Additional preface on Ayurveda

Hey guys and gals. In this post I want to offer you some additional information on Ayurveda. Again, Ayurveda originated in India and is a Sanscrit word that translates to “knowledge of life”. Ayurveda is a philosophy whose primary aim is holistic maintenance of health.  This holistic perspective of the enhancement of health is designed to prevent sickness from entering the body. However, Ayurveda does prescribe methods to eliminate sickness from the body should that need to do so arise. I will go into these methods in a later post.

In Ayurveda, every person is comprised of five basic elements. These elements are fire, water, space, air, and earth. These five elements combine in different combinations to produce various life energies called doshas. There are three main doshas:

Vata (formed from air and space) – The vata dosha is associated with movement. Since air and space can be thought of as free-form, always moving and shifting, then this view makes sense. Your vata dosha controls anything in your body associated with movement-cellular health, blood circulation, muscle movement, respiration, bowel movements, and respiration. When your vata dosha is balanced, you are said to possess vitality. When it is unbalanced, you experience anxiety, fear, nervous system problems and heart disease. External factors can influence your vata dosha as much as internal influences can. Examples of external factors include strained relationships with family and friends. Internal factors can be fear of losing a job or the loss of a loved one.

Pita (formed from fire and water) – The pita dosha is most associated with the aspects of energy-combustion, usage and transformation. For example, you might think of how someone puts a log in a fireplace. That fire consumes the log, using it as fuel and producing warmth for the person who built the fire. Or you can also think of the waves in the ocean during a storm, or a coming down a waterfall. At this point, the water has an extensive amount of energy and has the ability to absorb other substances as well as transform or even destroy them. The pita dosha controls the functions of digestion, metabolism, and energy absorption. When your pita dosha is in balance, you experience happiness and contentment. When it is out of balance, you may experience inflammation and pain. Ulcers, heartburn, and infections are some of the symptoms associated with a imbalanced pita dosha.

Kapha (formed from water and earth) – The kapha dosha is associated with density, mass, thickness, and structure. You could imagine a handful of clay or earth and you would think of the same sort of characteristics. The essence of the kapha dosha shares these same characteristics. In terms of the human body, your kapha dosha forms your bodily tissues-your muscles, internal organs, bone, fat, skin and hair. It also maintains your immune system and controls your weight. An imbalance of the kapha dosha leads to obesity, diabetes, and nausea after eating.

Each person possesses a unique mix of these three doshas. Usually one dosha is in an more dominant position than than the other two. According to the Ayurveda, having a proper balance of each dosha is essential for optimal health.