Ayurveda is the mother of all healing systems. Healing systems popular today all have their roots firmly planted in Ayurvedic philosophy. It is considered to be the oldest healing system on our planet. Ayurh means life and veda means knowledge. The wisdom of Ayurveda is one of the richest gifts to humankind. It is the science of life concerned with life’s physical bases that focus on inducing a good relationship of body, mind and spirit. Understanding the basic principles of Ayurveda empowers a person to make conscious intelligent choices that will develop healthy, happy and harmonious living. We come to know nature, to realize we are part of it. Ayurvedic philosophies teach us how to develop a better relationship with all of creation. It serves to heal and to maintain the quality and longevity of our lives.
In Ayurvedic philosophy the entire cosmos is an interplay of the energies of the five basic elements Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. These elements are condensed to form the three doshas known as psycho-physiological functional principles of the body. These elements are present in everybody and everything. Ayurveda groups the 5 elements into three basic types of energy known in sanskrit as Vata, Pitta and Kapha- tridosha.
Vata is a combination of space and air involving attributes of cold, dry, light, mobile, subtle, clear, rough. Any of these qualities in excess in the body can cause imbalance. Vata is the principle of movement. It regulates thoughts, how many you may have per minute to the efficiency of how food moves through the intestines. It governs speech, sneezing, elimination and is responsible for Joy, happiness and creativity. Increased vata causes fear and anxiety. It may show up in excess in the body revealing dry skin, brittle nails, emaciation. Vata is predominant in our age around 45 years onwards. In the environment, it is predominant in Autumn and early Winter. To balance out the dosha we focus on bringing in its opposing attributes such as warming grounding and stabilizing. Substances to introduce would be warm, moist, slightly oily and heavy.
Pitta is a combination of fire and water involving attributes of hot, sharp, penetrating, light, oily, liquid, spreading. Pitta is the principle of metabolism. Everything that enters the body has to be digested. On a physical level what you put into it but also everything you expose yourself to from all of the senses. Pitta regulates temperature, learning, understanding and intelligence. Increased pitta can cause irritability, jealousy, anger. It may show up in excess in the body through skin rashes, diarrhea, ulcers, indigestion, migraine headaches. Pitta is predominate in our age around age 20-45. It is predominent in our environment during summer. To keep pitta into balance you can introduce the opposing attributes of cooling, calming, soothing.
Kapha dosha is a combination of earth and water involving attributes of heavy, cold, slow/dull, oily, liquid, slimy/smooth, dense, soft, static, sticky, cloudy, hard, and gross. Kapha is the principle of anabolism, building up, growth repair creation. increased Kapha can cause obesity, edema, congestion, attachment, greed, depression.
Your dosha is determined the moment of your conception and the ratio that will constitute your unique outcome is from the influence of your parents’ state at that moment. This is your Prakruti
The concepts governing Ayurvedic pharmacology, therapeutics and food preparation are determined by the 20 attributes that make up the tridosha. Having an understanding of their actions helps us to maintain a healthy doshic balance.
“Man is the epitome of the universe. There is in man as much diversity as in the world outside, and there is in the world as much diversity as in man.”Charaka Samhita