What is Ayurveda
Ayurveda is known to be the oldest healing science in existence, forming the foundation of many other therapy sciences.[i] Ayurveda, as per the Sanskrit texts, means “the science of life” or longevity. It is a holistic alternative science that originated in India as far as 5,000 years ago and is often referred to as the “mother of all healing sciences.” It originates from the ancient Vedic culture which was taught for thousands of years through Guru Sishya parampara (oral modes of communication from accomplished masters to their disciples).[ii]
Veda Vyasa, the famous sage, preserved the entire knowledge of Ayurveda in writing, along with the more spiritual insights of morals, ethics, virtue, and self-realization.1
According to Ayurvedic principles, everything in the universe -- living or non-living -- is connected. Good health is achieved when your mind, body, and spirit are in harmony with the external universe. A disruption of this harmony or balance can lead to poor health and sickness. Ayurveda teaches that man is a microcosm of nature; hence the five basic elements (Panchmahabhutas) present in all the matter also exists within each individual. It places great emphasis on prevention of diseases and promotes the maintenance of health through exercising balance in one’s life, right thinking, dietary regimen, lifestyle and the use of herbal medicine. Ayurvedic knowledge enables us to understand how to create this balance of body, mind and the conscience according to one’s own individual constitution and thereby make lifestyle changes to maintain this balance.2
Just as everyone has a unique fingerprint, every person has a distinct pattern of energy—a unique and specific combination of physical, mental and emotional features — which comprises one’s own constitution. This constitution which is consolidated at birth is influenced by a number of factors and remains the same throughout one’s life.2
Several factors, internal as well as external, act upon us to disturb this balance and are presented as a change in one’s constitution from its balanced state. Examples of such emotional and physical stresses include the emotional aspects, diet and food choices, seasons and weather, physical injury, work and family relations. Once these aspects are understood, one can take appropriate actions to remove or diminish their effects or eliminate the causes of imbalance and re-establish one’s original constitution.2
Balance is the natural order; imbalance is disorder. Health is nothing but order and disease is nothing but disorder. Inside our body there is a constant interaction between order and disorder. When you understand the nature and structure of disorder, you can re-establish order.2 Ayurveda helps a healthy individual to maintain health, and the diseased person to re-establish health. The practice of Ayurveda is tailored to promote human happiness, health and creative growth.3
- Tirtha SS. The Ayurveda encyclopedia: Natural secrets to healing, prevention, and longevity. Sat Yuga Press; 2007.
- Lad V. Ayurveda, A Brief Introduction and Guide. Institute TA, editor. Albuquerque. 2003.