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Ayurveda - The Science of Life

ayurvedaAyurveda - The Science of Life

Ayurveda is a 5000 year-old system of natural healing that has its origins in the Vedic culture of India. Although suppressed during years of foreign occupation, Ayurveda has been enjoying a major resurgence in both its native land and throughout the world. Tibetan medicine and Traditional Chinese medicine both have their roots in Ayurveda. Early Greek medicine also embraced many concepts originally described in the classical Ayurvedic medical texts dating back thousands of years.

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.

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. Each of us has a unique proportion of these three forces that shapes our nature. If Vata is dominant in our system, we tend to be thin, light, enthusiastic, energetic and changeable. If Pitta predominates in our nature, we tend to be intense, intelligent, goal-oriented and have a strong appetite for life. When Kapha prevails, we tend to be easy-going, methodical and nurturing. Although each of us has all three forces, most people have one or two elements that are more obviously expressed.

For each element, there is a balanced and imbalance expression. When Vata is balanced a person is lively and creative, but when there is too much movement in the system, a person tends to experience anxiety, insomnia, dry skin, constipation and has difficulty completing tasks. When Pitta is functioning in a balanced manner, a person is warm, friendly, disciplined, a good leader and a good speaker. When the fire element is out of balance, a person tends to be compulsive, irritable and may suffer from indigestion or an inflammatory condition. When Kapha is balanced, a person is sweet, supportive and stable but when it is out of balance, a person may experience sluggishness, weight gain and sinus congestion. An important goal of Ayurveda is to identify a person’s ideal state of balance, determine where they are out of balance and offer interventions using diet, herbs, aromas, massage, music and meditation to reestablish balance.

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