Updated: Aug 1, 2019
"To understand Ayurveda is to understand life. The knowledge that changes and shapes the way we see ourselves and the world as being one in harmony with the elements of Nature."
There is a lot of information that is currently sweeping the internet and Ayurveda is slowly gaining the recognition that it deserves but it is important that we make sure that we don't dilute this ancient healing system and instead use it to help ourselves and others to live a life that is free from imbalances of the mind, body and spirit.
We live in the age of information and though this is great it can also leave us struggling to find relevant information that is necessary to our healing process. In this article I am going to lay down the basics of Ayurveda in a way that is accessible and easy for us to understand, but it is important to understand that you have the most knowledge of your body so remember to follow your own intuition with any information you hear. Put things into practice, see how your body reacts and trust yourself. Life isn't linear and neither is our health; we change with the seasons, the environment, and our stress levels so we will need to adjust our routines according to our current state of balance which is always changing.
Ayurveda is 5,000 years of wisdom built around this belief by using the elements, foods, and rhythms of nature to support our bodies and bring them back to balance.
In Ayurveda rather than wait until a disease has manifested in our bodies we try to catch imbalances before they develop, making Ayurveda a preventative medical science. To be out of balance can mean anything from having from bloating or gas, to feeling a lack of energy or luster for life, all the way to having physical symptoms (dis-ease). Ayurveda treats and looks at all dis-eases of the body and mind in the same way, as an imbalance of one of three Dosha's: Pitta, Kapha, or Vata. Ayurveda works with the belief that the mind, body and spirit are intrinsically connected; and it all begins and ends with a healthy Agni (digestive fire).
In Ayurveda it is said that all diseases are caused by an imbalance in our digestion, which is being backed more and more up by Western medical science by the day. However, Ayurveda believes that rather than eating other people's healthy probiotics (digestive enzymes) via a tablet or drink - we can instead bring our bodies environment back into it's natural state of balance so that it can produce it's own bacteria and continue to support the other systems within our bodies in the way it has been programmed to do for thousands of years.
The three energies in Ayurveda are known as Pitta (Fire and Water), Vata (Air and Space), and Kapha (Earth and Water). These three energies exist in every living thing and are much more complex than some might think. Our bodies are predominantly made out of these energies, we all have all three energies or dosha's within our constitution's in varying amounts. Some of us might be suffering with an imbalance in our Vata, Kapha, or Pitta; and sometimes all three. We can recognise which dosha's are out of balance by looking at our imbalances, both emotional and physical and bring ourselves back into balance by using the correct herbs and making informed lifestyle choices.
Ayurveda believes that like increases like so if we are suffering from a Pitta imbalance (excess of Fire and Water), eating Pitta foods, drinking Pitta aggravating drinks or living a very Pitta lifestyle the fire in our system will only increase and cause emotional and physical disturbances. Psychologically, imbalanced Pitta causes strong emotions such as hate, anger and forcefulness, Pitta-type depression, and much more. Physically, aggravated Pitta can manifest in the body as migranes, infections, increased body temperature, irritation of eyes, uncontrollable feelings of desire, jealousy or rage.
Vata (Air and Space), however, is dry, cold and always moving. Vata manifests psychologically as anxiety, fear, lack of focus, inability to stop thoughts and worries, excessive desire to run or do heavily cardio-based exercises, eating raw/cold food, suffering Vata-type depression and more. Physically, Vata manifests in the body as dryness, cracking joints, cold hands and feet, inability to keep warm, lack of appetite, shortness of breath, panic attacks etc.
Kapha (Earth and Water) is heavy, sticky and cold in nature like Vata. Imbalanced Kapha can result in feeling stagnant in our lives or our bodies, lack of desire/energy for anything, excessive sleeping and eating sweet foods, Kapha-type depression, feelings of lonliness and isolation and many more. Physically Kapha shows up in our bodies as phelgm and mucous, weight gain, weight related issues such as diabetes, sinus issues, chest issues, high blood pressure, recurring chest infections etc.
Balancing the body by recognising when our dosha's are out of balance and practicing a lifestyle that can counterbalance this. For example, a heavy Kapha imbalance could perhaps benefit from eating a more Pitta (heating) diet, and practicing Pitta-style exercises to bring their inner fire up and balance their constitution. It is always advised to book an appointment with an Ayurvedic Doctor/Practitioner for the best results.
Sending you all my love,