AYURVEDA IS A SANSKRIT WORD THAT MEANS
“THE SCIENCE OF LIFE.”
It is an ancient art of healing that has been practiced continuously throughout India for over 5,000 years. Ayurveda is probably the oldest authentically recorded healing science in existence today, incorporating many philosophical systems and the integration of body, mind, and consciousness. Ayurveda seeks to understand and correct imbalances and to restore the innate intelligence and harmony of the person. It gives us the insight to understand individual constitution and to create balance within and around us.
According to Ayurveda each person is unique, a combination of physical, mental and emotional characteristics which is his or her constitution. Many factors, both internal and external, can affect this constitution. Examples of some of these stresses are: one’s emotional state, diet and daily food choices, seasons and weather, physical trauma, job and family relationships. Once we understand that these factors can cause an imbalance in our constitutions, we have a choice to take appropriate actions to nullify or minimize their effects, or eliminate the cause. Balance is the natural order; imbalance is disorder. Health is order; disease is disorder. Within the body there is a constant interaction between order and disorder. Once one understands the nature and structure of disorder, one can re-establish order.
Ayurveda identifies three basic types of energy or functional principles which are present in everybody and everything. There are no single words in English to describe these types of energy, so we use the Sanskrit words vata, pitta, and kapha. Energy is required to create movement of fluids and nutrients to the cells of the body, enabling it to function. There is also energy needed to metabolize the nutrients in the cells, and energy is needed to lubricate and maintain cellular structure. Vata is the energy of movement, pitta the energy of digestion and metabolism, and kapha the energy of lubrication and structure. All people have vata, pitta, and kapha but one is usually primary, one secondary, and the third least prominent. Disease in Ayurveda is viewed as the lack of proper cellular function because of an excess or deficiency of vata, pitta or kapha and/or the presence of toxins. In Ayurveda body, mind, and consciousness work together in maintaining balance. They are simply viewed as different facets of one’s being.