What Is Ayurveda: 10 Facts You Need To Know For Holistic Living
Ayurveda is an ancient preventive healthcare system that originated in India around 5000 years ago. It is enjoying huge popularity worldwide owing to globalization and increased awareness surrounding its holistic living practices. In recent decades, it has seen a remarkable increase in the size and scope of scientific investigations probing and validating its active principles.
1. Five Elements Make Three Doshas
Ayurveda views every material existence as comprising five fundamental elements - earth, water, fire, ether(space), and air. These five elements are present in everything and everyone in varying proportions. In living beings, these elements combine to form three bodily energies called doshas. Air and space merge to form Vata; fire and water create the transforming power of Pitta; earth and water unitedly form the cohesive force of Kapha.
2. Three Energies Rule All The Physiological Processes
Vata, Pitta, and Kapha together govern all bodily functions and work in harmony with each other. Vata governs all sorts of movement - respiration, waste discharge, blood flow, nervous communication system, etc. Pitta is the digestive fire ruling chemical transformations such as digestion, hormones, and enzymes. Kapha is the anabolic energy of lubrication. It makes the structure and shape of the body - bones, muscles, and lubricates the joints for smooth functioning.
3. You Are Unique
Every living and breathing entity on this earth is a unique combination of these three doshas. This constitution is called the Prakriti of that person. It determines your physical characteristics - your body type, your vulnerability towards diseases, your reaction to food and herbs, whether a particular medicine will suit you or not, and so on. Every individual is unique and needs special care in Ayurveda. For example, if you have a Vata dominated constitution, you should take specialized care during cold weather and avoid cooling herbs.
4. Your Dosha Determines Your Personality
Individuals of Vata Prakriti are characterized by the qualities of air like quick, moving, and irregular temperament. As this dosha is responsible for the activities of the brain, they are creative and original thinkers. They are quick at learning new things but bad at retaining information. Pitta people have a quick temper and are aggressive, representing the hot and penetrating traits of fire. They are focussed and highly motivated individuals. Kapha constitution represents stable, slow, and heavy qualities of the earth and water. These individuals are slow in learning but have an excellent memory. They like discipline and are very grounded.
5. Doshas Go Corrupt At Times
Due to environmental factors or dietary indiscretion, sometimes, one of these doshas accumulate in excess. This excess accumulation is called corruption or aggravation of that dosha. In Ayurveda, every disease is the outcome of aggravation of one of these doshas. Different doshas are responsible for different kinds of diseases. For example, Pitta is responsible for digestion, but when it accumulates too much, it leads to diarrhea and hormonal imbalance. The same goes for Vata. This energy is responsible for the excretory system, but when it aggravates, it causes constipation. Kapha imbalance causes excess mucus production, obesity.
6. Ayurvedic Medicines Target This Imbalance Of Doshas
Identifying the dosha responsible for the disease and correcting it is the basic idea on which ayurvedic medicine system works. Ayurvedic medicine relies on natural herbs to pacify doshas. If you are diagnosed with dry skin, constipation, anxiety, breathing difficulties, then you are showing symptoms of Vata aggravation. Warming herbs and certain foods can better your condition.
7. Ayurvedic Medicines Do Not Work Equally On Everyone
Every ayurvedic herb has certain energies that either pacify or aggravate a dosha. Ashwagandha, for example, has hot energy that works well for Vata but it aggravates Pitta. So, it may not help people with Pitta dominating Prakriti.
8. Ayurvedic Medicines Have Side Effects
Even the food we eat has some side effects, especially when taken in improper ways, and the same goes with ayurvedic medicines. They may also cause nausea, heartburn, acidity. Much of it depends on doses, timing, season, and other dietary conditions.
9. Seasons Affect The Doshas And Your Health
Every season is dominated by a dosha, according to Ayurveda. Autumn is the season of Vata, which means it has high chances of aggravation. There is a need to take specific care for pacifying this dosha in this season if you want to avoid diseases.
10. No One-Size-Fits-All
There is nothing called the right diet plan, perfect yoga pose, the right exercise, the right medication that works for everyone. That is why you have to follow a strict diet to stay in shape, while your friend can eat anything and everything she wants and still look fabulous. What works for you may not work for someone else. Everyone needs a specific diet plan, follow a different kind of yoga, take different herbs, use different kinds of oils for skin and hair specially tailored for her needs and vulnerabilities.