What is Ayurveda?

What is AyurvedaAyurveda is a Sanskrit word and translates to “Science of Longevity” or “Science of Life”. This system was designed to evaluate the mind, body and spirit to offer unique techniques of self-care. Its was originally conceived in Northern India more than 20,000 years ago.

Ayurvedic philosophy is based on the recognition of the five elements Ether, Air, Fire, Water & Earth. We all have more or less of these elements within us and we are all uniquely designed. These five elements are combined into three doshas: Vata, Pitta & Kapha.

The unique combination of the three doshas in each individual has a specific influence on our physical, mental, and emotional tendencies. Determining which dosha(s) are dominant can help you to make the right diet and lifestyle choices that will maintain balance and promote health and well-being on all levels. You also have to take the weather (elements) seasons into consideration with regard to your lifestyle & diet.

Ayurveda is the Indian/Tibetan system of healing.

Pitta- Bile- Focus (Fire & Water) energy is linked to fire, and is thought to control the digestive and endocrine systems. People with pitta energy are considered fiery in temperament, intelligent and fast-paced. When pitta energy is out of balance, ulcers, inflammation, digestive problems, anger, heartburn and arthritis can result. A perfect saying for Pitta people “heat rises in the body like it rises in a house”. People with a lot of fire should eat cooling food and herbs. They should avoid alcohol, spices, fermented food and fast food.  Pitta people require bitter, salty,  wet, cooling and alkaline foods. Daily meditation and yoga is also recommended. Suggested physical activities are hatha yoga, swimming, horseback riding and long walks in nature. Avoid hot, pungent, acidic & sour foods. When out of balance pitta people tend to crave the foods they should avoid.

Vata- Wind- Change (Ether & Air) energy is associated with air and space, and is linked to bodily movement, including breathing and blood circulation. Vata energy is said to predominate in people who are lively, spiritual, creative, & original thinkers.  A perfect saying for vata people is “a leaf never lands on a place twice”. When out-of-balance, vata types can endure joint pain, constipation, dry skin, anxiety and other ailments. People with a lot of vata energy should eat rich sweet warm nursing food such as heavy stew, soups and even some meat.  Any root vegetable will have a positive effect since vata people need grounding. Avoid dry, astringent, cold & bitter foods. When out of balance vata people tend to crave the foods they should avoid.

Kapha- Phlegm- Nourish (Water & Earth) energy, linked to earth and water, is believed to control growth and strength, and is associated with the chest, torso and back. Kapha types are considered strong and solid in constitution, and generally calm in nature. But obesity, diabetes, sinus problems, insecurity and gallbladder issues can result when kapha energy is out of balance, according to Ayurvedic practitioners. People with a lot of Kapha should eat raw food and to promote their digestion and they need pungent, sour, astringent & light foods. Slow, heavy, sweet, wet and salty food should be avoided Additionally, white food such as sugars, milk & wheat. They also need a good physical routine and lots of motivation. It’s important that they get their cardio going with activities like biking, walking, running, aerobics or martial arts. They tend to prefer to snuggle up under a blanket with a warm drink and a good book. A perfect saying for kapha people are “ Wet like tears”. When out of balance kapha people tend to crave the foods they should avoid.

When all the elements are in harmony they will create a balanced healthy body and state of mind. When they are unbalanced they will create disease. Ayurveda is prevention self-care and everyone has their own routine to follow for optimum health. It teaches us how to daily cleanse our system.  The  most important remedy is remembering to breath. Ayurveda is not based on perfection, trying to be perfect is a recipe for failure. A healthy life is a constant elemental balancing act.

Factors such as stress, unhealthy diet, weather and strained relationships can all influence the balance that exists between a person’s doshas. These unbalanced energies in turn leave individuals more susceptible to disease. Its important to every day do a self assessment and check in with yourself on the outer and inner planes and remember to take as many deep conscious breaths as possible.

Namaste. Hermine

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