By Swati Mhaske –
Ayurveda, literally, the knowledge of longevity, originated in modern-day India about eight millennia ago. It is like an age-old banyan tree that offers a comforting shadow from the modern-day scorching sun of inorganic diet and synthetic medicine. At the core of Ayurveda is the view of a balanced lifestyle. Methods that aim to achieve such a balance range from everyday habits suitable for everyone to thoroughly personalized medicinal treatments for the individual. By aligning even a small part of one’s lifestyle with Ayurveda, one reaps the benefits of physical and mental health.
Ayurvedic treatments are based on well-founded processes that have been tried and tested successfully for millennia. Even today, the healing potential of Ayurveda continues to amaze the novice and the accomplished alike. Being a system deeply rooted in nature, Ayurvedic healing utilizes innumerable products of nature. Not restrained to the reductionist approach of contemporary pharma, it goes beyond the classical taxonomy and dissection of the product to offer a wholesome portrayal of its character and its effect on the human body.
The name Ayurveda is a compound of two Sanskrit words. Ayussignifying life and Veda signifying knowledge. In fact, the classical Ayurvedic literature, The Charak Samhita, describes the transmission of this knowledge from the Gods to the rishis, and subsequently, to the vaidyas (Ayurveda practitioners.) Ayurveda was practiced and explicated by the sages in ancient India. The sages or the “rishis” not only laid the foundation of the Vedic civilizations in India but also commenced the knowledge of Ayurveda among common beings.
Today, more and more people are seeking a compendious and hands-on resource to health care. The fundamentals on which the Ayurvedic system is based are essentially true for all times and do not change from age to age.
Balance of Mind, Body and Spirit
According to the scripts of Ayurveda, The Padartha Vidnyana, this venerable knowledge is hinged on the balance between the mind, body and spirit.
The mind has a powerful persuasive on overall health and well-being of an individual. According to Ayurveda, the mind is the channel to the emotional health and thinking of an individual. It is a direct connection with the food we eat, the lifestyle we follow and our personality.
The heart, being one of the powerful energy centers, in the human body, is the home to the sacred mind. There are many theories in the Vedic scripts which give us a detailed significance to the heart chakra and how to seek the overall balance for health and longevity.
The body is the existence of the physical/elemental form of being. The mind-body is balanced by the functional principles of three energetic forces known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each of these doshas have a fundamental function to play in the human body. According to Ayurveda, the three doshas are influenced by the most important elements in nature—fire, water, earth, space and air. Each dosha primarily is formed by the combination each of the two elements.
The concept of every individual has its “own unique constitution” is one of the fundamentals of Ayurveda medicine. According to Ayurveda,each individual has a unique constitution established at birth and influenced throughout one’s life. How people eat, live and interact with their environment is based on their unique constitution. The individual constitution is based on the three doshas.
Vata Dosha – Air and Space elements — Vata Dosha is characterized by its mobile nature where its primary function is movement and communication
Pitta Dosha – Fire and Water elements – It is characterized by the transformative nature, where the primary function is transformation and digestion
Kapha Dosha – Earth and Water elements – It reflects the binding nature and stability of the elements, and hence, the primary functions of the Kapha dosha is cohesiveness, lubrication and giving structure.
Spirit is the true nature/soul or the existence of a human being. Spirit according to Ayurveda works in coordination with the mind and the body, controlling the basic physical and psychological qualities of an individual. The qualities of truth, self-awareness and a tendency to live a harmonious life is the definition of spirit.
Health with Ayurveda
Health, according to this ancient knowledge, is the balance and harmony between the mind, body and spirit, which justifies the balance between the three doshas, five elements, and the chakras. The way to optimize the function of the body this ancient science is efficient to assist in the healing of many health conditions and attaining the harmony between the mind, body and spirit.
Here are some tips to maintain the vitality through Ayurveda:
- Maintaining the sanctity of the senses–Ayurveda suggests to limit the overuse and abuse of senses whenever you can. Misuse of the senses (called asatmya-indriyartha-samyoga) is one of the main causes of imbalance in one’s body. For example, we can overuse the sense of taste by overeating in one sitting or eating too often, but it is just as damaging to deny ourselves food or use it to control life, such as in anorexia.
- Regular flushing of toxins –According to Ayurveda, the changes and circumstances in the environment and your personal life cannot always be controlled. Regular practice of detoxification in accordance with the Ayurveda principles is the key to good health and harmony
- Alignment with the Nature –Lifestyle changes according to the environmental factors, such as consuming seasonal fruits and vegetables. For example, you may eat warm foods when it cold out, have your biggest meal when the sun is at its peak, or shift the intensity of your yoga practice in deference to the midsummer heat.
Like the roots of the mighty Banyan that have become indistinguishable from its trunk, I pray for Ayurveda to be interwoven into your lifestyle for a healthy and vibrant you. – Swanu Mhaske
Swati Mhaske is a doctor of Ayurveda, M.S, and owner of HemaVeda Ayurveda in Crystal Lake, IL. Visit www.hemaveda.com.