Ayurveda is a personalized approach to health, and knowing your mind-body type allows you to make optimal choices about diet, exercise, supplements, and all other aspects of your lifestyle. It is the consciousness based teachings Vedic science for healing the body and mind. It is a holistic approach to total well being through self awareness.
The word Ayur means "life" and veda means "science" or "knowledge." Ayurveda is the Science of Life and was designed for those individuals who want enjoy the world healthily. It is the oldest holistic system in the world including all methods of healing from diet, herbs and exercise and lifestyle regimens to yogic practices and meditation. It shows us how to understand the language of nature, so that we can live in harmony with the grater universe.
Thousands of years before modern medicine provided scientific evidence for the mind-body connection, the sages of India developed Ayurveda, which continues to be one of the world’s most sophisticated and powerful mind-body health systems.
The two main guiding principles of Ayurveda 1.) the mind and the body are inextricably connected, and 2.) nothing has more power to heal and transform the body than the mind. Freedom from illness depends upon expanding our own awareness, bringing it into balance, and then extending that balance to the body. Ayurvda identifies imbalance and dis-ease by distinguishing a persons constitutional type (Dosha). The Dosha are determined by the elements Either, Air, Fire, Water and Earth and are combined into three categories - (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) which give a base for understanding human constitution according to the elements.
Next to breathing, eating is our most vital bodily function. To create a healthy body and mind our food must be nourishing. Ideal nutrition comes from consuming a variety of fresh foods that are appropriately prepared and eaten with awareness. A simple way to make sure that you are getting a balanced diet is to include the six Ayurvedic tastes (sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent) in each meal. Doing so will ensure that all major food groups and nutrients are represented. When you include all six tastes, you will also notice that you feel satisfied and that the urge to snack and overeat will diminish.
According to Ayurveda, sleep is the nursemaid to humanity. During sleep, our body repairs and rejuvenates itself. A lack of restful sleep disrupts the body’s innate balance, weakens our immune system, and speeds up the aging process. Human beings generally need between six and eight hours of restful sleep each night. Restful sleep means that you’re not using pharmaceuticals or alcohol to get to sleep but that you’re drifting off easily once you turn off the light and are sleeping soundly through the night. If you feel energetic and vibrant when you wake up, you had a night of restful sleep. If you feel tired and unenthusiastic, you haven’t had restful sleep.
When you’re in balance, you naturally desire only that which nurtures your health and life. You flow in harmony with your body’s natural rhythms, getting restful sleep, feeding your senses with experiences, tastes, touch, aromas, sounds, and sights that uplift and nourish you. When you slip out of balance, your desires become non-nurturing. Relationships will be dysfunctional and eating habits will be unhealthy. You may crave junk food, neglect to sleep and exercise, and indulge in compulsive behaviors.
In Ayurveda, the approach to disorders is to eliminate the root cause of the illness rather than focusing on specific symptoms. Ayurveda judges every treatment approach in terms of its effect on the entire mind/body system. A practitioner will first determine how far a person has fallen from their ideal state of health and then designs a personalized approach to move him or her back into healthy balance. Purification treatments, herbal preparations, diet and specific life-style recommendations are given to support the body's natural healing and self-purifying abilities.
There is an emphasizes the important role of awakened consciousness, the lively intelligence that underlies the physiology, in maintaining and creating health.
Tune in to your body
You can make choices that keep you in harmony with your inner intelligence and rhythms by tuning into your body’s messages. The body always expresses itself through signals of comfort and discomfort. When choosing a certain path or behavior, ask your body, “How do you feel about this?” If your body sends a signal of physical or emotional distress, pay attention and consider a different choice. If your body sends a signal of comfort and eagerness, you may proceed. Whereas the mind lives in the past and the future, the body resides in the now and never doubts itself. It knows the truth and will guide you towards the most evolutionary choices.
The basis of all disease is the buildup of toxins in the body and mind. Good health is dependent upon our capability to fully digest the nutritional, emotional, and sensory information that we take in. The root of all disease has to do with digestion and an energy known as agni (fire). When this energy is vibrant, we create healthy tissues, eliminate waste products efficiently and produce a subtle essence called ojas. Ojas, which may be envisioned as the source of our vitality, is the basis for clarity of perception, physical strength, and immunity. On the other hand, if our agni is weakened, digestion is incomplete and lead to an accumulation of toxic residue known as ama.
The Ayurvedic approach is about aligning with the infinite organizing power of nature rather than struggling or trying to force things to go your way. Be guided by love instead of desire. When you chase after things you desire you waste energy, but when your actions are motivated by love, your energy expands and accumulates. Ayurveda, Yoga and Tantra are three different words belonging to the same way of life. Yoga and Tantra are offshoots of Ayurveda.