What is ayurveda?
Ayurveda is the ancient healing wisdom of India, a medical system that has been tried and tested over thousands of years. It is today regaining popularity as people realise the effects of our modern lifestyle, diet and medicines, and seek a more balanced way of living. Ayurveda helps you to understand your true nature and work in harmony with it, to bring your whole being into balance - body, mind, emotions, spirit - and give long-term good health and vitality.
The five elements
Everything in nature, including us, is made up of five elements: space, wind, fire, water and earth. Everything in the body happens because of the three doshas, or subtle energies, called Vata (wind, the energy which makes elimination, breathing and all movements in the body happen), Pitta (fire, which digests everything) and Kapha (earth and water, the force behind all lubrication and structure in the body). When these different forms of energy go out balance, the body's functioning is disrupted and imbalance results. Keeping the doshas in balance is the key to good health.
These three doshas are what give us our physical, mental and emotional characteristics; your individual constitution. You could be predominantly Vata, Pitta or Kapha (or a mixture). This explains why the foods and habits that suit one person may not suit another - they have different constitutions. By following the right diet and lifestyle for your dosha, you can maintain and restore your individual balance of the five elemnts and the three doshas. This is the ayurvedic way to optimum health and harmony in your physical health, mind, emotions and spirit. Which dosha am I?
Ayurveda is not a short-term programme or a diet. It is the Science of Life (Ayu = life, Veda = science or knowledge); a way of living in harmony with yourself and with nature, bringing body, mind, emotions and consciousness into balance with each other. When we can do this, happiness and success come into all areas of life: personal, social, relationships, work, home, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. Ayurveda treats illness but it is also a way of living that helps prevent illness and imbalance, and maintains health. Yoga is one of its main therapies, and they share the same spiritual understanding: that we are all part of one Divine, or universal, energy. Ayurveda's purpose is to give us a life that is long and healthy - and happy!