Ayurveda is one of the oldest systems of natural healing, dating back more than 5,000 years and originating in the Vedic culture of India.
More than a mere system of treating illness, Ayurveda is regarded as a science of life (ayu = life, veda = science) that helps each person find and maintain his or her own balanced state of health. It provides guidelines on daily and seasonal routines, diet, exercise and behavior, and thus reminds us that health is not the mere absence of disease but a dynamic balance between our inner (body-mind-spirit) and outer environment (nature).
According to Ayurveda, there is a fundamental relationship between nature and human beings. Both are made up of the five elements (ether, air, fire, water, earth) and governed by three essential principles: movement, transformation and structure. In the body, these three principles or doshas are known in Sanskrit as Vata (ether and air), Pitta (fire and water) and Kapha (earth and water). They are responsible for both our physical traits and mental tendencies that form the foundation of our unique constitution.
This concept of constitution provides us with a psycho-physiological blueprint of our strengths and challenges and guides us in making appropriate diet and lifestyle choices to attain a state of harmony. Although each of us is made up of all three doshas, most people have one or two doshas that are more dominant. If Vata is dominant in our system, we tend to have a narrow body frame, low weight, and are flexible and enthusiastic. Out of balance, a Vata person tends to experience anxiety, insomnia, dry skin, constipation and has difficulty concentrating or completing tasks. If Pitta predominates in our nature, we tend to be medium built, goal-oriented and with a sharp mind and a strong will. Out of balance, a Pitta person tends to be overly ambitious, irritable and may suffer from hyperacidity or any inflammatory condition. When Kapha prevails, we tend to be heavier built, enjoy great stamina and have a sweet and easy-going nature. Out of balance, a Kapha person may experience sluggishness, weight gain, depression and congestion.
An important goal of Ayurveda is to identify a person’s ideal state of balance, determine the imbalance and offer therapies, including nutrition, herbs, massage and seasonal cleansing & rejuvenation programs, as well as yoga and meditation, to reestablish balance and promote healing, wellness and longevity.