To live in accordance with your nature
Ayurveda is a way of understanding the nature of everything – including your own nature. Just as every person has individual fingerprints, we also have our own specific combination of physical, mental and emotional characteristics. Illness and health problems arise when we act, or are exposed to conditions going against our innate nature.
According to Ayurveda it is the various combinations of the basic five elements, Pancha Maha Bhuta, ether / space, air, water, fire and earth which creates the variations in the physical world. By knowing the properties of the elements, we have a tool to understanding ourselves and our interaction with our surroundings.
Tridosha – 3 fundamental principles
Ayurveda describes the distribution of the elements in our body through the three doshas – vata, pitta and kapha. All five elements are present in all doshas, but two elements dominate the strongest. Ether / space and air combine to the dosha Vata, which is responsible for all forms of movement. Fire and water combine to the dosha Pitta, which is responsible for transformation. Kapha is predominantly a mixture of water and earth and is responsible for the structure. The doshas are a way to describe the psychological and physiological organization of the body. They also serve as a sort of protective barrier, since they are the ones who initially are pushed out of balance before there is damage to body tissues or organs.
Prakruti – individual constitution
From birth each person has a special distribution of the doshas, vata, pitta and kapha, which remains the same throughout life. This distribution is the person’s constitution – Prakruti. One, two or three doshas can dominate in one’s constitution. The individual Prakruti is the individual’s starting point. Prakruti also indicates the health problems one is predisposed for, since the doshas that are predominant in the person’s constitution are those that tend to come out of balance.
Vikruti – diviation from constitution
When the doshas vary from the starting point, there is an imbalance – Vikruti. Since like increases like, each person will especially be brought to imbalance by the qualities that are prominent in their own nature. So therefore – what is good for one, is not necessarily good for everyone. Persons whose constitution is dominantly Vata, will more easily be upset by food, actions, routines, etc. with Vata qualities and so forth.
The Rishis – the sages of India
Ayurveda is for India, what acupuncture is for the China. It was Indian sages who thousands of years ago learned the wisdom of Ayurveda through insight and observation. The lessons were passed down from teacher to student through oral tradition and was later written down in Sanskrit. During invasions and colonization, there were hard times for the health system of India, but today Ayurveda is experiencing a renaissance around the world, and with good reason. Ayurveda reminds us of our connection with nature that surrounds us, our connection with each other and with the entire universe. That is relevant today as it was thousands of years ago and it is relevant for Indians, as it is for the rest of the world. It is no coincidence that Ayurveda means – knowledge of life.