IMG_6545Ayurveda is a complete holistic healthcare system that originated in India 5,000 years ago. Ayurveda helps the whole Self stay balanced through proper use of nutrition, yoga, meditation and regular detoxification and purification practices. Ayurveda believes that finding your true calling (dharma) and living in harmony with your life’s purpose is tantamount to living a long, healthy life.

The word Ayurveda is a combination of two Sanskrit words, “Ayu” meaning life and “Veda” meaning wisdom. Ayurveda literally translates to “Wisdom of Life”. These principles can be universally applied and speaks to every facet of human life, offering guidance that has been tested and refined over many centuries and offered like a map to follow for the seekers of greater harmony and longevity.

The Five Elements
Ayurveda holds that each living and non-living thing is comprised of five fundamental elements – ether (or space), air, fire, water and earth. Each of us is born with all five of these present within us; however, we each have them in different proportions that determines our individual features and our inherent mental and physical tendencies. Our own unique blend of these elements creates our unique body constitution. The secret is in learning how to live in harmony with the way we already are, with the way we were designed and brought onto this earth. Ayurveda makes this easy through a classification system according to the three “doshas”.

The Three Doshas
The various combinations of these five elements give rise to three main doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Ayurveda determines which dosha predominates in someone, and very carefully outlines what will aggravate or pacify that body type. In short, what will cause an imbalance of any kind — either too much or too little of anything.

Vata: Space and Air make up Vata. Vata is movement, and expansiveness. Because of so much air, Vata is dry, cold, light and thin. Excessively dry skin, constipation, difficulty losing weight, cracked and brittle nails, dry frizzy hair, light sleeper, prone to nervous disorders and irregular features (crooked nose for example) are all tendencies that are characteristic of Vata.

Pitta: Fire and Water make up Pitta. Pitta is transformation and digestion. Pitta is hot, oily and sharp. Very organized, good digestion, anger easily, light or red hair, business-minded, good leadership and administrative skills and premature graying are all characteristic of Pitta.

Kapha: Earth and Water make up Kapha. Kapha is solid, heavy, damp and slow. Stability, perseverance, difficulty losing weight, thick shiny hair, bushy eyebrows, nurturing abilities and dependability are all characteristics of Kapha.
The descriptions above are only general guidelines, and a mere summary of much more extensive information your Ayurvedic practitioner must attain in order to determine your predominant dosha and body type. Most people are not strictly predominated by one dosha, but a combination of two. A lucky few are considered Tri-dosha, meaning they have each of the three doshas in equal proportions. This body constitution has the least difficulty in maintaining balance throughout life.

A Preventive Medicine

Ayurveda is a timeless science and can be applied to your well-being throughout your lifetime. Ayurveda can be used as a system of prevention and self-care for anyone seeking a proactive way to take care of themselves. Ayurvedic doctors are trained in the medical aspect of Ayurveda and use a different approach than Western Medicine. 

The traditional practice of Ayurveda has 8 principle branches of medicine: pediatrics, gynecology, obstetrics, ophthalmology, geriatrics, ear/nose/throat, general medicine and surgery. An Ayurvedic doctor will use tongue and pulse analysis to diagnose malaise in the body. In a gentle way, an Ayurvedic Practitioner can start to peel back the layers of toxicity that have been accumulating in the body until the root cause of the problem is revealed. Ayurveda is interested in the root cause of any imbalance, not the symptoms or outward appearance of a physical problem.

Sometimes the cause of an imbalance is that you are eating an excess of heating foods; on the other hand, harboring too much anger could result in the same symptoms. But the causes are two very different conditions. Ayurveda addresses the whole person, putting pieces of a very large and intricate puzzle together so that we are better able to unravel the causes and disturbances that are throwing us off balance, ultimately helping us devise the best plan to regain balance.

Ayurvedic Practitioners are trained to look for these disturbances through the use of various diagnostic tools, and develop a lifestyle plan to help you combat the stressors that are causing the imbalance.

Importance of Detoxification

Regular detoxification methods are integral to keeping your body balanced. Breathing is the most eliminative method known by the human body. When we engage in focused breathwork in precise patterns and rhythms, we are giving our body a tremendous anti-aging boost. Through a consistent meditation and breathwork practice, the air inside our lungs is purified, and our mind is cleansed from negativity and unhealthy mental patterns. The cause of most physical diseases in this world come from the mind and from our thought patterns.

Massage aids the body’s natural detoxification process as toxins held inside tissues are mechanically dislodged allowing the body to carry them away for recycling or elimination. Ayurveda applies the use of natural oils that not only nourish and give luster to the skin, but also help in the detoxification process by penetrating deep into the layers of the skin and deeper body tissues in order to pull out toxins.

Besides the physical benefits, massage and human touch is one of the fundamental needs we have on this physical plane, proven from the day we were born. Touch promotes growth, security, and an overall feeling of well-being. A touch-deprived person will have a weakened immune system, emotional disturbances, and may even exhibit stunted growth both physically and intellectually. We tend to get touched less and less as we get older, although our primal need for touch does not diminish. Most of us wouldn’t dream of going weeks or months without opening our eyes, yet there are plenty of people who haven’t been massaged or held for just as long.

Ayurveda believes that touch nourishes life just as food does, and recognizes the balancing effect that regular massage and bodywork creates on the whole person.

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