Sanskrit: Ayur : Life + Veda : Knowing = The Science of Life. The ancient seers (Rishis) of India contemplated the ailments of the time, and took note that mental, physical and emotional imbalances effected the time and energy a person had to dedicate to their spiritual development. From their spiritual efforts, Ayurveda was born.
Ayurveda covers many disciplines, and is the only unbroken healing practice still in use. 6,000 years in the making, the system has grown and modified with the times, and can be applied to any person anywhere in the world.
Ayurveda forces a person to become in tune with themselves on all levels. You must be true to yourself in your assessment of your constitution, for, to know yourself, you can best help to heal yourself.
The posts under the Main Category: Ayurveda are taken exerts from my 45 page Ayurvedic Workbook which was researched and sourced form various books over a course of several years. I will post the highlights here, however it is a life long study that I will happily spend my life studying! I recommend the following books. Some are intense and require more than a basic knowledge of the body, it’s chemistry, energy pathways and Ayurveda, others are more general and provide a more Western summary and approach to this Holistic Life Style.
I am not a certified therapist, but strongly recommend you seek out an Ayurvedic councilor or doctor should the material that follows peak your interest in this complex art of healing. The information within my site is strictly that, information. If you are within the Toronto area, I recommend you visiting the following site run by an amazing teacher and healer who is an Ayurvedic Doctor from India: http://www.caish.ca, Dr. Ismat.
It is believed that each individual has a ‘constitution’ at birth that is as unique as their genetic make-up. Your individual constitution governs your emotional, physical and mental conditions. Your Prakriti is your natural predisposition. It is the balance you should strive to maintain..
As we grow and experience the ups and downs of life and its seasons, our natural constitution is effected. This may cause us to become out of balance with our true nature. This shift creates a new doshic constitution which represents your current state; Vriktriti. The difference between your Prakriti and Vrikriti (should one exist) helps determine your best plan of action to regain balance.
To determine your healthy Prakriti, think back to the healthiest time you can recall over your life time, and place an “X” response to any question that descriptions the most predominate and consistent response. Return to the chart, and determine your current, “Vrikriti” by place a check-mark beside all traits which match you within the 4-6 months. If your Vrikriti varies from your Prakriti, you have an imbalance of the elements within your system. Generally each person is a blend of all Doshas, but generally two will dominate different aspects of your life. In rare occurrences one will dominate, or you will be tri-doshic with all three being fairly evenly represented.
The results of the test will help you determine your Doshas, both what they should be, where they are now, and where the imbalances can be found. The Doshas represent the five elements of creation. It is believed that the elements descend into the body from ether, air, fire, water to earth. This can be seen in the elements associated with the Chakra system of the body. Each Element contributes unique traits to the individual, governing specific body functions, emotions and even mental process. You can have a different dominant Dosha for these various aspects of your being.
The Doshas also govern different stages of our lives, the day and the seasons. You need to assess how these can increase or decrease your own doshic makeup and select colours, music, yoga practices, foods etc. to balance these out. As you can see, it can start to get complicated, but it’s worth the study. That said, it can also form a simple routine forging a new way to life your life.
Ether/Air, “Vata governs all movement in the mind and body. It controls blood flow, elimination of wastes, breathing and the movement of thoughts across the mind. Since Pitta and Kapha cannot move without it, Vata is considered the leader of the three Ayurvedic Principles in the body. It’s very important to keep Vata in good balance.” From a spiritual take, vata is the flow of energy within healing and ritual.
Fire/Water: Pitta governs all heat, metabolism and transformation in the mind and body. It controls how we digest foods, how we metabolize our sensory perceptions, and how we discriminate between right and wrong. Pitta governs the important digestive “Agnis” or fires of the body. From a spiritual take, pitta is the moment and elements of transformation.
Water/Earth: Kapha governs all structure and lubrication in the mind and body. It controls weight, growth, lubrication for the joints and lungs, and formation of all the seven tissues — nutritive fluids, blood, fat, muscles, bones, marrow and reproductive tissues. From a spiritual take, this is the matter, or raw material that make up not just your body, but the substances used in ritual from herbs to resins etc.
Body: Nourishment (Internal)
Within this section you will get an introduction to the six tastes which all foods are categorized into for Ayurvedic purposes. Each taste has an increasing or decreasing effect on the doshas and should be selected based on the balance you are trying to obtain.
Ayurveda is more than just a guide to a healthy way of life, it is a spiritual discipline as well. As such, food is also categorized by their Guna. To maintain a balanced, spiritual, mind/body connection you should aim toward a Sattvic way of life. This can be applied to any spiritual path you currently follow, you do not have to follow a Hindu or Buddhist path to live Ayurvedically.
The Gunas will be explained from a nutritional and spiritual stand point to assist with this goal.
More specific foods for each dosha will then be provided with examples to help pacify the three doshic conditions. By pacify, foods are provided which help decrease an over-imbalance within the doshas. It is therefore important to know what your Prakruti and Vikruti are, before selecting from the provided lists. Further, the season in which your meals are being prepared will also play a role in which types of foods, drinks and spices are used, and how the food is prepared.
Twice a year, an internal Detox should be completed. A sample Detox program for each dosha, as well as details on a full Panchakarma program, which should only be administered under the care of a licensed Ayurvedic Therapist or Doctor, is also provided to show you the in-depth need for a Detox between the seasons. The next ‘detox season’ will be the onset of Fall. Watch for more details then!
Mind: Nourishment (External)
Recommended Reading and website on Ayurveda. Please note, this research started over 20 years ago and some of the original links I used may no longer be valid, however, reference should be given as a sign of respect for those works which contributed to mine.
Wish List – These books are pending purchase and review:
- The Ayurveda Bible: The Definitive Guide to Ayurvedic Healing: by McIntyre
- Programming your Life with Ayurveda: by Dr. Vinod Verma
- Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life: by Claudia Welch
- Ayurveda & Aromatherapy: by Dr. L. Miller, Dr. B. Miller and Mr. DiamondGreat Starter Books:
A Partial List from my existing Library: Western take, Basic Introduction
- Essential Ayurveda: by Shubhra Krishan
- Inner Beauty: by Reenita Malhotra Hora, France Ruffenach and William Stewart
A Partial List from my existing Library: Indepth Study:
- Ayurveda Secrets of Healing by Bri. Maya Tiwari
- Ayurveda and the Mind: The Healing of Consciousness by Dr. David Frawley
- Yoga & Ayurveda: Self-Healing and Self-Realization by Dr. David Frawley
- Ayurveda and Marma Therapy: by Dr. Frawley, Dr. Ranade and Dr. Lele
The most important website I can provide is for the CAISH Institute : Centre for Ayurveda and Indian Studies of Healing, in Toronto ON Canada.
- Mantra selection obtained from: http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/Mantras/id/168880/
- http://www.yogitimes.com, Adapted from What’s Your Dosha, Baby? Lisa Marie Coffey