Understanding Ayurveda in a Comprehensive Way
You’ve likely read a lot about Ayurvedic therapies, but have you ever wondered what Ayurveda is?
Ayurveda is a holistic alternative therapy that was developed over 3,000 years ago in India. Ayurvedic science believes that a person’s overall well-being depends on their Doshas (bodily energies) being in their optimum levels. There are three Doshas – Vata Dosha, Pitta Dosha, and Kapha Dosha. When one or more of your Doshas levels are away from optimum levels, physical and mental ailments may occur. Ayurvedic therapies are seldom aimed at treating symptoms of a health issue.
Instead, the importance of Ayurveda lies in the fact that it helps heal one holistically. While an Ayurvedic doctor may prescribe healing herbs and supplements based on the nature of the ailment, those seeking therapy are often required to make lifestyle changes, such as changing one’s diet, leading a stress-free life, and practicing yoga regularly, as well. One of the key benefits of Ayurveda is that people, regardless of their age or health condition, can seek help from a qualified practitioner to experience the effect of Ayurvedic science.
Close your eyes and imagine living healthily. Do you see yourself as physically strong, toned, and well-groomed? But have you considered thinking about your emotional health as well? Health is not merely the absence of an illness. It is the state of complete wellness in terms of physical, mental, and social health. Now, if the balance between the body and environment is disturbed, we undergo discomfort. Ayurveda-based healing focuses on establishing the inner balance of body, mind, and spirit with the environment. So, what is Ayurveda? Ayur, meaning life, and Veda meaning science, explains that it is the mother of all healing, and the science of life, derived from the ancient Vedic culture. Stay tuned with this ultimate guide to getting a closer look at the importance of Ayurveda and the benefits of Ayurveda.
A Closer Look at Ayurveda
Myth: Ayurvedic treatments lack clinical trials.
Fact: Research on Ayurveda is loaded with immense knowledge of the action of medicinal herbs and their potential benefits on a living body.
A part of the internal purification process of Ayurveda surrounds us in our day-to-day lives. The use of specific spices like cloves and peppermint in our food provides our bodies with rich antioxidants. People who relish meditating offer themselves a path to healing with a clearer perspective and creativity. Ayurveda is an amalgamation of herbal medications, yoga, special diets, and spiritual wellbeing. It is a discipline of the inner self, constantly working to bring out harmony between the body and the environment to establish a balance. Although Ayurveda aims to incorporate natural herbs, spices, and techniques, one must be aware of the mode of administration and degree of discomfort similar to any other conventional method. Thus to experience the benefits of Ayurveda, it is mandatory to consult an Ayurvedic specialist before starting with any dose.
What is Health According to Ayurveda?
Consciousness is the connection to the stimulus. Indriya, the senses of the body – vision, smell, hearing, taste, and touch along with Satwa (psyche) must work in coordination with the body. Well, if you are wondering how to achieve this, the answer is Pranayama. It is synchronized breathing that helps improve your vitality.
Tridosha is the three doshas – Vata (air and space), Pitta (water and fire), and Kapha (water and earth). It is said that each individual’s body constitution is unique and as such, the levels of each Dosha in the body are different and unique. So what might suit you, might not be the case for your friend as your friend will be having a different body constitution. According to Ayurveda, each person has a dominant Dosha that determines their personality and health constitution. We will be discussing this in detail in our next section.
Vital processes of life like digestion and metabolism work under the equilibrium of Agni. Most states of discomfort arise from Mandagni, that is, decreased Agni. It is essential for a living being to stimulate Agni by disciplined eating. Consuming warm, light, and fresh food using herbs like ginger to cook can significantly help maintain normal digestion. A balanced diet should be readily available, tasty, digestible, satisfy taste and hunger. It should contain adequate carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Dhatus constitute the tissues of the body. Their stability is essential to keep the body in a living state. The seven dhatus are Rasa (plasma), Rakta (blood), Mamsa (muscle), Meda (fat), Asthi (bone), Majja (bone marrow), and Shukra (reproductive fluid).
One must not inhibit the natural urges to urinate or defecate. Excretion of metabolic waste products and toxins (Ama) cleanses the body cavities, and one must perform this regularly.
But how does Ayurveda work? What are the principles of Ayurveda? The current holistic healing approach begins with an intensive diagnosis and proven efforts to reduce the progression of the pain. Let us learn about these in detail in upcoming sections.
How Ayurveda Works – Principles
“Ayurveda justifies that mind and body are inseparable, they influence each other, and that determines your health.”
Ayurveda’s success lies in correlating Manas (mind) and Sharira (body) with their adverse effect on the body if imbalanced. The principles of Ayurvedic medicine revolve around the concept of Prakriti. It is a unique body type or the specific constitution of a person. Its alteration leads to the diagnosis of an ailment known as Vikriti.
The five elements of the universe: Vayu (Air), Jala (Water), Aakash (Space or ether), Prithvi (Earth), and Teja (Fire), form the three doshas of the human body. They are the basic doctrine principles of holistic healing. Let us dive in deeper to know what is Vata, Pitta, Kapha and their dosha specific diet.
But what is the Ayurvedic diet? You must have heard of the phrase, “When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use; When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” Adopting an Ayurvedic diet is of limited use unless you can identify your dosha. Diet varies from dosha to dosha, and dosha varies from person to person. Ayurvedic eating principles include sweet, salty, sour, spicy, bitter, and astringent tastes. Each taste aggravates a particular dosha, and thus it is essential to find out yours. Read below to find out your type and the diet accordingly.
What is Vata dosha?
Vata dosha is concerned with the energy movements of the body. Vata’ predominant person tends to be flexible, fast-paced, and highly creative. Although they might have phases of instability, anxiousness, and low willpower, they are alert and mentally active. One must be aware that they are more prone to respiratory-based infections. Conditions like coldness, dryness, roughness, or mobility in excess can cause massive irregularity.
Rice and oats are an excellent choice for Vata dosha as they do not cause much dryness. Cook them with adequate water, and one should not let their body experience dehydration. Aim to stay warm, eat warm and spicy food, drink lots of water, and take the right amount of rest. Basils, frankincense, cloves, and bay will keep your Vata under balance.
What is Pitta dosha?
Pitta emphasizes digestion and metabolism. Since these metabolic processes are concerned with heat generation, pitta people usually remain warm and are fast-paced with sharp intelligence. During energy imbalance, they undergo periods of agitation and short-temperateness. It regulates body temperature, visual coordination, and controls appetite and thirst. Their heat conditions aggravate them, and disturbance in equilibrium can cause nausea, sores, and digestive issues.
Adopting a vegetarian diet is best for Pitta dosha to minimize alcohol, eggs, or meat consumption. It helps sustain the body to be at ease and tends to nullify the aggressive nature. One should incorporate wheat, oats, and barley as their central portion of the diet. Reduce intake of spicy foods, excessive heat, extra salt intake, and oil if your Pitta dosha is prominent. Incorporate astringent, bitter, and sweet-tasting food.
What is Kapha dosha?
Kapha dosha focuses on the lubrication of joints, high endurance, and grounded nature of an individual. Kapha dominant people are physically attractive, mentally stable, and are generally sweet. They tend to undergo prolonged sleep patterns. Unlike Vata, Kapha dosha is prone to germs causing flu and congestion. Their aggravation is dependent upon the full moon as water tends to retain at that time.
Kapha must emphasize getting food rich in vitamin A (green-leafy vegetables) and food that grows above ground. One must minimize too sweet or too sour food items and add drying fruits like apples, mangoes, peaches, and apricots in their diet. They should do regular exercise, consume drying food, limit daytime napping, and vary the routine activities. Foods with pungent, astringent, and bitter taste will benefit this dosha.
Now that we know quite a bit about Ayurvedic principles and how they determine your body type, let us know what is Ayurveda’s significance in today’s era.
What is the Importance of Ayurveda in the 21st Century?
The 21st century is undoubtedly the century of some lifestyle problems that might be weight, liver, or lung-related, etc. With an early onset seen in today’s youth, the following factors are responsible for the revival of Ayurveda:
- People demand a traditional, natural and holistic way of life.
- Psychological well being, and Rasayana (rejuvenation) therapies.
- The spike in the prices of healthcare.
- Growing understanding, interest and awareness of basic doctrine principles of Ayurveda.
- To focus on helping maintain normal immunity in these tough times.
- To help limit the progression of lifestyle issues.
The dynamics of the body-mind-soul triangle vary from person to person. Ayurveda is vital to establish the concept of homeostasis (stable internal environment). If your mind is wondering what is Ayurveda used for or what is the importance of Ayurveda? Here is a simplified answer:
Ayurvedic techniques arise from ancient times. They are therapeutic (Rasayana), detoxifying (Panchkarma), and revolve around yoga disciplines. In general, it helps sustain normal immunity, optimizes one’s metabolic activities, and harmonizes the life force. Not only that, it helps in the natural detoxification system. With this being said, let us now find out what is Panchakarma?
Panchkarma is a detoxifying process consisting of five active (Pancha) methods to help the body with natural cleansing. The five methods of purification are:
- Vamana: This technique helps maintain optimal levels of Kapha in the body via therapeutic vomiting or emesis therapy. It is a helpful Ayurvedic technique to take the edge off congestion and Kapha-related diseases.
- Virechanam: Virechanam focuses on detoxification via purgation to support normal cleansing of Pitta.
- Nasya: Medicated oils, when inhaled through nostrils, to help with the normal health of nasal passage and relieve Kapha imbalance of head and neck.
- Anuvasana Vasti (Herbalized oil enemas): Here, the herbal oil is used to cleanse the colon and nourish it.
- Nirooha Vasti (Decoction enema): Herbal decoction is used to do enema and cleanse Vata from colon.
Panchkarma effectively helps in the natural detoxification process, helps maintain a normal metabolic rate, and helps sustain the tissue renewal process.
Some of you must be wondering if Ayurveda is really effective, keep reading to learn more.
Is Ayurveda a Science?
Just like any other healing method, Ayurveda has clinically tested results too. Before that, let us have a look at some Ayurvedic measures to help your body.
What is Ayurvedic medicine?
Medicinal products derived from various herbs, metals, minerals, and ions constitute Ayurvedic medicine. The Ayurvedic herbs benefit the body by helping maintain free radicals, supporting normal immunity, finding the root cause of the problems in the body. The safety and effectiveness of the Ayurvedic supplements depend upon your mode of administration, as recommended by the Ayurvedic specialist.
Note: With every healing comes precautions. Though it is a natural way of healing and supporting normal functions of the body, Ayurveda can cause an imbalance in the body if not consumed as directed. A pregnant woman or any other individual seeking Ayurvedic treatment should consult before starting any dosage.
Ayurveda is not a clinically less trialed or insufficiently researched science as it consists of logical and scientific pillars. Here are some scientifically proven theories to support the findings of Ayurvedic science:
- A classic example is the most commonly used mixture of herbs for immunity, Chyawanprash. It helps a body maintain its normal immune system. Not only that, “Chyawanprash – from Vedic to Genomic Era (2007)” was successfully published as a scientifically proven study in Chaukhamba publications’ book.
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), studied the effects of Turmeric. It is a spice derived from Curcuma longa that contains antioxidant properties, zinc, calcium, and various other essential minerals. Their research concluded that its incorporation into the diet could indeed be helpful to maintain the inflammatory levels at a reduced level.
NCCIH-funded 2011 pilot study established that Ayurvedic measures were similarly effective as the drug methotrexate to help the joints and bones of the body.
There is plenty of research on Ayurveda proving its benefits, safe use, and efficiency accessible online in e-databases.
What are the Various Benefits of Ayurveda?
Although Ayurveda has a myriad of benefits to help your body, we will round up a few for you in this next section.
A personalized Ayurvedic diet as per your dosha will help maintain your body’s natural fat reserves and aid in normal weight management. One must know that eating habits and well-functioning metabolism decide weight. Allow your body to undergo adequate measures of natural detoxification. You will get one step closer to help maintain a toned physique. The Kerala Ayurveda (KA) product – Garcinia aids in promoting a feeling of satiety to help encourage normal eating habits. A supporting metabolism and digestion aids in the process of weight management.
Skin and hair health
Ayurvedic measures aid in natural healthy-looking skin. Products from Kerala Ayurveda like Chemparuthyadi Keram, Dinesa Keram, Kesini oil, and others promote a healthy scalp and Kumkumadi oil and Nalpamaradi keram support naturally rejuvenated skin.
Who does not want to say goodbye to stress? In this 21st century, where work doesn’t seem to take a halt for even a second, Ayurveda aids in keeping your emotions calm by breathing exercises, massages, and various herbal formulations. Massages help maintain proper blood circulation, and so you feel energized for the day. Some products from our store that aid in such a process are: Balahatadi Keram, Balaswagandhadi Thailum, Brahmi pearls, etc.
The practice of Panchakarma in Ayurveda is a holistic way of helping the body in the natural cleansing and purification process through its five pillars, as discussed above. Our product Active digest supports the body’s natural purification process and aids in proper gastric functioning.
Ayurvedic practices and supplements help in supporting a healthy inflammatory response that finally helps the joints and other organs. Andrographis, a KA product, lends a helping hand to boost your normal immune response and promotes a healthy inflammatory response.
Supports normal cardiac, respiratory, and immune health
Ayurvedic measures help in supporting normal nasal and cardiac passage, help promote a healthy inflammatory response and help maintain normal cholesterol levels. These properties are present in various products like Draksharishtam, Hridya (heart) capsules, etc. These supplements offer a multitude of herbs, proteins, vitamins, and minerals to help maintain the overall health of the body.
Joints and Muscle Health
Joints and muscles help you to be in movement and achieve mobility. But we often tend to ignore their importance and likewise, forget to take care of them in a preventive manner. Joints and muscles need as much attention as your heart and your lungs because, along the course of your aging, the joints and bones tend to wear and tear naturally. Being preventive in certain actions can help you in aging naturally in terms of joints and bones. At the same time, if you would like to help maintain healthy joints, bones and muscles, you can think of adhering to some best practices like exercises to promote your normal strength and flexibility of joints and bones, good diet to not put on weight that puts pressure on your joints and some best Ayurvedic supplements and massages to help keep your joints healthy. Some of the best supplements to intake or apply topically include capsules, tablets, balms and oils. Some of them that are found in our store include Myaxyl balm, Joint support, GT capsules, Back Support, Bala Thailam, KM Lepam, Ksheerabala Thailam, Murivenna Oil among others.
From all the above examples, you can definitely see how comprehensive Ayurveda is in helping us take care of the different systems and organs of our body including our mind and emotional health. No doubt, Ayurveda is gaining high popularity and significance in the current era where people are constantly looking for natural ways to take care of oneself.
As the demand for healthy living increases, more people are shifting towards a holistic way of healing. So what is Ayurveda in more straightforward terms? One can say it is a choice of healthy living that incorporates natural supplements, regular yoga and exercises, an Ayurvedic diet, and a healthy lifestyle. When adopted, it brings out an array of health benefits, supports the body’s internal environment, and cleanses the mind and soul. Ayurveda tends to help improve the quality of daily life. It is your turn to now determine your dosha type, try following the maximum of the dosha-directed Ayurvedic diet, and trust the process. To avail of authentic Ayurvedic products or consult expert Ayurvedic specialists, do visit our store.