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The Science of Life or Ayurvedic Medicine

science of ayurveda

My interest in Ayurveda as ‘the science of life’ was sparked during my yoga teacher training in the 1981. Yoga and Ayurveda are historically linked. Since then I have endeavoured to apply the principles of Ayurveda in my lifestyle. From attitude to daily yoga, mindfulness, right breathing and eating, meditation and energy management skills. As an Ayurvedic Health Coach myself now I enjoy supporting my clients with basic principles of Ayurveda and mentoring practice.

Practicing selfing or self-nurturing means I also enjoy receiving Ayurvedic therapies myself. While I am teaching the students on our Annual India Retreat I also receive 7-10 days of balancing massages and partake of the cleansing balancing Ayurveda diet.

Preserved in India Ayurveda translates as The Science of Life

Terry Oldfield and I offer an annual India Retreat in the motherland of Ayurveda, Kerala, so you too can experience authentic Ayurveda treatments. During our retreats I teach morning classes of gentle yoga together with mindfulness, mantra and meditation.

Participants receive 6 days of Ayurveda with the professional Indian practitioners under the close guidance Ayurvedic Doctors. In Kerala the Ayurvedic tradition has been preserved for thousands of years and traditional herbs and techniques are very precise.

The therapies take the form of medicated oil massages and herbal treatments with medicines prescribed by professional Ayurvedic Doctors.

So…if your curious here is just a little about Ayurveda ‘The Science of Life’.

Ayurveda is an ancient health care tradition or ‘Science Of Life’ that has been practiced in India for at least 5,000 years. The word comes from the Sanskrit terms ayur (life) and veda (knowledge). It is one of the first healing sciences ever to acknowledge the effects of body, mind and spirit on our health. Although Ayurvedic medicine, was documented in the sacred historical texts known as the Vedas many centuries ago, Ayurveda has evolved over the years and has integrated with other traditional practices, including yoga. Now Yoga and Ayurveda can be woven together to form a way of living close to our original nature.

According to Ayurvedic theory, everything in the universe (living or not) is connected. Good health is achieved when mind, body, and spirit are in harmony with the universe. A disruption of this harmony will create poor health and sickness in some form of dis-ease.

Ayurveda says that everything is formed of certain elements; earth, water, fire, air and space/ether. From these basic building blocks everything is formed with different ratios and this changes throughout the day, our life or depending on the environment, season or culture. eg:In winter it is cold and our bodies require more warming or fiery foods. In summer it is balancing to include cooling foods in our diet. If we are experiencing anger which is a fiery emotion we may require to cool our temperament to balance this emotion.

5 elements of Ayurveda

These five basic elements come together to form unique constitutions for each individual. We each contain every element however constitutions vary depending on our individual makeup. As such each of us is a one-of-a-kind with an equally unique blueprint for our health. By providing a universal framework for understanding these blueprints, Ayurveda teaches us to honour and support our true individual natures.

From these five elements occurring in different combinations Ayurveda has developed a system of three constitutions or three major doshas.

These three Doshas are Kapha, Pita and Vata. Vata is a predominant combination of space and air, Pitta reflects the qualities of Fire and Water and Kapha reflects the elements of water and earth. The doshas are biological energies found throughout the human body and mind. They govern all physical and mental processes and provide every living being with an individual blueprint for health and fulfilment.

3 doshas

1. Vata Dosha – Energy that controls bodily functions associated with motion, including blood circulation, breathing, blinking, and your heartbeat. In balance: There is creativity and vitality. Out of balance: Can produce fear and anxiety, dryness and oversensitivity.

2. Pitta Dosha – Energy that controls the body’s metabolic systems, including digestion, absorption, nutrition, and your body’s temperature. In balance: Leads to contentment and intelligence. Out of balance: sluggish and poor digestion and assimilation or at the other end of the scale too much fire which may cause acid reflux and loose bowels.

3. Kapha Dosha – Energy that controls growth in the body. It supplies water to all body parts, moisturises the skin, and maintains the immune system. In balance: Expressed as contentment, love and forgiveness. Out of balance: Can lead to obesity, sluggishness, inertia or depression.

Ayurvedic Medicine

Each body is composed of all three Doshas, but usually one or two dominate. These doshas can either be aggravated,  in balance or out of balance. Various Dosha proportions determine one’s physiological and personality traits, as well as general likes and dislikes. For example Vata types will prefer hot weather to cold and Kapha types are happier in cooler whether and are more likely to crave spicy foods than other types. Pita predominate people are faster moving, sharp and intelligent and need to take care not to burn out. Certain foods and environments are also more beneficial or balancing to different Dosha constitutional types and thus Ayurveda becomes a Science of Life to maintain balance within our own unique constitution.

This is a very basic overview of the wonderful Science of Ayurveda. On our Annual India Retreats this year in 2024 there are professionally trained Ayurvedic doctors who continue to oversee your treatments after your initial consultation and are on call during our stay in India.

Any Questions please inquire through email.

The underlying prescription of Ayurvedic medicine is quite simple: recognise the power of self-healing within, and you will become your own greatest doctor!

Namaste Soraya

1 thought on “The Science of Life or Ayurvedic Medicine”

  1. Thank you for providing such a detail and easy to understand article on Ayurveda. The images help to understand the point in a better way.I liked the way you explained the three doshas and also mentioned what will be the effect if it is imbalanced.

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