Ayurveda is the most ancient system of medicine that mankind has and it is also the medicine of the coming age because it is holistic in its approach. It goes to the root cause of illnesses. Ayurveda is not just cure for a disease it talks about healthy lifestyle. It teaches one how to be healthy – physically, mentally, emotionally and also with behavior.
-His Holiness Sri Sri Ravishankar
Ayurveda is an ancient vedic science of health care that has its roots in India and dates back over 5000 years. The literal meaning of Ayurveda is the life-knowledge or wisdom of life.
It is a holistic healthcare that focuses on harmonizing our body, mind and the soul to prevent and eradicate all kinds of ailments from its root. Ayurveda as a practice emphasizes on bringing our body into alignment with nature through right diet, herbal cures, lifestyle aligned with nature, yoga and meditation. It concentrates on the bodily requirement of the individual, as each person is different and reacts differently to the foods, medicines, and therapies.
The fundamentals on which the Ayurvedic system is based are true for all ages and stages of life and essential for the today’s modern society. People worldwide are realizing the effectiveness of Ayurveda and adopting the practice in their lives.
The first historical origin of Ayurveda is reflected when it was initially mentioned in the ancient Indian spiritual texts, called the “Vedas”, and through these texts, Ayurveda has been traced back to around 5,000 BC.
Two ancient books, written in Sanskrit are considered as the main texts on Ayurvedic medicine —
- Charaka Samhita, the basis of Modern Ayurveda; and
- Sushruta Samhita, Surgical science.
The texts further classify Ayurveda into eight branches of medicine:
- Internal medicine
- Treatment of diseases above the neck – Eyes, ENT and head
- Longevity and Health through Food
- Psychiatry and Spiritual Healing
Principles of Ayurveda
According to Ayurveda, the universe is composed of five basic elements: Earth, air, fire, water, and space. These five elements constitute our human body. In most respects, humans are miniatures of the vast universe.
These elements combine to form the ‘doshas’, or life-forces/ energies that control all the activities of our body. Each dosha is an integration of two of the five elements into physical form.
Doshas – Element Relationship – Roles
Vatta Dosha – Air + Space – Body movements & activities
Pitta Dosha – Fire + Water – Chemical reactions & processes in the body
Kapha Dosha – Water + Earth – Body make & volume
We are all constituted of these three doshas and these together determine our Prakriti or the unique constitution. When our doshas become imbalanced, the natural movement of life force gets disturbed. This disruption causes a build-up of toxic waste in our body, mind, and spirit, which creates disease.
In short, health occurs when these doshas in our body are balanced while any imbalance results in diseases.
Ayurveda is a holistic health system that works harmoniously with alternative therapies like Yoga and meditation. It also works towards maintaining absolute oneness with nature. The conventional system of medicine essentially treats a person only when the body suffers from an illness but Ayurvedic treatment is initiated much before the disease hits the human body and aims at maintaining that natural wellness of an individual.