This article is purely to explain some terms which are used, when talking Ayurveda, as well as some easy comprehensible terms and facts, so when I start posting recipes, skincare tips and lifestyle habits, it makes more sense and you can easily come back to this article to refresh the memory. When you do have some questions after reading this, feel free to contact me per email or any other social channel, I am more then happy to guide you and maybe your family towards a more natural approach of living.
Ayurveda is one of the most ancient scientific approaches to holistic healing in human history. The origin of Ayurveda can be found in India, somewhere between five and six thousand years ago. It is a holistic form of healthcare and it’s fundaments are resting upon the laws of nature to treat the body, mind and spirit in a holistic way. Although the body, mind and spirit are three different parts in Ayurveda these three are looked at all together, knowing they highly influence each other.
The word Ayurveda is derived from Sanskrit (old language from India), which translates as “the wisdom of life” or “the knowledge of longevity”. The unique approach of it focuses on establishing harmony and balance within an individual through the assistance of diet, as well as daily and seasonal routines. The science and knowledge, was originally taught orally, directly from teacher to pupil. Same as we see in the early days of yoga, there was also a teacher-pupil relation, how the knowledge was brought into the world
Based on the principles of the Veda, one of the oldest, existing literatures known in human history. Ayurveda’s principal belief is that the Universe, as well as everything within it, is made up of five elements: air, fire, water, earth and ether (or space). The combinations of these elements results to three energies, known as “doshas”.
what are Doshas and how do i know mine?
The three doshas are recognised as Vata, Pitta and Kapha and are each composed of two main elements. All three doshas are found in each body but each individual generally has one predominating dosha that determines characteristics attributed to the body and mind. Depending upon your constitution, there exists preferable qualities of food, climate and lifestyle that are beneficial to your unique physical, mental and spiritual make-up, as well as specific areas to pay attention to that are susceptible to imbalances and disease tendencies.
Vata: a combination of air and space and relates to the quality of movement in the body, functions such as circulation, respiration and elimination. When balanced, with a Vata pre-domination, a person tends to be thin, sensitive, deeply creative, light, energetic and enthusiastic. Out of balance, Vata tends to experience insomnia, anxiety, dry skin and a difficulty focusing.
Pitta: a combination of the contrasting elements fire and water, which is manifesting as transformation. In the body, this shows as regulation of temperature, chemical reactions and metabolism. A person with a Pitta constitution is leaning towards a medium physical build and being intensely passionate, intelligent and driven in nature. When balanced, Pitta is recognisable in warmth, friendliness and functions extremely well as a strong, dedicated leader. A Pitta imbalance (excess of heat) reflects easy irritability and strong temper. A person could suffer from indigestion or other inflammatory conditions as a result.
Kapha: combining the elements water and earth, responsible for lubrication, protection and growth. Physiologically, this is expressed as the flow of water to all body parts and organs in addition to maintenance of the proper functioning of the immune system. When Kapha dominates, a balanced individual has a tendency towards being easygoing, nurturing, supportive and stable. Out of balance, a Kapha expresses itself as lazy, depressed, congested and sluggish.
what is Balance in ayurveda
When a person’s doshas (all three) are in balance, their body, mind and spirit are as well. Ayurveda is a complete healing system in that it takes into account an individual’s unique constitution rather than a one-size-fits-all mentality towards health. The practice discusses the diagnosis and treatment of various ailments and diseases with an approach that is focused on purification and rejuvenation.
The big difference with Western medicine, there we see a focus on treating the symptoms. Ayurveda works to first identify the imbalance and then remove the cause of the problem, which is creating the imbalance.
Early signs of imbalance can occur as a general feeling that “something is off”. If we are paying attention we recognise this as a wake-up call to shift our behaviour and/or habits. Adjustments in diet and daily activities, herbal supplements, cleanses, massages; these are all tools used to restore an individual to optimal health. If left untreated, these imbalances are likely to develop into illnesses, usually according to the dosha of this person. For the longevity of our health, it is essential to seek balance in all aspects of our lives in consideration of our unique nature. Our wellbeing, our happiness and peace of mind is all taken not account when we adapt an ayurvedic approach in our dietary and lifestyle choices.
Take this easy online quiz from Sahara Rose, she is an international author on Ayurvedic cooking and lifestyle. The quiz will help you find out more about your unique dosha (the link will open in a new window). If you wish to know more about your dosha, I do recommend to contact an Ayurvedic centre in your area.