Ayurveda originated in India more than 5,000 years ago and is still the oldest continuously practiced health-care system in the world. Ayurveda focuses on food, lifestyle, massage, yoga and herbal remedies to suit our individual make-up. Ayurveda is holistic, comprehensive and simple to understand, though the science behind it is rich and complex.
The word Ayurveda comes from two Sanskrit words; Ayur meaning "life" & Veda meaning "knowledge" or "science." This life science is often described as Yoga’s sister science. It offers a body of wisdom designed to help people stay vital while realizing their full human potential. Providing guidelines on ideal routines, diet, behavior, and the proper use of our senses. Ayurveda reminds us that health is the balanced and dynamic integration between our environment, body, mind, and spirit.
Body Elements & Constitution (Prakriti)
There are five elements of which the human body is made up of: akasha (ether), Vayu (air), Agni (Fire), Jala (Water) and Prithvi (earth).
Because of the above five elements, all human beings are constituted with a combination of two or three primary ones. These are called Doshas: Kapha, Vata and Pitta. Any person is easy to treat with the identification of his/her category.
Vata category is combination of space and air elements: People are fearful, illogical and insecure. Skin can be dry. They have thin hair. They have dark brown or grey eyes. Vata activates the nervous system, hearing and speech and the persons is a great enthusiast with creativity. However, the state of mind can become easily imbalanced because of insomnia, cramps and constipation.
Pitta category is fire element: These people are achievers, intellectual, fiery, angry, judgmental, with clear voice and precise expression. They have soft and fine hair. Eyes are blue, grey and hazel. They are good leaders and warm personality when healthy. Because of emphasis on metabolism and anger, they may suffer from acidity, ulcers, rashes and thinning of hair.
Kapha category is water and earth element: They have thick lustrous hair. Eyes are blue or brown. People have great endurance capacity with calm and steady mind. They are capable of forgiveness and intense love. Sometimes they are greedy and possessive. Kapha is the lubricant that keeps the joints working, keeps the body vibrant and balanced with immunity. Too much of it leads to lethargy, congestion, allergies and weight gain.
Nature of ailments
After the Prakriti is decided, one should know the nature of the diseases (Vikriti). It is imbalance obviously, but there are two extremes to every imbalance, either deficiency or excess. Those are heavy-light, slow-sharp, cold-hot, unctuous-dry, smooth-rough, solid-liquid, soft-hard, stable-mobile, subtle-gross, and non-slimy-slimy. When corrected, Prakriti or original constitution is restored.
These 20 characteristics with regards to one’s basic constitution will decide the treatment. These may be caused by wrong foods causing improper digestion, wrong sleeping habits, improper mindset, anxiety etc.
The essential way to maintain physical and mental health is by keeping these 5 elements in each dosha in harmonic balance. This can be done through balanced diet, medicinal herbs and healthy life style practices. Imbalances in doshas can lead to various diseases, early aging and compromised immune system. We may be dominated by one or more of these doshas or element. By understanding which dosha type you are proper diet and herbal treatment can be established specifically for you.
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