Ayurveda means literally the ‘science (Veda) of longevity’. It was originally a Hindu medical system and had its beginnings more than two and half thousand years ago in the sixth century.
Ayurveda is the art of healthy living that enables you to create harmony in daily life by applying self- knowledge and self-care. The word Ayurveda is from the ancient Indian language Sanskrit and literally means “Knowledge of Life”. Inherent in Ayurvedic principles is the concept that you are capable of taking charge of your own life and healing.
The Five Elements
According to the ancient Sankhya theory of cosmology on which ayurveda is based the “five great elements” (Panchamahabhuta); combine in different proportions to form the material world. Each element possesses different amounts of the above-mentioned gunas; thus each element has its unique qualitative nature. The elements are:
- Akasha aether
- Vayu or Pavan air or wind
- Agni or Tejas fire
- Ap or Jala water
- Prithvi or Bhumi earth
Ayurveda describes three fundamental mind/body types or doshas called Vata Pitta and Kapha which embody different combinations of the five elements : air ether fire water and earth. Each of us contain all doshas to varying degrees and their balance can be determined through examination of your eyes nails tongue skin voice by pulse diagnosis and through the insight of the Ayurvedic practitioner. Because the five elements exist in us and in nature your doshas can become aggravated or imbalanced due to inappropriate or inadequate diet change of seasons climate or lifestyle and result in disease in the body.
- Take the ayurvedic quiz to find your dosha
- Doshas are referred to as ‘dynamic energies’ and ‘vata dosha’ are kinetic energy. Vata doshas initiate all forms of activity and motion in the body. It acts as a network of communication from tissue to tissue and cell to cell. It is responsible for perception assimilation and reaction. Vata doshas is the basis of all communication process in the body. All motions transportation and electromagnetic activities are controlled by vata.
- ‘Pitta dosha’ is responsible for all types of transformations in the body. Pitta controls digestion of food as well as conversion of light rays that fall on the retina to electric impulses. It is mainly associated with the chemical reaction and changes taking place in the body. Pitta controls emotion like anger fear and boldness. Pitta controls digestion of food it is responsible for hunger appetite and thirst. The functions of pitta are more physical compare to vata. There are mainly five types of pitta dosha. The quality of Pitta dosha’ is most predominant during youth and adulthood. ‘Pitta’ reflects the dynamics of youth.
- Kapah dosha is the third important part of dosha. It is the cohesive energy in the body it smoothes out problems lubricates and provides support when needed. If ‘vata’ is kinetic energy then ‘kapha’ is potential energy. Kapha is the principle of water and earth is heavy and moist. It is said that carbohydrates and fats can increase ‘kapha’ There are five types of kapha dosha based on both anatomy and body function. ‘Kapha’ abnormalities lead to respiratory disease feeble mindedness weakness and lethargy.