More than 5,000 years old, Ayurveda is a form of traditional, holistic Indian healing science. Thought to be the most comprehensive medical system, and one that formed the basis of Buddhist, Traditional Chinese and Tibetan healing practices, Ayurvedic medicine comprises lifestyle, food, herbs, colours, crystals and gemstones, aroma, yoga and mantras.
Ayurveda – also known as ‘the science of life’ – focuses not so much on curing illness and disease, but instead on helping people to achieve vitality and reach their life potential, recognising the integration of healthy body, mind and spirit.
In its recognition of our connection to nature as human beings, Ayurvedic medicine refers to three fundamental energies, or ‘doshas’ – Vata (wind), Pitta (fire) and Kapha (earth) – that determine our internal and external environments, the characteristics of our minds and bodies, and thus our health. As unique individuals, we each have a unique proportion of all three forces that forms our nature – and we tend to find that most of us have one or two particularly predominating elements. We may present with balanced and imbalanced expressions of each Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
V A T A is the dosha associated with movement – the wind dosha. It comprises and represents motion-centred functions, such as blinking, breathing, circulation, and the beating of the heart. When balanced, there is creativity and vitality. Fear and anxiety present with imbalance.
P I T T A , the fire dosha, represents the energy controlling metabolic processes in the body, including nutrition, digestion, absorption, elimination and temperature regulation. Intelligence and pleasure, serenity present in a balanced state, whereas imbalance may cause ulceration or feelings of anger.
K A P H A represents the earth’s energy, controlling growth and development – hydrating the body, maintaining a healthy immune system, and nourishing the skin. Love and forgiveness represent a balanced state, while insecurity and envy present where there is imbalance.
Ayurveda concentrates on the goal of balancing an individual’s nature by identifying their ideal balanced state, discovering areas of imbalance, and offering interventions (such as diet, herbs, music, meditation, massage, and aromatherapy) to rebalance mind, body and soul.
Are you interested in learning more about your dominating, and less dominating, doshas? I can highly recommend this quiz by the Chopra Centre, which gives a thorough breakdown of your mind-body type, allowing you to support your unique nature – Ayurveda style ;)
What’s your favourite traditional healing science?
References: The Chopra Centre, 'The Ayurveda Encyclopaedia: natural secrets to healing, prevention & longevity' by Swami Sadashiva Tirtha.