Ayurveda, according to the experts, is the knowledge of life or the science of life. Originated in India, Ayurveda is the ancient system of living, closely connected to yoga. If you are exposed to the internet’s active wellness community, then you have probably come across the concept of Ayurveda. It is considered the oldest healing science, according to many scholars. The knowledge of Ayurveda originated more than 5000 years ago in India and is often called the ‘mother of all healing.’ Ayurveda stemmed from ancient Vedic culture and was taught by accomplished masters for many thousands of years to their disciples in an oral tradition.
Fundamentally, Ayurveda is general science and art that utilizes natural ingredients like minerals, roots, and other herbs to promote well-being and balance. The principles of natural healing familiar in the West have their roots in Ayurveda, including Polarity Therapy and Homeopathy.
This article discusses the primary constituents of Ayurveda, including living an Ayurvedic lifestyle.
Ayurveda is the science of elements – Earth, Water, Fire, Space (ether), and Air
Essentially, according to Ayurveda and those who practice this approach of lifestyle, everything in existence, including humans and all other living organisms, comes from the basic building blocks of life – Earth, Water, Fire, Space, and Air.
When these building blocks are harmonized, they form ‘doshas’ – compositions that control our behaviors, personality, habits, well-being, and health.
In Ayurveda, there are three doshas, namely
- Kapha – earth and water
- Pitta – fire and earth
- Vata – air and space (ether)
The ideology behind these doshas is that the mind and body are firmly linked, and there is nothing more accomplished of transforming and healing the body than the mind.
Doshas illustrate what makes us unique through our eccentricities and characteristics. They are a powerful force behind our bodily functions. The doshas represent our emotional and personality traits and psychological processes.
- Kapha depicts the structure principle – softening, stable, greasy, cold, and heavy
- Pitta depicts the energy principle – fluid, sharp, greasy, hot, light
- Vata depicts the movement principle – rough, subtle, mobile, dry, cold, and light
Kapha is the dosha that forms the body’s necessary components like tissue, fat, and muscle, providing structure and protection.
Pitta dosha controls transformation and wheels energy production, digestion, and metabolism.
Vata dosha controls the movements within the body like breathing, elimination, walking, and circulation.
To understand the three doshas, Ayurveda has provided two key concepts that are fundamental to its holistic and wellness approach – Prana and Agni.
- Prana is the vital life force energy that flows through all living things. Through lifestyle and diet, Ayurveda provides ways to optimize this energy. With a specific emphasis on heart, warm, and whole foods and a daily routine, it corresponds to the needs of the natural rhythm of our body.
- Agni is our digestive fire that ensures that the food we eat is digested efficiently. Digestion is important to all living things, as it makes the essential nutrients nourish our body and completely clear out the waste product to ensure minimum toxicity remains inside our bodies.
Now that you have understood the key concepts in Ayurveda, it is time to learn about your dosha
As discussed, there are three doshas in Ayurveda that dictate our tendencies and unique characteristics.
- A Kapha person is steady in nature. While they possess a strong build, there is also softness in them. When Kapha is in balance, the person is supportive, patient, loyal, loving, thoughtful, calm, serene, affectionate, generous, courageous, forgiving, and steady. However, when Kapha is imbalanced, the individual might suffer from lethargy, depression, allergies, fluid retention, resistant to change, and weight gain.
- A Pitta person is naturally fiery in nature. Pittas have a piercing gaze, bright complexion, and build muscle more easily. When Pitta is in balance, the person is content and clear-minded. Pittas make good organizers and leaders. However, when Pitta is imbalanced, the individual might become argumentative, angry, and dominating. The individual might also suffer from acne, heartburn, excessive body heat, and indigestion.
- A Vata person is enthusiastic and lively, lean and slim, with angular features. When Vata is in balance, the person is social and creative. However, when Vata is imbalanced, the individual might suffer from nervous disorders like anxiety, and their digestion might become erratic.
According to Ayurveda, it is important to balance our doshas within the body through lifestyle modifications and diet changes. Imbalance can manifest as a disease or other health complications.
The Ayurvedic diet according to Doshas
According to Ayurvedic principles, any food that helps you maintain a healthy body and prevent diseases is an Ayurvedic diet. Ayurveda only encourages people to eat a balanced diet of whole foods. Following an Ayurvedic diet requires you to listen to your body, fee it well with the foods it needs.
In Ayurveda, you don’t have to exclude anything you love on account of an inconclusive diet concept.
However, an Ayurvedic diet is designed for your specific characterization of Doshas. Essentially, it is not for losing weight. Instead, an Ayurvedic diet can help maintain the energy balance in your body. In actual fact, an Ayurvedic diet is about consuming foods that oppose your dominant dosha. That is;
- To balance your Vata Dosha, you are encouraged to eat oily, warm foods – rich and warm spices, warm milk, cooked vegetables, and rice.
- To balance your Pitta Dosha, you are encouraged to eat cold and dry foods – bitter herbs, beans, wheat, and raw veg.
- To balance your Kapha Dosha, you are encouraged to eat dry and light foods like vegetables and refrain from consuming dairy products and nuts.
The secret of Ayurveda is the emphasis on what you consume for well-being. While food is life and without it, there is no chance of us surviving, Ayurveda teaches us that food has the potential for us to thrive when we consume nurturing, nourishing meals that feed our minds, hearts, and bellies.
When our meals are complete (when they contain all six tastes – Astringent, Pungent, Bitter, Sour, Salty, and Sweet), we are able to leave the table satisfied.