thought within Ayurveda, the basics are relatively simple to understand. In this blog post, we’ll give you a brief overview of Ayurveda and how you can use it to improve your health and well-being.

Ayurveda is not only a system of medicine but a way of life. It offers a holistic approach to health and well-being that includes diet, exercise, meditation, yoga, and massages. This system of medicine also emphasizes preventative care. practitioners believe that it is better to prevent disease than to treat it once it has developed. 

The Three Pillars of Health

Ayurveda teaches that there are three pillars of health: proper diet, positive thinking, and regular exercise. Let’s take a closer look at each of these pillars:

  1. Proper Diet: According to Ayurveda, food is medicine. This means that what you eat has a direct impact on your health and well-being. To achieve optimum health, it is important to eat fresh, whole foods that are nourishing and easily digested. Processed foods, sugary drinks, and alcohol should be avoided as they can lead to imbalance and disease.
  2. Positive Thinking: Ayurveda teaches that the mind and body are interconnected. This means that your thoughts can have a direct impact on your physical well-being. To maintain balance, it is important to focus on positive thinking and develop a healthy relationship with yourself and others. Regular meditation can help quiet the mind and promote feelings of peace and calm.
  3. Regular Exercise: Exercise is key to maintaining balance in the body. Ayurvedic practitioners recommend moderate exercise such as yoga or walking for 30 minutes each day. strenuous exercise should be avoided as it can lead to physical and mental exhaustion. It is also important to listen to your body and rest when needed. 

What are the Three Doshas? 

With an emphasis on balance and preventative measures, this natural approach to healthcare is based on the belief that we are all made of the same five elements found in nature: earth, water, fire, air, and space. These five elements combine in our bodies to create three different energies or “doshas” known as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. 

  • Vata dosha governs movement in the body and is associated with the elements of air and space.  Vata energy is light, dry, cold, moving, and irregular. This dosha controls all movement in the mind and body including blood flow, elimination of toxins, nerve impulses, and breathing. Imbalance in Vata can manifest as anxiety, fearfulness, pain, bloating, and constipation. 
  • Pitta dosha governs transformation and metabolism in the body and is associated with the element of fire. Pitta energy is hot, sharp, intense, liquid, and acidic. It controls metabolism in the body including digestion, absorption of nutrients, and body temperature. Imbalance in Pitta can result in indigestion, heartburn, diarrhea, ulcers, and inflammations such as arthritis or sinusitis. 
  • Kapha dosha governs structure and stability in the body and is associated with water.  Kapha energy is heavy wet, dense, slow, cold, oily, smooth, soft, and solid. It controls growth in the body- cell regeneration, weight gain/loss, and lubrication. Imbalance can create respiratory problems such as allergies or asthma, congestion, and excess mucous. 

The three doshas are in constant flux – they are always changing and moving. However, there are times when they can become imbalanced. When this happens, it can lead to disease and other health problems. Balance is key! An imbalance in any one of these doshas can lead to problems both physically and mentally. That’s why it’s important to learn about all three doshas and how you can keep them in balance. 

To maintain balance, Ayurvedic practitioners recommend certain lifestyle changes as well as taking specific herbs and dietary supplements. 

Once you know your dosha type, you can start making dietary and lifestyle changes to support a more balanced state. For example- if you are mostly Vata energy ( like me! ) you might want to add more warming spices to your diet and make sure to get enough rest. If you find yourself out of balance in any way, Ayurveda provides easy and natural solutions that can help get you back on track.

Dietary Recommendations 

Ayurvedic dietary recommendations are different for each dosha type. In general, however, Ayurveda recommends eating fresh, organic foods that are cooked with healthy fats such as ghee (clarified butter). Dairy products, such as yogurt and milk, should also be included in the diet as they are thought to be tridoshic – meaning they balance all three doshas. 

 Other dietary recommendations include: 

-Eating breakfast within one hour of waking up 

-Avoiding snacking between meals 

-Eating meals at regular intervals 

-Chewing food thoroughly before swallowing 

Making small changes in your diet and lifestyle can go a long way toward promoting balance and good health according to the principles of Ayurveda.  Ayurveda is a holistic approach to health that focuses on balancing the mind, body, and spirit. By following the three pillars of proper diet, positive thinking, and regular exercise, you can improve your overall health and well-being. Start incorporating some of these Ayurvedic principles into your life today.