Updated: Sep 21
Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine. In this post, I will share some basic Ayurvedic principles for those interested.
In Sanskrit, Ayu means life, and Veda means knowledge or science. Therefore, Ayurveda means "Science of Life".
There are 4 Vedas in total, and Ayurveda is mentioned in Atharvaveda. The Vedas are teachings traditionally passed down from teacher to student before they were written and preserved for our use today.
According to literature, Ayurveda is more than 5,000 years old in some texts and 10,000 years in others. I think it's safe to say that the Vedas- India's classical text has been around for a very long time.
Since I am a student of Astrology, I want to mention that Astronomy and astrology [called Jyotisha in Sanskrit] are considered the eyes of the Vedas. We can cohesively respect and learn from all these teachings to improve our lives.
Ayurveda Is Preventative Care
The concept of Ayurveda is to teach us the benefits of preventative care as well as maintenance and treatment for your natural constitution. In other words, Ayurveda is a lifestyle. It is a lifestyle that weaves the correct thinking, diet, and lifestyle that is right for you.
Prakriti Vs. Vrikriti
Ayurveda considers every individual as a microcosm of the Cosmos. So, we are all composed of the five elements in different degrees:
Ether [Akasha or space]
All of the elements range from the most subtle to the most dense. When you were conceived, you were imbued with a specific constitution or arrangement of energy. Your original constitution is known as your Prakriti. Your current or altered dosha [Ayurvedic constitution] is known as Vrikriti. After your creation, it results from the elements changing for various reasons [i.e., stress, lifestyle, food consumption, etc.]. Vrikriti changes from moment to moment. When we are in our best state of wellness, we are closer to Prakriti, so knowing when and what to eat can help you maintain health.
The Three Doshas
In Ayurveda, the five elements are arranged into three fundamental energies called compositions or Doshas. A dosha is a "bodily humor" that determines our characteristics, traits, and features based on our prenatal conception. Therefore, you may have predominant doshas active now; however, it may take time to determine your correct constitution.
We have all of these Doshas in primary, secondary, and tertiary arrangements that can be adjusted and maintained with awareness.
The three primary doshas are:
Vata = ether + air
Pitta = fire + water
Kapha = earth + water
Ayurveda is not a diet per se. It is a way of life that incorporates balancing the doshas mentioned above through herbal remedies, detoxification, proper food pairing, and optimal timing for wellness.
It is recommended to seek the guidance of an Ayurvedic practitioner for proper diagnosis. However, by becoming more attuned to your body's signals, you may be able to identify when things are not in balance. For instance, waking up with a white-coated tongue may indicate undigested food and a sluggish pitta dosha. Additionally, excessive gas, bloating, or achy joints may point towards an excessive vata imbalance. Further assessments, such as taking an Ayurvedic pulse and considering other criteria, can aid in diagnosis.
Ayurvedic Lifestyle Practices
I do not want to overstep the limitations of my knowledge up to this point; however, I will say that through Ayurveda, you get to take your mindfulness practices to another level.
The key lifestyle practices that Ayurveda suggests include:
Having a daily routine that includes waking up early [dinacharya]
Hygiene practices such as tongue-scraping
Incorporating practices such as meditation and yoga to reduce stress and establish inner peace and harmony
To conclude, your most significant assignment is getting to know you. The first-hand information you receive from your body and your thinking patterns and behaviors let you know when you are closer to balance and when to make adjustments along your journey. For this reason, taking the time to digest this rich knowledge puts your wellness back into your hands.
Ayurveda is for everyone. Yoga is for everyone. Everything we do to come into union with ourselves and the Divine is yoga. And the more holistic our life is, the happier and more abundant we will be.
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