What is Ayurveda?

about ayurveda

Ayurved (आयुर्वेद Sanskrit) derives from two distinct Sanskrit words ‘Āyus’ meaning life & ‘veda’ meaning deep knowledge. Therefore Ayurved can be defined as a science that encompasses the knowledge of every aspect of life – health, wellness, lifespan and longevity, epigenetics, anti-aging, healthy transitions and more.

Ayurved is one of the most comprehensive holistic healthcare systems in the world. It was in Ayurved that the concepts of personalization as well as prevention were first documented. It is also considered by most scholars to be the world’s oldest form of continuously practiced system of medicine, dating back to about 5000 years. Ayurved is an art of daily living that has evolved from deep philosophical, spiritual and practical insights and has been perfected over centuries of practice and wisdom. Ayurved places great emphasis on prevention and encourages the maintenance of health through diet and lifestyle, proper cooking methods, yoga and meditation practices, proper exercise, herbal nutrition as well as cleansing and rejuvenating Ayurvedic therapies. If one does fall sick, then Ayurved provides excellent solutions with customized and personalized herb, diet and lifestyle plans.

Philosophy of Ayurved

Understanding your unique Constitution (Prakruti)

Ayurved believes that an individual’s constitution (prakruti) is established at the time of conception – somewhat like a genetic code or blueprint, which expresses as physical and mental characteristics, and tendencies or susceptibilities for disease and emotional response, throughout ones life. This unique constitution is determined by the dominance of one or more of the three doshas - vata, pitta and/or kapha. These doshas or energies are not static but dynamic entities, getting influenced by factors, both internal and external. Some of these influencing factors could be – emotional and physical stress, improper food combinations and choices, physical trauma, or seasonal and weather changes.

Once you gain understanding of your own unique body type and how these factors affect you on a constitutional level, you can take appropriate actions to nullify or minimize their effects. You can begin to decipher and design the right choices that will lead you toward greater health and well-being. In this sense, Ayurved empowers you to understand and gain control over your own state of health. And nothing can be more beautiful and empowering than to ‘know’ and be ‘aware’ of what is good for you and what is not, in the most holistic sense. You will not only learn to nurture your body but also your mind and spirit, setting you on a path of the most complete health experience you have ever had in your life.

From birth till death, the body is engaged in maintaining life. That is its sole purpose and mission, and each cell has the intelligence to do so. Yet in the modern, fast paced world, the levels of stress and environmental imbalance make it harder for your body to stay healthy and your mind to remain calm and positive. This in turn starts creating and accumulating toxins in your body, ultimately affecting you at the cellular level. From an Ayurvedic point of view, the three doshas vata, pitta and kapha play an important role in the maintenance of cellular health and longevity:

  • Vata, which is closely related to the life energy (or prana), governs all life functions
  • Pitta governs digestion and nutrition
  • Kapha maintains longevity on the cellular level

Ayurved offers different therapies that may support your individual constitutional harmony while promoting cellular rejuvenation and overall vitality and immunity. The key to optimal health is to help your body eliminate toxins and reestablish the constitutional balance of the doshas.

Another very unique and important concept in Ayurved is that of mental typing. There are three elemental ‘qualities’ in the universe – sattva, rajas and tamas. In humans, they dictate the mental faculties, disposition and demeanor of individuals. This is another consideration that is used in chalking out the Ayruvedic care plan for the client.

How does an Ayurved consultation work?

In an initial Ayurvedic consultation, the Ayurvedic practitioner determines your prakuti or body type based on a questionnaire that covers questions from bowel movements to the texture of your hair. The Ayurvedic expert examines the tongue and observes the appearance of the skin, lips, nails, and eyes. The practitioner asks questions about your health, diet and lifestyle and does a detailed pulse or nadi exam. The ‘mental type’ of the client is also ascertained.