Ayurveda is an ancient Indian science which is 40.000 years old but has remained relevant in today’s fast paced lifestyle.
Ayurveda is derived from two root words “Ayu” and “Veda”. Ayu means lifespan, longevity, and Veda means science. So Ayurveda means the Science of Life, Lifespan, and Longevity.The World Health Organisation recognizes Ayurveda as “the world’s most ancient, scientific, holistic, complete, natural system of healthcare”.
Swastha or the healthy state is maintained from birth and the three doshas (energies) remain in a balanced state, then the person achieves a well balanced constitution, attractive appearance, good muscular strength and complete peace of mind.
Ayurvedic Definition of Health – Ancient Ayurvedic author, Sushruta has described the features of a healthy person as when doshas must be in equilibrium, the digestive fire must be in a balanced state and the tissues (dhatus) and wastes (malas) must work in a normal state. The sensory and motor organs, mind and Atma (Soul) must be also in a pleasant state. Such a person is called a healthy person or Swastha.(“Samadosha, samagnischa samadhatumala kriyaha prasanna atmenindriya manaha swasthya ityabhidheeyate”)
Basic Principles of Ayurveda
Ayurveda is based on the premise that the universe is made up of five elements: air, fire, water, earth and ether. These elements are represented in humans by three “doshas”, or energies: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. When any of the doshas accumulate in the body beyond the desirable limit, the body loses its balance. Every individual has a distinct balance, and our health and well-being depend on getting a right balance of the three doshas (“tridoshas”). Ayurveda suggests specific lifestyle and nutritional guidelines to help individuals reduce the excess dosha. Read more
Eight Branches of Ayurveda
Classically, Ayurvedic Medicine was conceptualized and practiced as eight major clinical subspecialties of medicine in addition to numerous adjunctive specialties. These eight major subspecialties continue to be taught today and they include: Read more
For every disease, there is information about: definition, etiology, prodrome, clinical symptoms, pathophysiology, prognosis, principles of treatment, medicines, diet, lifestyle recommendations, and etymology. This approach is very similar to that of modern medicine and even more comprehensive.
The human physiology is a product or expression of Nature. It is constructed by the infinite organising power of the Laws of Nature. Hence, all that is expressed in the human mind-body complex, including all structure and function, speech and action, is a reflection of the structural dynamics of the Laws of Nature. The laws that govern Nature are the very same laws that govern the life of man.
Health, however, is not merely a matter of the state of the body, since it is obvious that we are much more than just this material form. Any system of health that only takes into account the structure and functioning of the physical body cannot effectively address human health in its totality.
Ayurveda is not just a medicinal approach to health; rather it is a complete paradigm of life. It gives equal importance to the parts of life which are more subjective and intangible, and to those which are objective and material (those aspects that we can observe with our physical senses). It is a view of life which understands that the non-material components of our lives – our consciousness, mind, thoughts, feelings and emotions – animate and direct our more physical parts.
Based on this perspective, Ayurveda defines Ayu or Life as the intelligent co-ordination of the 4 parts of life, Atma (the Soul), Manas (the Mind), Indriyas (the Senses), and Sharira (the Body), with the totality of life. Each of these 4 aspects has specific functions which contribute to the wholeness that we experience as life. Ayurveda focuses on maintaining a balanced, integrated relationship among them.
Imbalance, whether physical, mental or emotional, arises when there is a disconnection between the subjective/non-physical and the objective/physical areas of life.