It originated in India around 5000 BC when people were collecting information about plant-based medicines and treatments that could benefit their health and wellbeing. By approximately 1000 BC, Ayurveda had evolved as a well-established medical system.
Today, this ancient medical tradition is also becoming increasingly popular in the Western world.
The term Ayurveda is derived from two Sanskrit words meaning the ‘knowledge of life’. Ayurveda emphasises that good health is solely the responsibility of each individual person. It empowers people who learn this way of life to enjoy good health with the view of preventing illness. For those who are unwell, Ayurvedic medicine may also be helpful to regain wellbeing.
Ayurvedic medicine has a theory which states that everything in this universe is connected to each other.
To have optimum health, your mind and body needs to be in harmony with the universe.
The philosophy of Ayurveda regards each person as a unique individual that focuses primarily on establishing and maintaining the balance of life energies. Ayurveda seeks to heal any fragmentation of the mind and body, and aims to restore wholeness and harmony.
Essentially, the main object of this science is to preserve health and prevent disease.
The elements of Ayurveda
According to Ayurvedic medicine humans are a microcosm of nature and thus constitute the same elements, which include:
Earth – represents mass
Water – represents cohesive forces and gravity
Fire – represents radiant energy and heat
Air – represents motion and acceleration
Ether or Space – represents the unified field
The interaction of three energy complexes that describe your body type and determine your course of treatment are known as doshas.
The theory is that health exists when there is a balance between the three doshas known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These doshas have their own characteristics and physical expressions in the body:
Vata – combination of air and ether. This governs respiration, circulation, elimination, locomotion, movement, speech, creativity, enthusiasm and the entire nervous system.
Pitta – combination of fire and water. This governs transformations such as digestion and metabolism, vision, complexion, body temperature, courage, cheerfulness, intellect and discrimination.
Kapha – combination of earth and water. This governs growth (anabolic processes), lubrication, fluid secretions, binding, potency, patience, heaviness, fluid balance, compassion and understanding.
One dosha is usually more dominant than the others. It is believed that when the doshas are in balance, a person will enjoy good health. If the doshas are out of balance for such reasons as an unhealthy lifestyle, negative emotions or poor diet, illness may arise.
Ayurveda also incorporates many herbal medicines as part of its practice. One of the famous Ayurvedic herbs is Bacopa monnieri (Brahmi) which has been proven in a random clinical trial to help with age-related memory impairment.
Herbal medicines, although important, are not the single ultimate treatment in Ayurvedic medicine. People are also encouraged to adjust their lifestyle and diet to make it more wholesome and harmonious with nature.
By following an Ayurvedic lifestyle and diet – as advised by an Ayurvedic practitioner – the use of herbal medicines can potentially work more effectively to restore health balance.
The ultimate aim is to instruct people how to live so they can try to avoid illness, rather than wait for an ailment to develop.
Ayurveda lifestyle tips to enhance quality of life
- Live in tune with nature’s daily cycle. Wake up early before 6am and sleep before 10pm if possible.
- Practise daily exercise such as yoga.
- Calm the mind and increase awareness by practising meditation regularly.
- Do tongue cleaning and dry body brushing as part of your daily hygiene regime.
- Nourish the body by eating fresh, wholesome and seasonal foods that are compatible with your particular dosha or constitution.
- Enjoy Ayurvedic massage as part of your health maintenance regime. Shirodhara, the gentle and continuous stream of warm oil poured on the forehead, is beneficial to calm the mind and release stress and anxiety.
Vata – Emotionally, Vata people can be inspirational when balanced. However, when imbalanced, they can be scattered, spacey and anxious.
Eating a lot of ‘airy’ foods such as raw vegetables and dried fruits can cause Vata imbalance, while grounding foods such as cooked root vegetables can help improve Vata balance.
Pitta – Emotionally, balanced Pitta people are focused and determined. When imbalanced, they can be angry and aggressive.
Pitta people should avoid foods rich in fire and water elements, such as hot chilli and pickled foods. They should eat more cooling foods such as cucumber and watermelon to help balance Pitta constitution.
Kapha – Emotionally, Kapha people are stable and secure when balanced. When imbalanced, they can be stubborn and attached.
Eating foods high in water and earth elements e.g. dairy products and heavy, oily foods can cause Kapha imbalance. To help improve balance, choose light foods such as raw vegetables and a little meat.
by Joshua Lie, B.Nat
source : http://www.healthylife.net.au/healthy-you-magazine/wellbeing-lifestyle/help-balance-your-health-with-ayurveda/