What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a system of preventative health care, rejuvenation and longevity. Originating in India, Ayurveda means, Ayu “life” and Veda “knowledge or science”, so it can be interpreted as the “science of life.” Known as mankind’s oldest healing system, dating back between 3500 and 2500 B.C., Ayurveda defines disease as an imbalance of our unique constitution and restores health by removing the sources of the imbalance rather than treating the symptoms of the disease.
Ayurveda is also a way of life that promotes wellness by teaching us to honor our individual makeup, while consciously following the rhythms and cycles of nature.
This ancient tradition is based on the cosmic principle that there exists within ourselves, as in our world, the five elements: space or ether, air, fire, water, and earth. Ayurveda teaches us that we are born with a unique combination of these elements known as our constitutional nature, or our Prakriti, which consists of three forces called Doshas, or metabolic type.
The union of a primary and secondary element produces each Dosha. Air and space form Vata, fire and water make up Pitta, and water and earth create Kapha. According to Ayurveda, our basic nature (body type, behaviors, needs and predispositions) is determined at birth by a predominate Dosha, though all elements are present in the body.
Our Prakriti continues through our lifetime, but can go out of balance, known as Vikriti, when influenced by our lifestyle, diet and environment.
Through education, clinical assessment, lifestyle & dietary recommendations, self-care practices, and restorative therapies, Ayurveda helps us keep our unique body/mind constitution in balance by decreasing the qualities most like our Dosha or metabolic type. In this balanced state, we experience a natural resistance to the influences of illness and enjoy a happier and healthier life.