THE KNOWLEDGE OF LIFE
Ayurveda, a branch of Vedic Science, literally means “the knowledge of life” & originated in India as the traditional medical system over 5,000 years ago. The Buddha had an Ayurvedic Doctor & Chinese Medicine’s roots are in Ayurveda. This ancient science works both as a preventative & curative medicine. In India today, there are Ayurvedic medical schools training physicians in: internal medicine, surgery, gynecology, pediatrics, toxicology & gerontology.
It is not necessary to attend Ayurvedic medical school in order to understand or implement Ayurvedic knowledge into daily life. Ayurveda at its root is a simple, practical science which promotes self-care & preventative medicine. According to Ayurveda, we create our state of health based upon how we interact with our environment. By making choices that support our inner nature we can live harmoniously & in balance.
There are 3 constitutions or doshas in Ayurveda: Vata, Pitta & Kapha. These three doshas are comprised of the natural elements: ether, air, fire, water & earth. Everything that is alive has the 5 elements within it & all 3 doshas. However, every living being has a unique blend of the elements & thus the doshas. For example, a person may have more fire within them if they are a natural born leader compared to another person that has more of the water element & prefers to act as a loving support for those around them.
Once the foundations of Ayurveda are understood, it is quite simple to begin looking at what life throws at us through an Ayurvedic lens. ‘Why am I reacting this way?’ ‘Why does my skin feel drier in the winter versus the spring?’ ‘Why am I having trouble sleeping?’ ‘Why is my skin more sensitive than others?’ All of these questions can be answered through understanding your Ayurvedic constitution.
The term Ayurvedic constitution refers to the unique blend of doshas that comprise your body, mind & emotions. The beauty about Ayurveda is that it does not believe in a “one size fits all” prescription for health & wellness. Instead, it looks at each person as an individual. It looks at each symptom or dis-ease as an indicator of the person moving away from their natural balance or prakruti.
Prakruti vs. Vikruti
Prakruti, to be clear, is your Ayurvedic constitution. When you are in balance and not experiencing any symptoms or disease, you are experiencing the state of Prakruti. It is your long term tendencies and where you feel healthy and balanced.
In stark contrast, Vikruti is when you are experiencing imbalance in the body, mind or emotions. When your dosha(s) are out of balance, you are in Vikruti. This state happens when you are simply experiencing a tiny blemish to experiencing a greater imbalance like chronic cystic acne.
The Ayurvedic journey is to rediscover your Prakruti or your natural, healthy, happy state. Ayurveda provides us with a multitude of therapies to help create a harmonious external world that will facilitate healing not only on the outside but deep within our beings.