Ayurveda is recognized by the World Health Organization as on of the the world’s foremost traditional medical practices. Like yoga, it is also indigenous to India. It has been practiced for more than 5000 years and is still highly effective and widely used. The word Ayurveda means “science of life” or “lore of life” in Sanskrit. The guiding principle of Ayurveda is to promote health through the balance of the five natural elements— earth, water, fire, air and space (ether).
Due to the unique qualities of the elements, it is believed that certain elements have innate relationships to one another. As such, three distinct energetic constitutions or “doshas” are formed. The three doshas are known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha. We embody all three doshas to varying degrees and each dosha has specific mental, physical and emotional characteristics and responsibilities within us.
About the doshas
VATA = Air + Space
Vata controls all communication and movement in the body. This means, circulation, breath, voice, nerve function, transportation of nutrients to cells and excretion of waste. As well, Vata is associated with creativity, intuition and adaptability.
PITTA = Fire + Water
Pitta handles everything that requires physical and mental transformation. It governs digestion, metabolism of nutrients, production of cell energy, the intellect and the force that “get things done.” Pitta also ignites our passion, courage and self-esteem.
KAPHA = Earth + Water
Kapha’s role is to helps us with stability, lubrication and protection. This means, kapha is responsible for bones density, structure of cell membrane, synovial fluid, moucous, as well as growth and development from fetus to adult. Emotionally speaking, Kapha is governs compassion, reliability and memory.
Health and Dis-ease
We each have a unique composition of elements and doshas that make us special and one of a kind. This is what we call our “prakurti”, our essential nature. When the doshas are in balance, we feel good. We feel like the best version of ourselves.
When the doshas are out of balance, dis-ease and illness can be present. This aquired or imbalanced state is called the “vikurti” and reflects our imbalances or health concerns.
When treating an ailment with Ayurveda, both the prakurti and the vikurti are taken into consideration.
Ayurvedic treatments include: custom food plans, recipes, daily routines, herbal remedies, poultices, breathing techniques, yoga as well as other therapies such as oleation, massage and energy balancing.
Because we are all unique, each person requires a customized food plan, yoga practice and specific lifestyle suggestions catered to their needs. Success and healing lie in the art of creating a tailor-made routine for the individual and simultaneously empowering that individual to observe their own natural rhythms and make conscious choices towards health and happiness.
NOTE: It is important to note that Ayurveda is not meant to be a substitute for Western medicine. It is best as preventative medicine. In the case of a serious health issue, ayurveda is a wonderful lifestyle complement to the allopathic system, meaning ayurveda helps patients maintain good digestion, strong immunity and rest while receiving Western medical treatments like antibiotics, chemotherapy, mood-stabilizers, etc.
My Journey with Ayurveda
As a yoga teacher, studying Ayurveda and becoming a certified Ayurvedic practitioner has changed everything for me, from the way I eat to the way I teach. My understanding of yoga, its Eight-Limbs, and its healing process has deepened through the study of Ayurveda. I am happier and more aware of my own personal needs and I strive to teach others how to do the same. Ayurveda has also heightened my intuitive skills making me more sensitive to the needs of my yoga students and my Ayurvedic clients.