What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a natural way of healing the human body which originated in India around 5000 years ago. The word Ayurveda is a combination of two Sanskrit words ‘Ayur’ and ‘Veda’ which means Life and science or knowledge respectively. Believing the fact that we fall sick or catches illness due to the certain imbalance created in the body or due to stress, Ayurveda encourages us to follow a lifestyle and some natural therapies to create a balance between the person’s body, mind, and the environment. With its healing ways, it improves the general wellness of the human body and mind by going into the root cause of the problem.
Treatment in Ayurveda
As we have already discussed that Ayurveda treats the person by following a certain lifestyle, so this starts with an internal purification followed by the five most important pillars of Ayurveda that is a special diet, herbal remedies, massage therapy, Yoga and medication.
Primarily, the body constitution that is called the Prakriti and the Life forces called Doshas forms the basis of the medication in Ayurveda. The treatment aims at eliminating impurities from the body, increasing resistance to fight the disease, reducing the symptoms and stress, and finally creating harmony in life. In the Ayurvedic treatment Herbs and plants, oils and certain spices are used.
It is a form of medical treatment where the people practicing it goes through extensive training at state-recognized institutions from where you can study Ayurveda in India.
How Ayurveda Works?
In Ayurveda, the primary qualities that govern the body are called Doshas. The combination of five elements of nature that is water, earth, fire, air, and space forms the three Doshas. These Doshas are Vata, pitta, and Kapha. When these Doshas are perfectly balanced then the body and the state of mind are considered to be a healthy while and when they fall out of place, then it is called the state of ‘Vikruti’ that is an imbalanced state of mind. It can be due to stress, anxiety, exertion or dehydration. Irrespective of the person’s age Ayurveda brings the three Doshas into balance and thus achieves good health and a balanced state of mind.
The concept of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha:
Our biological energies that are found throughout the body and mind are called the Doshas. They govern all the process going into our bodies. The three Doshas in our body are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
Vata is made up of air and space. Vata is known as the king of all Doshas. A person with Vata constitution will have the qualities of air and space. The body frame of people with Vata constitution are thin, their weight is hard to gain and easy to lose. They are quick thinkers and moves fast. Their skin is cold and dry and hair is frizzy and thin with small eyes. They have an irregular appetite. The person with a balanced Vata is active, very creative and has the natural quality of expressing and communicating well. When an imbalance is created in the Vata constitution, it brings with it anxiety, bodily disorders such as dry skin and constipation.
Colon, thighs, bones, hips, joints, ears, skin, brain and nerve tissues are the places in the body where the Vata is located and they control body movements, breathing, talking, nerve impulses, circulation, tissue, and muscle movement, urination, and menstruation cycle. If we talk about the psychological aspects then it governs the communication and creativity, and quickness of thought in a person.
How to balance Vata:
- Eat warm, moist and cooked food.
- Prefer sweet, sour and Salty taste.
- Follow a regular routine which includes regular meals, exercise, meditation and sleeping and waking time.
- Massage daily with almond or sesame oil
- Go to bed early
- Do gentle physical exercise like Yoga, swimming or walking.
- Avoid erratic schedule, too much traveling, using electronic gadgets like smartphones, tablets or laptops.
A Person with a pitta constitution has qualities of fire and water thus has a fiery personality and oily skin. It is the energy of digestion and metabolism. It functions in the body through substances such as hormones, enzymes, bile, and organic acid. The body frame of these people is medium built and muscular. They can easily gain and lose weight. As they have oily skin so they easily get freckles, acne and experience sunburns. With straight and fine hair they experience premature greying.
These people are very bright, witty, direct and intelligent though sometimes they can be arrogant as well. They are very sharp people as they learn quickly and don’t forget easily. With a clear, sharp and articulate speech, they have a competitive spirit and are intense.
Pitta is located in the small intestine, liver, spleen, stomach, pancreas, blood, eyes and sweat. Pitta provides heat and energy to the body. Psychologically pitta governs emotions like joy, courage, will power, anger, jealousy and mental perception in a person. A person with a balanced pitta composition enjoys a joyful disposition, a sharp intellect, and tremendous valor. On the other hand, a person with an imbalance creates hell for others as they are guided with anger, rage, and ego and cause infection, inflammation, rashes, ulcer, heartburn, and fever in the body.
How to balance Pitta:
- Eat food that is nourishing and refreshing and is not overheated
- Eat sweet, bitter and astringent taste
- Keep the body cool
- Do regular and moderate exercise, Avoid stimulants and acidic food
- Do meditation and indulge in self-care and self-reflection
Kapha is made from the elements of earth and water. It provides the body with physical form, good structure and smooth functioning of all parts. It can be considered as cement, glue, and lubrication of the body. The people with Kapha’s compositions have a broad, strong and curvy body. They can easily gain weight but do not lose easily. They have oily, wavy and thick hair and oily fair and soft skin. Their appetite is steady.
These people are calm, stable, grounded, stubborn and greedy. They tend to learn and forget easily. They talk slowly and softly have a melodious voice which is deep and low. As they are calm people, they like to get engrossed in leisure activities and live a routine life.
Kapha is located in the chest, throat, lungs, head, lymph, fatty tissues, connective tissues, ligaments and tendons in the body. Psychologically Kapha governs emotions like love, patience, forgiveness, greed, attachment and mental inertia. But in an imbalanced state of mind and body, it gives rise to bodily disorders like obesity, sinus, congestion, and mucous related problems. Mental imbalance may lead to lethargy, depression, and attachment.
Ways to balance Kapha:
- Eat food that is light, warm and cooked
- Add exercise into your daily routine
- Eat food that is bitter, pungent and astringent
- Wake up at sunrise
- Avoid naps during the day
- Eat light food in morning and evening and heavily during the day
- Avoid luxurious life
- Focus on non-attachment
- Be nice but don’t let take advantage of you.
Your progress towards a balanced and healthy lifestyle begins with following the guidelines given above and understanding the need of your body. As you are in charge of your own mind and body so it becomes essential to take charge as soon as possible which will lead to a happy and healthy state of mind. To understand the concept of Ayurveda clearly Kerala Ayurveda Academy is there to take you through a full-fledged course and make you understand it fully and in-depth.