“Ayurveda is one of the most remarkable holistic medical systems in the world. It covers all aspects of health and well-being - physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. It includes all methods of healing from diet, herbs, exercise and lifestyle regimens to yogic practices and meditation. With its unique understanding of individual constitution, Ayurveda provides the insight for each person and each culture to create a way of life in harmony both with the world of nature and our higher Self. It offers optimal health and development for all creatures by its profound understanding of natural law.”
Dr. David Frawley. “Yoga & Ayurveda: Self-Healing and Self-Realization.”
“Everything you eat, say, think, do, see, and feel affects your overall state of balance. It would seem impossible to control all these different influences at once. Yet, by following specific body-type diets, exercises, and daily and seasonal routines, you can correct the vast majority of imbalances now present in your physiology and prevent those that might lie in the future.”
Deepak Chopra, M.D. “Perfect Health.”
FUNDAMENTAL ASPECTS OF AYURVEDA
NATURE OR BODY TYPE
The five elements form what is known as the three Dosha’s (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) or three humours. A person’s dosha can be described as the person’s natural tendency to exhibit certain qualities that correspond to the properties of the five elements. It is also commonly referred to as a person’s unique constitution or Prakriti.
AGNI & AMA
One of the bedrock principles in Ayurveda is Agni, which literally means fire, metabolism or digestive capacity. The root cause of most health conditions or diseases is believed to be imbalances in Agni. From a western perspective, Agni is somewhat comparable to all biochemical processes in the body.
DHATUS & SROTAS
BODY TISSUES & CHANNELS
Srotas (channels) are structures that facilitate the flow of nutrients and excretory products that are transported in and out of our bodies. The cause of the disease will imbalance Doshas. However, the disease will only become noticeable when one or more tissues have developed weak immunity (due to impaired Agni) and the channel supplying the tissue is blocked.
AYURVEDIC APPROACH TO HEALTH
Promote and preserve optimum health and vitality by leading a lifestyle that suits your unique nature.
In our modern world, the number of people with lifestyle disorders like excessive weight, obesity and diabetes, is rapidly increasing. Immunity is continuously being degraded due to stress, increased use of antibiotics and synthetic medication. Additionally, environmental pollution is rising due to industrialisation and urbanisation.
Immunity is the capacity of an individual to resist infection i.e. invasion, multiplication and production of a disease by an organism. This can be attained by proper nutrition, minimal exposure to pollutants and reducing stress. Ayurveda, caters to all these needs very effectively.
Maintenance of health by following certain laws of nature is called Swasthavritta, which literally means the regime of abiding by one’s own nature. One who is balanced in one’s own self is called Swastha.
Being in Swastha i.e. a state of equilibrium of all Dhatus (Bodily Tissues), raises your standard of living so as to enable you to fulfil your personal and social obligations effortlessly. It improves both qualitative and quantitative aspects of mankind not only for you as an individual but also for the society as a whole.
“Despite its continual attention to cure when cure is what is needed, Ayurveda always emphasises prevention over cure. Ayurveda balances and rejuvenates living organisms, reducing their susceptibility and empowering their immunity to prevent new disease from developing. Ayurveda is more a way of life, a way of learning how to cooperate with Nature and live in harmony with Her, than it is a medical system. Health in Ayurveda means harmony, and there is really no limit to the degree of balance that a sincere harmony-seeker can achieve. It is easiest to harmonise the body-mind-spirit complex by starting with the body, which is relatively stable. Balance of the mind and spirit, which are ethereal and therefore inherently difficult to stabilise, comes more easily once the body has been made firm and healthy”
Dr. Robert Svoboda. “Prakriti"
HOW TO MAINTAIN HEALTH
In Ayurveda, disease can be prevented by following a seasonal, daily and ethical regime.
Read more about the importance of these aspects below.
“Disease is Nature’s way of forcing you to slow down and rest. This is why She is called Mother Nature: She loves you so much that She cannot bear to see you ruining yourself. She warns you of your errors over and over, and turns to drastic measures only when you obstinately refuse to listen to Her. It is a classic case of freedom versus responsibility: either you restrict your freedom a little bit each day, or Nature will come along and restrict it for you for days, weeks or months at a time.”
Dr. Robert Svoboda. “Prakriti.”
LONGEVITY AND VITALITY
By following Ayurvedic principles, one can live a vibrant and productive life without pain and disease till the age of 100 and beyond.
“No one has lived forever, but you can add 50 years to an average, modern life span of 70 years and reach the longest life span on record (121 years, credited to an offshore Japanese islander).”
Deepak Chopra, M.D. “Perfect Health.”
Pancha Karma, which means the five cleansing methods, is used in Ayurveda to remove excess toxins from the body. Due to inappropriate diet and lifestyle toxins accumulate. If not removed, toxins or impurities will eventually cause disease. Pancha Karma can be used to maintain proper function of tridosha, minimal level of toxins and healthy tissues (dhatu) so as to prevent disease and strengthen immunity.
In Ayurveda, the type of food we eat as well how we combine foods, the level of processing of foods, the time and place of consumption, the volume and the nature of the foods, all have an effect on its ability to promote health and longevity. For optimal health, foods should be consumed according to a person's nature, digestive capacity, and as per the climate conditions.
In line with modern medicine, Ayurveda believes that free radicals are responsible for almost every disease, ageing and even death. On a cellular level, our bodies become damaged from stress, and wear and tear as we age, leading to different physical and mental ailments. The use of rasayana herbs is an important aspect of disease prevention and health promotion in Ayurveda.
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