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What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old system of natural healing that has its origins in the Vedic culture of India. The word Ayurveda is Sanskrit word and composed out of two parts. “Ayus” means Life, “Veda” means Knowledge, Wisdom, Science. Thus the term meaning can be translated as a “Science/Wisdom of Life”.
More than a mere system of treating illness, Ayurveda is a science of life (Ayur = life,Veda = science or knowledge). It offers a body of wisdom designed to help people stay vital while realizing their full human potential. Providing guidelines on ideal daily and seasonal 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.
There are main concepts:
- Individualized approach to the person – each person has unique physical and psychic (mind-body) constitution. Recognizing that human beings are part of nature, Ayurveda describes three fundamental energies that govern our inner and outer environments: movement, transformation, and structure. Known in Sanskrit as Vata (Wind), Pitta (Fire), and Kapha (Earth), these primary forces are responsible for the characteristics of our mind and body.
- Ayurveda is integral study, considers and uses all the aspects of human being – gross physical body and subtle parts which are literally mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects.
- Personal responsibility and active deliberate participation of the individual in recovering and health maintenance.
- Methods of Ayurveda are natural (naturopatic), believing that besides gross components and actions of particular natural things whether it is water, food, herbs or herbal formulations, there is subtle vital energy behind them – Prana which brings special but significant effects and properties. I
- It is cost-effective. As soon as you learn your own unique being and comprehend the concepts of Ayurveda you can use its methods to maintain the healthy balance though your whole life free of charge.
- It works.
“Science of Life” teaches us how to preserve health in wide sense and bring happiness and satisfaction in our lives.
Which tools does Ayurveda mostly rely on to return balance and preserve health?
Appropriate changes in life routines, lifestyle, diet, exercises, meditation, natural procedures of body works like oil massage, sauna, sweating etc. go first. As Ayurveda relies on integral, complex approach in most cases those methods are used all together. Then if those methods above are not enough in case of worse disbalance, special methods of fasting, cleansing, herbs intake are used.
Having a consultation with ayurvedic doctor or practitioner you would be able to recognize your natural balance (body-mind constitution), comprehend the causes of current disbalance and get advice on how to change your lifestyle, diet, routines, exercise etc. to address disorders. From that point, you are on the way to your health and better living. That is not going to be fast jump but rather slow but steady progress which completely depends on your own efforts. But the result is as strong and significant as the efforts invested. Besides the health improvement you will learn your own mind and body and will be able to control and master them for all your life.
A simple questionnaire can help you determine which ayurvedic element is most lively in your nature. Take the dosha quiz here. Answer the following questions as honestly as possible and see which element(s) receives the highest score.