What is Ayurveda?
Ayurvda's origins from India set the tone that still supports a natural way of living today. Ayur is a Sanskrit word which translates to life and veda translates to science or knowledge. The concept of Ayurveda transfers to a complete way of living and a natural, healthy, and balanced lifestyle.
In Indian mythology, it is believed that the concept of Ayurveda was transferred from the gods of India to the people. Ayurveda is also believed to be a god, which reincarnated as Varanasi, and trained physicians in ways to use the medicine.
The central concept around all Ayurvedic practices is balance. It is believed that when one's body is out of balance, is moves into a state of illness, or dis-ease. By finding the root cause of imbalance and transferring it back to a state of health by removing the toxins or imbalances, one is able to maintain a state of health and remain in a state of youth and rejuvenation.
Dhanvantari: God of Ayurveda
Body Type and Ayurveda
The science of Ayurveda begins with the makeup of each individual and their dominant body type, also known as their dosa. When someone is in complete balance, it is known as samyatva and when they are out of balance it is known as vismatva.
To remain in balance as one body type, supplements, diet, exercise, and daily practices within one's lifestyle is integral. This is weighed in by three main body types; Kapha, Pitta, and Vata.
Kapha = earth and water
Pitta = fire and water
Vata = air and water
The symbol of each body type then lends to different shapes of the body, nutrients that one needs to stay balanced, and a lifestyle system which allows one to remain healthy.
Supplements and Medicines
Supplements and medicines in Ayurvedic practice are made of herbal compounds that target imbalances which may be in the body. Each is designed to cleanse the imbalances or impurities that are in the body while restoring a state of health. In many instances, these are used as prevention, specifically if someone is practicing a certain lifestyle.
There are over 600 herbs and 250 treatments with mixtures that are used in Ayurveda. Diagnosis of symptoms in the body as well as body type and the surrounding environment are used by Ayurvedic practitioners to identify what is needed to support and restore balance. This is either done in a form of prevention with continuous and smaller doses or is in response to symptoms you are currently experiencing.
Examples of Ayurvedic Supplements:
Triphala: Known as an anti-oxidant that removes free radicals and is identified as a "path of essence." This is commonly used for those who have issues with high blood pressure, obesity, or diabetes.
Guggul: Taken from the sap of a tree in northern India, this supplement is used for those who have high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease.
Brahmi: Also recognized as a form of basil, this is known as the "king" of Ayurvedic remedies. It is used to support mind function and sharpness and recommended for those who perform intellectual work.
Gotu Kola: Used to release anxiety and to support one's mood. This treatment is used to support emotional changes relating to the mind, such as depression, anxiety, or heavier mood swings.
The recommendation for anyone following the science of Ayurveda is to focus on diet first. This is followed by a combination of remedies, exercises, and massage to maintain balance. The Ayurvedic diet is the cornerstone to the practice of this science and is designed to create a state of balance within each individual.
The diet is prescribed by your dosha or body type. As soon as you are aware of your dosha, you can identify which foods you should restrict and others which you should eat. In many instances, Ayurvedic doctors will prescribe to eat certain meals on specific days while avoiding them on others.
Pitta Dosha: Focus on cool and energising foods, such as fruits and vegetables. It is best to avoid nuts and seeds.
Vata Dosha: Take foods that are warm, grounding, and nurturing. It is best to avoid dried fruit and raw vegetables.
Kapha Dosha: Take more vegetables and darker greens. It is best to avoid nuts, seeds, and oils that are heavier.
Ayurvedic Natural Remedies
While many forms of meditation are focused on the balance of the mind, Ayurvedic practices emphasize the need to empty and balance the entire body. This focus allows one to work energetically first while then identifying their best practices for meditation.
The meditation recommendations follow the same practice as the doshas.
To meditate with Ayurveda, focus on each center of the body, using the chakras as the guide. While doing this, focus on balance and restoration of the body through the practice. You can combine this with Dosha specific practices for balance.
Vata Dosha: The air like quality is often attributed to the thinking of the mind. To balance this, calm the mind and focus on one thing or emptiness to remain in balance.
Pita Dosha: With fire as your base, there is a tendency to want to continuously move. Take time in the meditation to balance movement with stillness, focusing on the need to slow down and rebalance.
Kapha Dosha: The earth energy often leads to a slower approach and desire to stagnate. This may lead a Kapha to meditate and go too slowly. Using mudras, walking meditations, or other activities at the center may assist with balance of the mind and body.
Massages and Detox Treatments
For those that require balance and more restoration, Ayurvedic massages and detox treatments can help. This uses the Ayurvedic herbal remedies as well as specific practices to completely release all toxins and free radicals from your body.
Massages in Ayurvedic tradition will combine herbs within specific oils that absorb into your body. In other instances, an herbal bag is used to support balance and health. When doing this continuously or to combat against a specific illness, you will find a better state of balance in your body.
The detox treatments are often done over a period of 30 - 45 days and are used in deeper cases of healing that one may need. During this time, oils are placed into the cavities of the body to remove any free radicals. Enemas, ears, throat, nose, and oils over the third eye go through a process of complete cleansing with this treatment. This is combined with a restricted diet and herbal massages to support complete detoxification and healing.
Your Ayurvedic Experiences
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Brooke Hart