CORE PRINCIPLES OF AYURVEDA

September 13, 2012 by  
Filed under An Introduction to Ayurveda



Ayurveda is the ancient Indian system of natural and holistic medicine. In Sanskrit, Ayurveda means “the science of life” .While allopathic medicine tends to focus on the management of disease, Ayurveda bestows us with the knowledge of how to prevent disease and how to eliminate its root cause if it does occur.

  The aim of Ayurveda is to prevent illness and enhance wellness.

The knowledge of Ayurveda was passed orally through a lineage of sages in India until it was collated into text more than five thousand years ago. The oldest known texts on Ayurveda are the Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita, and the Ashtanga Hrudaya. These texts detail the affect that the five elements found in the cosmic system – Space, air, earth, water and fire – have on our individual system, and expound on the importance of keeping these elements balanced for a healthy and happy life.

According to Ayurveda, each person will be influenced by certain elements more than others. This is because of their prakriti, or natural constitution. Ayurveda categorizes the different constitutions into three different doshas:

  • Vata dosha, in which the air and space elements dominate
  • Pitta dosha, in which the fire and water elements dominate
  • Kapha dosha, in which the earth and water elements dominate

The dosha affects not just the shape of one’s body but also bodily tendencies (like food preferences and digestion), and the temperament of one’s mind and emotions. For example, the earth element in people with Kapha dosha is evident in their solid, sturdy body type, their tendency for slower digestion, their strong memory, and their emotional steadiness.

Most people’s prakriti is made up of a combination of two doshas. For example, people who are “Pitta Kapha” will have the tendencies of both Pitta dosha and Kapha dosha with Pitta dominating.

By understanding the qualities of our natural constitution we are better able to do what is needed to keep ourselves in balance.

if we are experiencing disease, it means there is an imbalance in our doshas; bringing our system back into balance is the key to the cure. Ayurveda has an effective tool for the diagnosis of disease called nadi pareeksha, or pulse diagnosis. By placing their finger on your wrist, an Ayurvedic doctor can easily detect the imbalances in the body and prescribe an effective treatment.

Treatments usually come in one of two forms:

1)      Panchakarma, a 5- pronged body purification program

If toxins in the body are abundant, then a cleansing process known as panchakarma is recommended to purge these unwanted toxins. This fivefold purification therapy is a classical form of treatment in ayurveda. These specialized procedures consist of the following:

  • Therapeutic vomiting or emesis (Vaman)
  • Purgation (Virechan)
  • Enema (Basti)
  • Elimination of toxins through the nose (Nasya)
  • Bloodletting or detoxification of the blood (Rakta moksha)

2)      Herbal medicines to balance the body

Ayurveda places great importance on one’s pathya, or lifestyle (eating habits and daily routine). Ayurveda also provides guidance on how to adjust our lifestyle based on the change of seasons

Holistic Health
Ayurveda`s focus on an individual`s holistic health rather than merely the physical body, is the most beneficial aspect of ayurvedic medicine. It works on the principle that a perfect health condition is achievable through the emotional  integration in a person. Ayurveda provides us with a unique physical purification method called panchakarma and various ayurvedic herbal health remedies for mental and spiritual well-being.

A healthy person, as defined in Sushrut Samhita, one of the primary works on Ayurveda, is “he whose doshas are in balance, appetite is good, all tissues of the body and all natural urges are functioning properly, and whose mind, body and spirit are cheerful…”

The ultimate goal of ayurveda is to create a state of holistic health for the individual, to create, consequently, a healthy society and environment with its herbal health remedies. To attain this state ayurveda believes one`s life must move in harmony with nature`s rhythms and its laws. Because, ayurvedic medicine recognizes the human body is part of nature. The five great elements of the universe forms the three doshas of the human body, and a balance among the three doshas is necessary for the perfect working of the whole mechanism of body, mind and soul.

These holistic health benefits of ayurveda includes the physical, mental as well as the spiritual aspects of a person.

Physical Benefits
Noninvasive diagnostic ayurvedic treatments are beneficial for chronic patients. Ayurvedic medicine resorts to outward diagnosis of symptoms by studying a patients` habits -diet and daily life, pulse. Difficult diseases are managed effectively by these diagnostic methods.

Detoxification methods of ayurveda like panchakarma and other herbal  health remedies, when applied wholly or singly, make the body more responsive to medicines and treatment. It hastens the healing process.

Various yogasanas prescribed by ayurveda help prevent the diseases from occurring and accumulating. Yogasanas achieve the twin purpose of strengthening body-parts such as bones, muscle and vital organs like heart, liver, stomach, intestine as well as keeping our blood circulation and psychological conditions strong and flexible.

Most importantly, a correct diet according to one`s dosha type, and well-regulated life (dinacharya) helps strengthen one`s natural immune system.

Psychological Benefits
Perhaps ayurveda is the first such medical systems who recognizes that all diseases are but the direct manifestation of one`s mental conditions. It says human mind consists three states or trigunas -sattva, rajas and tamas. Any disturbances in the equilibrium of the tri-gunas, manifest in physical illness according to the intensity or nature of the disturbances. In fact, the condition of body and mind are integral to the overall health of an individual.

When the mind is stressed the stress hormone cortisone is released by adrenal glands. The level of hormone released affects the total volume of the brain that is involved in memory forming, organizing, and storing. Stress also affects all our decision-making activities in every field of life.

Ayurveda stresses on four principles to maintain the balance and equanimity of the mind .They are:

  • regulation in ahara (food habit),
  • vihara (activities),
  • nidra (sleeping habit) and
  • maithuna (sexual habit)

The guidelines for an intelligently regulated diet and daily routine are now, accepted techniques for stress management.

Ayurvedic massages, inhalation of herbal (Aromatherapy) preparations, panchakarma (nasya) besides the much-tested yogasanas and meditation leave a calming effect on the nerves.

Spiritual Benefits
The balance of tri-doshas and tri-gunas is imperative in this regard, for the individual needs to remain in balance within itself and in harmony outside with the nature. Various advanced ayurvedic treatments were born out of a necessity to keep the mind and body in perfect shapes to pursue the path of self-realization. Each individual is believed to possess undefined measures of creative capability, which, ideally, need to be realized. To achieve this, ayurveda emphasizes that the individual has to experience its oneness with the universe.

The treatment methods, diet and lifestyle regimen in ayurveda are carefully planned to heal the body as well as enrich the mind and the soul of each different individual. So that each can improve from their own levels to the higher goal of realizing the full self-potential. It was with ayurveda that the unique longevity and rejuvenating method of rasayana was born for mankind to progress in the path of spirituality.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

*