What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda can be translated into the science or wisdom of life. It is a holistic healthcare system originating in India thousands of years ago, however it is still just as relevant for our modern lives. It gives us a blueprint for how to live wisely, or more specifically it gives us a blueprint for how to live according to our own unique and individual constitution. According to Ayurveda we are all a unique expression of nature, meaning there is no ‘’one size fits all” approach. This empowers us as individuals to take control of our own health and wellbeing.
One who sees equally the entire universe in his own self and his own self in the entire universe is in possession of true knowledge. - Charaka Samhita
Ayurveda at its core is an elemental science, it is based on the five elements – earth, water, fire, air and space. These five elements are the building blocks for everything in the universe. Every one of us is made out of these elements. This can be hard to wrap our heads around. When we look out into nature its easy to see the elements, but how does this translate into our bodies? If you take a look at the earth element its our skeletal system, the minerals in us, the denseness in our body that holds us together. The water element is all the fluids of the body. The fire element can be seen in our digestive system, the enzymes, hormones and also in the fire of intellect and understanding. The wind element is all the movement within the body, the circulation, breathing, the movement of our thoughts. The space element is seen in the spaces of the body, the space in the joints, the empty bladder, the empty stomach, the space between thoughts. When we look at it in this way we can start to understand how the elements come to play within us.
Vata, pitta and kapha move in the whole body producing good or ill effects upon the entire system, according to their normal or aggravated states. Their normal state is balance and their aggravated state is illness. - Charaka Samhita
From these five elements come these 3 groups of elements that are naturally drawn to each other, creating the 3 doshas. Space and air come together to create Vata Dosha, fire and water come together to create Pitta Dosha, and earth and water come together to create Kapha Dosha. We all have all of these 3 Doshas within us but from the moment of conception these doshas combine in a unique way to create our prakriti, our unique individual makeup. Depending on our lifestyle, the food we eat and the emotions we are experiencing, this all effects our prakriti, our constitution and it can either support us or create an imbalance in one or more of the doshas. Understanding your own constitution allows you to start to live your life in a way that is more supportive, making choices that bring more balance, health and happiness.
Interested to learn more? Want to find out your own unique constitution? You can always find dosha quizzes online which will give you a basic understanding but if you really want to dive into living life in alignment with your constitution the best thing to do is book an Ayurvedic lifestyle and nutrition consultation!