Ayurveda is a traditional system of medicine that was developed in India over 5,000 years ago, making it the oldest continuously practiced health care system in the world.
According to Ayurveda everything in the universe is composed of 5 great elements. These elements are: Ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth.
Ether governs space. Space both surrounds and connects us. Ether is the mother element containing all others. Air is formed from ether. It is the element of movement. Fire is formed from the friction of air and is responsible for transformation. Water binds and nourishes. It prevents fire from burning out of control. Earth is the densest element. It provides structure and stability.
A human being is a microcosm of the universe therefore these 5 elements exist in us, but in subtle energetic forms known as the three doshas. Dosha translates to ‘that which is at fault’. As unfortunate as this sounds, this is the nature of being human. It is no easy task being a condensed version of the universe but if we pay attention to the early signs of imbalance we can prevent the manifestation of disease in our bodies.
We each have our own unique combination of the doshas referred to as our constitution. The science of Ayurveda considers the individual constitution as well as the natural fluctuations of the doshas according to environment, season, diet, stage of life, and major life changes.
The three doshas are: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each dosha has characteristic qualities that manifest as certain emotional and physical traits, and physiological functions.
Vata means ‘that which moves’. It is composed of ether and air. Some qualities of vata are: subtle, cold, light, dry, and mobile.
Pitta translates to ‘that which transforms’. Pitta is made of fire and water. It is hot, sharp, spreading, and oily.
Kapha means ‘that which nourishes’. Kapha is composed of water and earth. Some qualities of kapha are: heavy, cold, soft, and slippery.
Restoring balance with opposites
The purpose of Ayurveda is to maintain health and to heal the sick. It is preventative medicine that creates an understanding of our own constitutional make-up and gives us the tools to instill balance in our lives. Ayurveda uses the basic rule of restoring balance by using opposite qualities.
As a general example: if someone has an imbalance from excessive cold and light qualities presenting in their diet and lifestyle, warming and nourishing foods and practices would be recommended.
Our bodies are the physical manifestation of our souls. They are our vehicle to pursue our life’s purpose or dharma. The struggle is that as humans it is our nature to fall out of balance and experience suffering. This can interfere with us living our full life’s potential. Consequently, we have the responsibility to create harmony amongst ourselves. Luckily we have Ayurveda to help us.
During an Ayurvedic consultation your unique constitution as well as your current state of well-being and health goals according to the doshic system will be evaluated. This allows for for the creation of a course of action to help you regain balance, and enjoy your life to the fullest potential.