The term Ayurveda is composed of two Sanskrit words – Ayu meaning life & Veda meaning knowledge or science. This “Science of Life” originated in India over 5000 years ago, making it one of the world’s oldest health care systems. It is not merely a health care system to treat ailments but a complete philosophy that encourages the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle.
Ayurveda is known as the 'Mother of all healing systems' because it predates all other healing therapies and natural medicines. Ayurveda is a complete knowledge of life that teaches us how to live in tune with nature and elevate ourselves into the higher realms of happiness - the ultimate goal in life.
According to Ayurveda each individual is unique, a combination of physical, mental & emotional characteristics which are known as his/her constitution (Prakruti). Many factors, both internal as well as external can affect this constitution eg. one’s emotional state, diet, daily food choices, season and weather, physical trauma, job and family relationships. Once we understand that these factors can cause an imbalance in our constitution we have a choice to take appropriate action to nullify or minimise their effects to eliminate the cause.
Ayurveda recognises three primary energies, Vata, Pitta & Kapha. Together they regulate every physiological and psychological characteristic from basic cellular processes to the most complex biological functions. When these forces are in a state of natural balance the defence mechanism of the body works at peak efficiency.
Vata – represents momentum. It is responsible for all the bodily activities and sensations. It controls the movement of blood through the circulatory system, breathing, the delivery of nutrients to the cells and the removal & excretion of waste products.
In balance it promotes flexibility & creativity. Out of balance it produces fear & anxiety.
Pitta – represents metabolism. It governs digestion and metabolic transformation of nutrients into biologically usable forms. It also imparts the capacity to absorb ideas and impressions and bestows intelligence and an enthusiasm for life.
In balance it promotes understanding & intelligence. Out of balance it produces anger, hate & jealousy
Kapha – provides substance and support. It gives strength and stability, both physically and psychologically. It enhances resistance to disease and promotes the healing process.
In balance it promotes love, calmness & forgiveness. Out of balance it produces attachment, greed & envy.
Life challenges us with many opportunities. Although there is much over which we have little control, we do have the power to determine our diet and lifestyle. To maintain balance and health it is important to give attention to these decisions. Diet, lifestyle and herbs appropriate to individual constitution strengthen the body, mind and consciousness.