Ayurveda is a holistic approach to health that is designed to help people live long, healthy, and well-balanced lives. It has been practiced in India for at least 5,000 years and has recently become popular in Western cultures. The basic principle of Ayurveda is to prevent and treat illness by maintaining balance in the body, mind, and consciousness through proper diet, and lifestyle, as well as herbal remedies.
Ayurveda believes that disease results from an imbalance in the doshas (see below), and uses many herbs for treating illness. It also highlights the expression of positive emotions and the need to attune your life to the natural rhythms of the body.
Just as everyone has a unique fingerprint, according to Ayurvedic beliefs, each person has a distinct pattern of energy — a specific combination of physical, mental, and emotional characteristics. It is also believed that there are three basic energy types called doshas, present in every person:
- Vata — energy that controls bodily functions associated with motion, including blood circulation, breathing, blinking, and heartbeat. When vata energy is balanced, there is creativity and vitality. Out of balance, vata produces fear and anxiety.
- Pitta — energy that controls the body’s metabolic systems, including digestion, absorption, nutrition, and temperature. In balance, pitta leads to contentment and intelligence. Out of balance, pitta can cause ulcers and arouse anger.
- Kapha — energy that controls growth in the body. It supplies water to all body parts, moisturizes the skin, and maintains the immune system. In balance, kapha is expressed as love and forgiveness. Out of balance, kapha leads to insecurity and envy.
Everyone has vata, pitta, and kapha, but usually 1 or 2 are dominant in a particular person. Many things can disturb the energy balance, such as stress, an unhealthy diet, the weather, and strained family relationships. The disturbance shows up as disease. Ayurveda prescribes treatments to bring the doshas back into balance. See also Portrait of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha ; and Dosha-test.
Today’s TIP : Don’t attempt to change your life style and habits overnight. Take it easy and trust your gut.