In today’s era, everything is getting polluted, even the air. Our planet is changing, and we are not necessarily doing our part to slow down the degradation. As individuals, instead of making things better, everything that we do is worsening the situation. From the burning of fossil fuels to using chemicals in everything, we’ve destroyed nature and ourselves. This is initially harming our health and lifestyle.
For example, many studies and surveys indicate a direct connection between air pollution and various illnesses, including asthma, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and more. But what can we do to help ourselves be safe? Well! The solution is Ayurveda- the ancient science of healing. It deals with the maintenance of health and balance in the body and treating illnesses and diseases.
In Sanskrit, Ayurveda means science/ knowledge of life, ayur (life), and Veda (knowledge). It is a holistic form of health practice that honors the mind, body, and spirit. Ayurveda is considered yoga’s sister science. Originated in India over 5,000 years ago, it tries to heal us from the inside out. Ayurveda is dedicated to bringing out the full potential at the body, mind, and spirit levels.
Ayurveda and its principles
In the Ayurvedic worldview, every single thing in the cosmos, including human beings, comprises five great elements or five great Bhutas- Space, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. These aren’t the physical substances or the physical substance of fire but are about the qualities embodied in these substances. For example, fire is the quality of heat or illumination; water is the quality of fluidity; the earth is the quality of stability or solidity. Ayurveda believes that these five great elements in all different permutations and combinations account for the entire universe as humans know of it. When these five elements come together to form sentient life, they’re transmuted into a subtle form which is called doshas. Doshas are bioenergetic forces that are the result of the pairing of the great elements. Like, space and air come together to form Vata dosha, fire, and water to form Pitta dosha, and water and air come together to form Kapha dosha.
Each person has a unique combination of these elements determined at the time of their birth and based on it, and there can be a combination of mental or physical imbalance. These imbalances are the major causes of illness. If a dosha increases in our bodies, Ayurveda suggests that we want to decrease it to restore a healthy balance to our constitution.
Vata Dosha – Space and Air
Vata dosha is responsible for all movements- not just voluntary movements but also involuntary movements- in all sentient lives. It controls essential body functions, such as breathing, muscle movement, blood flow, heart function, and how healthy your intestines are. Vata determines how your body is functioning at a cellular level as well. At the psychological level, it is the force of movement of the mind. If your data is in balance, you could experience various health problems such as anxiety, asthma, heart problems, and skin problems. In addition, it has qualities of lightness, coldness, dryness, and mobility.
Pitta Dosha – Fire and Water
Pitta dosha is almost all fire with just a little bit of water combined in it. It controls your digestion, metabolism, body temperature, and nutrition. If it’s out of balance, it could lead to a series of health conditions. Since it contains fire, it relates to something sharp, penetrating, hot, and illuminating. So, pitta dosha is the fire of transformation in the human body. It also has the ability to create more body mass or cellular mass.
Kapha Dosha – Earth and Water
Kapha dosha is responsible for all of the binding energy in the body and the mind. It is meant to bind, lubricate, and protect. This life force controls muscle and bone growth, body strength, and your immune system. In addition, Kapha lubricates joints and moisturizes the skin, and maintains immunity.
Each of us predominantly is one or a combination of these three doshas. And an Ayurvedic practitioner will create a treatment plan specifically designed for you. They’ll consider your unique physical and emotional makeup, your primary life force, and the balance between all three of these elements. The goal of treatment is to cleanse your body of undigested food, which can stay in your body and lead to illness. The cleansing process, called “panchakarma,” is designed to reduce your symptoms and restore harmony and balance.
According to Ayurveda, every individual has Vata, Pitta, and Kapha within themselves but in unique proportions. It’s like a bioenergetic fingerprint. No two people can have the exact proportions of the three doshas. Therefore, Ayurveda tries to help you maintain a properly balanced lifestyle.
Ayurveda looks at the root cause of the dis-ease, whereas modern science would only look at the easy solution. For instance, when you walk into an allopathic doctor’s office for a headache, the doctor checks your symptoms and writes you a prescription. Whereas an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner will get your detailed history, try to identify the root causes (hiatus in Sanskrit) and work on eliminating them. If digestion causes the headache, the Vaidya will address the digestion first, and that will take care of your headaches.
Ayurveda looks at the Roga (disease) and the Rogi (patient) individually and provides a tailored treatment plan accordingly. An Ayurveda practitioner will identify your Dosha (Vata/Pitta/Kapha) and then prescribe your treatment. A Vata type of headache is addressed differently than a Kapha-prone headache. There is no ‘one size fits all concept’ in Ayurveda.
So, Ayurveda is more of a preventative science and is used to maintain health. It not only talks about physical health but also emotional and spiritual health. So, it can be an excellent solution to heal your body completely.