WHAT IS AYURVEDA?
Ayurveda is the traditional medicinal system of India going as far back as 5000 years. It is one of the rare holistic medicinal systems that bring science, philosophy and spirituality together in a profound way – one reason I was so attracted to the study of Ayurveda. The word ‘Ayurveda’ is a Sanskrit term meaning ‘science of life’; it is both systemized knowledge and practical wisdom.
Ayurveda teaches us that man – a creation of cosmic consciousness is a microcosm of the Universe. This connects us with the concept of the five great elements, one of the most fundamental in Ayurvedic science: space, air, water, fire and earth which exist in all matter, organic and inorganic. These elements combine into 3 functional principles uniquely known in Ayurveda as the Tridosha; Vata – Pitta – Kahpa which govern all the biological and psychological functions of the mind, body and consciousness. These 3 doshas are responsible for individual differences and preferences, influencing all that we are and all that we do, from our choices of food to how we relate to others. Everyone has all 3 doshas but in different proportions. Each individual therefore has a particular energy pattern from birth, a unique combination that forms their constitution (Prakruti), an energy print as unique as a fingerprint; a balance or proportion of vata, pitta and kapha. Health depends on maintaining this original equilibrium. Imbalance provokes disorder, leading to disease.
The beauty of Ayurveda is that it teaches us that awareness and the re-establishment of balance can prevent and arrest the onset of disease. There is no isolated disease treatment or ‘one size fits all’ through randomised trialling. Ayurveda is a uniquely individualised medicinal system that takes into consideration the mind, body and spirit connection. This is why it is called a science of life; a way of living and a science of self-healing.