Ayurvedic medicine is rooted in history and has been practised in India for at least 7,000 years. 'Ayurveda' comes from two Sanskrit words, 'ayus' meaning life and 'veda' meaning knowledge, which literally translates to 'knowledge of life'. Its philosophy revolves around the fact that perfect health is a balance between body, mind, spirit and social well-being.
Ayurveda places great emphasis on prevention of illness, and recommends maintaining health through following daily and seasonal regimens that create balance. We remain healthy and disease-free if we interact with our environment in an effective and wholesome way.
Disease translates to 'dis' - 'ease' of the body. The majority of the time, the 'dis-ease' starts in the gut. Over 90% of our immunity is found in the gut wall, so it is imperative that we heal and seal it before the disease spreads and worsens. In most cases, illness and disease originate from incorrect diet over-time, resulting in excess heat and inflammation in the body. Inflammation can be avoided by applying simple changes to our diet. What you may think is 'healthy' for you, may in fact be aggravating your doshic balance (Prakriti), and may be causing an imbalance (Vikruti). Secret of Ayurveda can help you to restore your natural balance (see Consultations).
An imbalanced body craves an imbalanced diet. A balanced body craves a balanced diet. Ama (toxins) can circulate in the body causing excess heat and inflammation of the tissues. When this happens the digestive fire (agni) needs to be stimulated as the ama (toxins), block the srotas(channels), thus preventing optimal digestion and elimination of waste (malas).
Although our initial balance is often disrupted by our lifestyles. Choices about diet, exercise, profession and relationships, all have the potential to create physical, emotional, or spiritual imbalances. This imbalance causes a lack of harmony and makes us more susceptible to disease, low energy levels, fatigue and weight gain.
We can bring Ayurveda into our life in different ways. Treatment can be a mixture of changes to your diet, lifestyle and having regular Ayurvedic massage to dispel toxins, whilst incorporating meditation and yoga into daily practice. Small, subtle changes can make a big difference and so do not underestimate the healing power that Ayurveda holds.
Some people use Ayurveda to 'recharge' during the course of a chronic illness. Many others follow Ayurvedic diets with the goal of using food as medicine. This involves eating more of what our bodies need rather than what we want. Followers of Ayurveda tend to be 'conscious consumers' who want to eat more nutritiously dense foods in order to gain energy and to maintain a healthy weight. In terms of benefits, the philosophy of Ayurveda is to 'bring us back into balance', not only physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually too.
We are all resistant to changing our diet. Most of us live a Western lifestyle, living a fast-paced life and are conditioned into eating the wrong type of foods, in the incorrect portions. Meals taken that satisfy all six tastes (rasas) enables one to feel more satisfied, energised and balanced. Once satisfied, the unhealthy cravings will disappear and your 'natural' healthy weight, can be restored.
Diet is the most significant factor in the Ayurvedic healing process. It is used a preventative pro-active course in the first instance but can also be used as part of a reactive treatment to help eradicate disease. In addition to diet, Ayurvedic remedies in the form of spices and herbs,choorna (powders), concoctions and tonics will also be prescribed accordingly.
Ayurvedic philosophy maintains that people are born with a specific constitution which is called prakriti . The prakriti, determined at conception, is viewed as a unique combination of physical and psychological characteristics that affect the way each person functions.
Throughout life, an individual's underlying prakriti remains the same. However, one's constitution is constantly influenced by various internal, external and environmental factors like day and night, seasonal changes, diet and lifestyle choices.
Ayurveda teaches that the three qualities, called dosha's, form important characteristics of the prakriti, or constitution. These dosha's are called Vata, Pitta and Kapha, and they all have a specific impact on bodily functions.
Each person has an individual 'tailored' balance of the three dosha's. Most people are a combination of one or two of the three doshas and each has their own essential force within the body. When working properly and in equilibrium they help us to be healthy. But the three doshas need to be balanced in order for us to be healthy and disease free.
Therefore by choosing to live an Ayurvedic lifestyle, is to bring these doshas back into balance, you will discover renewed optimal health and well-being. Each dosha is comprised of two of the basic five elements which have specific qualities which are Ether / Space and Air (Vata); Fire combining with Water (Pitta); and Earth mixed with Water (Kapha).
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