‘Through Ayurveda you will discover all the forces of Nature working within you, and that you yourself are a replica of the cosmos…’ – David Frawley
Ayurveda, or the ‘science of life’ is the five thousand year old Vedic natural healing system of India. As we mentioned here, in its original intention, Yoga is far more than just a physical practice. It includes systems such as Vedanta and Tantra. Simply put, Ayurveda is its medical component.
Despite its ancient origins, Ayurveda is re-emerging at the forefront of mind-body medicine. As it continues to grow in global popularity, Ayurveda doesn’t seem archaic… but rather a potential key to future medicine. When used correctly (and consistently!), Ayurvedic systems can become incredible resources for bringing about wholeness to all levels of our existence.
What is Ayurveda all about?
Ayurveda sees the human body as far more than a compilation of biochemical processes. Derived from yogic philosophy, this system that comprehends body, mind and spirit within a single view – with specific healing methods for working with each part. Ayurveda reflects the innate intelligence that each one of our bodies have. It suggests that when healthy, the human body is as self-correcting and harmonious as the wider universe it’s a part of. Beautiful, huh?
There are many reasons that we tend to lose balance in our bodies and lives. This includes factors like diet, emotional turbulence, lifestyle choices, seasonal fluctuations and so on.
Ayurveda seeks to find the root cause of imbalance, prescribing varying regimens only from here. Like many other holistic systems, it treats the whole person, rather than just specific systems. Ayurvedic treatments include diet changes, lifestyle practices, detoxification processes, natural remedies, hands-on therapies and even meditation or mantra exercises. In the pursuit of healthy, balanced minds and bodies, there are no ‘quick fixes,’ in Ayurveda – rather, it is a beautiful lifelong practice.
‘Ayurvedic doctors need not call call themselves psychologists. Psychology is part of their usual practice that considers both physical and mental disease. ‘ – Dr. David Frawley
The Three Doshas
Ayurveda suggests that each one of us is made up of a balance of the five elements: ether (space), air, water, fire and earth. We have this in common with the rest of the universe.
The term Dosha is used to summarise the mind-body types within Ayurveda. There are three kinds of Doshas, which are essentially a way of categorising the main elements within someone. Each of us falls into one of the three types, which are:
– Vata, which is composed primarily of space and air element
– Pitta, which is composed of fire, with some water
– Kapha, which is composed of both earth and water
These combinations are essentially mark our constitution, or our prakruti. Our prakruti is sensitive to changes within our environment, diet, the seasons and so on. Any imbalance within our current state is called vikruti. Understanding our prakruti and vikruti, marks the starting point of our Ayurvedic healing journeys.
As we all have a unique constitution and unique imbalances, it makes sense that each person’s path toward health would also be totally unique. This is one of the major principles of Ayurveda. If you’re curious about your own constitution, go ahead and try this Chopra Centre Dosha quiz. Though (given the complex nature of Ayurveda) if you are seriously interested in embarking on this healing path, we definitely do recommend speaking to a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner!
Why is Ayurveda still relevant today?
Nowadays, many medical systems speak only to our symptoms. We’re often prescribed quick-fix pills targeting surface issues, rather than recognising them as symptoms of much deeper imbalance.
On the other hand, Ayurveda teaches us that harmony with nature, simplicity and mental contentment are key to our wellbeing.
Its beautiful teachings show us that by living in a state of balance – fulfilment can be a matter of being, rather than becoming. Ayurveda connects us with the wellspring of divinity and happiness within our own consciousness, allowing us to permanently and continually overcome mental imbalance. It has the potential to become a way of life, and a lens through which we see the world. This ultimately leads to a heightened understanding of others, presence, health and peace.
All this requires, is an openness towards changing how we live, think, and perceive. While at first Ayurvedic theory may seem complex, you will soon notice that principals are actually incredibly simple and intuitive. It truly is the science of Life – the art of living wisely, in perfect harmony within ourselves and the universe.
Ayurveda is a healing lifestyle practice that many of our yogis at Happy Buddha have chosen to adopt. Its principles are underlying elements of our programs, from activities such as yoga, sound meditation… and even our delicious meals! To learn more, why not pop in for a visit?
Nisha is a freelance writer and Vedic astrologer, based in the magical Byron Hinterlands. As well as running her candle business, her life and loves involve: yoga, gardening and all things esoteric. You’ll find her out in nature, or curled up at home with a good book. Happy Buddha is one of her most treasured places on earth (and indeed where she met her fiancé!).