WHAT IS AYURVEDA?Ayurveda, a branch of Vedic Science, literally means “the science of life” and originated in India as the traditional healing system over 5,000 years ago. Considered one of the oldest forms of medicine, this ancient science works both as preventative & curative medicine, which promotes daily self-care as a means to acquire perfect health.
Ayurveda is the fundamental root of traditional Chinese Medicine and even the Buddha, himself, utilized Ayurvedic remedies. In India today, there are Ayurvedic medical schools training physicians in internal medicine, surgery, gynecology, pediatrics, toxicology & gerontology.
What makes Ayurveda practical is that it is not necessary to attend Ayurvedic medical school in order to understand or implement Ayurvedic knowledge into your daily life. According to Ayurveda, we create our state of health based on how we interact with our environment. By making choices that support our inner nature we can live harmoniously and in balance.
WHAT ARE THE DOSHASThere are 3 constitutions in Ayurveda: vata dosha, pitta dosha & kapha dosha. These 3 doshas are comprised of the elements: ether, air, fire, water & earth. Everything that is alive has the 5 elements within it & all 3 doshas. However, every living being has its own 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 and prefers to act as loving support for those around them. The amount of each dosha present within you offers the framework for your life experience.
Doshas may be in or out of balance based on many factors. The time of day, the current season, your stage of life, the daily lifestyle choices that you make, are all constantly affecting the doshas. Ayurveda provides us with helpful self-care practices which allow us to create a harmonious external world that will facilitate healing not only physically but also deep within our beings.
AYURVEDIC CONSTITUTIONOnce 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. Some may have one predominant dosha that rules their constitution or some may be considered duel doshic or even tri-doshic. 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 with a unique expression of the elements. It sees each tendency, symptom or disease as an indicator of the person moving away from their natural balance or prakruti.
PRAKRUTIPrakruti is the Ayurvedic constitution, or the doshic state of balance, that you are born with. You came into this life with specific characteristics & tendencies that define you & stay constant throughout your lifetime. This is your prakriti. When you are truly in balance, healthy without any symptoms or disease, you are in the state of prakruti.
A common misconception is that when we attempt to bring ourselves back into alignment, we are trying to equalize vata, pitta & kapha in our mind, body experience. Yet, this is not the goal. Balance means that vata, pitta & kapha are restored to your unique prakrutic state of being.
VIKRUTIVikruti is when you are experiencing an imbalance in your body, mind or emotions. Any imbalance signifies that one or more of your doshas are out of alignment & you are in a current state of vikruti. This state happens when you are experiencing a tiny blemish to a much greater imbalance like chronic cystic acne. Doshic imbalances notify you to make changes in your current state of being in order for your doshas to return home to their ideal state of balance, your prakruti.
Ayurveda provides us with a multitude of daily practices, food guidelines, herbal remedies and body therapies to help create a harmonious external and internal world that will facilitate healing not only physically and mentally, but also deep within our beings.
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