Introduction To Ayurveda
In a nutshell, Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word meaning the knowledge or wisdom of life or longevity. It is the oldest health care system in the world originating from India over 5000 years ago.
Ayurveda is a personalised system of health recognising that we are all unique and therefore respond best to a diet and health treatment tailored to our individual needs.
The aim is to achieve perfect health by restoring physical, emotional and spiritual balance in our lives through our diet and lifestyle. This is hugely significant today as it is increasingly recognised that lifestyle factors are a major contributory cause behind many of today’s illnesses.
Fundamental to Ayurveda is the principle of the five energies or elements: ether, air, fire, water & earth.
In our bodies these elements are known as the three Doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These Doshas control all functions within the body.
Vata is the principle of air and space, it governs everything to do with movement in the body including the nervous system.
Pitta is the principle of fire and governs digestion and transformation.
Kapha is the principle of water and earth and relates to cohesion and the structure of our bodies.
We each have a unique mix of these Doshas and when they are in proper balance we enjoy health, but when they are disturbed by our diet or other lifestyle factors we can become unbalanced and eventually ill.
The classic Ayurveda texts give us clear guidance on how to live well and how to balance the Doshas; often starting with enhancing digestion and removing toxins from the body. Ayurveda works in harmony with nature and encourages us to live well in our own local environment. Ayurveda has kept alive the wisdom of nature’s store cupboard and the healing properties of foods, herbs and spices that are also made up of the five elements, and identifies that different herbs and foods respond uniquely to each of the Doshas.
It is impossible in this brief introduction to cover the rich holistic teachings of Ayurveda, but I hope that this brief glimpse inspires you to find out more of how Ayurveda can help you.