Today we explore the fundamental question, what is Ayurveda? Perhaps many people would initially respond by saying Ayurveda is an ancient science of life. Others may stress the importance that Ayurveda is an eloquent way of explaining the natural qualities of nature and because these qualities of nature naturally do not change, the science of Ayurveda then is a science of antiquity; timeless.
This post is designed simply to introduce the concept of Ayurveda to the general public. Many of us have never heard about Ayurveda and if so, may have only just recently heard of it. I open this discussion so that leading experts in the field of Ayurveda can expand and inform us of the importance and necessity for imbibing the wisdom of Ayurveda.
It is India’s 5,000-year-old science of medicine, pre-dating all complete systems of medicine. Ayurveda is holistic – considering mind, body and spirit with each and every piece of advice. It believes that food is medicine, and that by eating foods that are seasonal, and naturally support our body type, we will flourish. It understands that eating more of the right foods will make us feel happier and eating more of the wrong ones can dull our senses. There are three main doshas, or constitutional types: vata, pitta and kapha. Ayurveda believes that we are all made of varying degrees of five elements – air, ether, water, fire and earth. The doshas are also made up of these elements. It is a symbolic shortcut to understanding how we are ‘built’ from the minerals that make up our bones and teeth (earth), to the energy in our cells and digestive systems (fire).
Ayurveda believes that being healthy is all about achieving balance within the body. By stabilising those airy, flighty tendencies (vata), cooling down excessive heat (pitta) and drying out cold and damp (kapha, which we experience literally when we have a phlegmy cough), we will harmonise our bodies and be stronger, healthier and more energised – we will be happier, calmer and brighter. And we will also experience sattva – that positive and balanced state of mind when we feel we’re at 100 percent.