The science of life
Ayurveda is a system of holistic life-style, which encompasses the body, mind and spirit. The traditional Ayurvedic system appeared and was practiced on a regular basis in India, 5000 years ago. The Sanskrit word Ayurveda means “The science of life”. “Ayus” means “life” and it refers to the fundamental energy of life. “Veda” means knowledge or, in other words, science. Ayurveda therefore represents an invaluable treasure of theoretical and practical knowledge that helps us find the best ways to improve the life of the human being.
It has its root in ancient Vedic literature and represents the most ancient traditional science for healing and maintaining health. Well-known and spread way beyond the geographical region of India, Ayurveda has been offered, throughout the course of time, with the theoretical and practical basis to build other traditional healing systems, known today as various branches of alternative medicine.
Ayurveda recognizes that all life, whether it be human, plant or animal, must live in harmony with nature in order to survive. Ayurveda speaks of daily and seasonal routines that insure maximal health and longevity. The state of health of a human being represents a state of that is established both between the different vital subtle forces that animate the human being, as well as between the Microcosm of the human being and the outer environment (Macrocosmic) in which he lives. In the vision of the millenary wisdom of the Ayurvedic system, individual balance and the harmony of the human being with the Universe presents both a vertical, ascending and evolutionary dimension, as well as a horizontal dimension, of relational interaction. The state of health represents a dynamic condition of the human being. It is an expression of balance and harmony experienced at all levels of the being.
According to, every human being is a creation of the cosmos, the pure cosmic consciousness, as two energies: male energy, called Purusha and female energy, Prakruti. Purusha is choice less passive awareness, while Prakruti is choiceful active consciousness. Prakruti is the divine creative will. In creation, Prakruti is first evolved or manifested as supreme intelligence, called mahat. Mahat is the buddhi principal (individual intellect) which further manifests as self identity, called ahamkara, which is ego. Ahamkara is influenced by three basic universal qualities: satva, rajas and tamas. Satva is responsible for clarity of perception. Rajas causes movement, sensations, feelings and emotions. Tamas is the tendency towards inertia, darkness, heaviness, and is responsible for periods of confusion and deep sleep.
Ayurveda is based on the premise that the universe is made up of five elements: air, fire, water, earth and ether. The structural aspect of the body is made up of five elements, but the functional aspect of the body is governed by three biological humors three doshas (“tridoshas“). Ether and air together constitute vata; fire and water, pitta; and water and earth, kapha. Vata, pitta and kapha are the three biological humors that are the three biological components of the organism. They govern psycho-biological changes in the body and physio-pathological changes too. Vata-pitta-kapha are present in every cell, tissue and organ. In every person they differ in permutations and combinations. They each have five subdivisions, delicately intertwined. Every individual has a distinct balance, and our health and well-being depend on getting a right balance of the three doshas(“tridoshas“). Ayurveda describes in great detail as to how they function and how to keep them in balance and also how to bring them into balance when they are out of balance.
A healthy person, as defined in Sushrut Samhita, one of the primary works on Ayurveda, is “he whose doshas are in balance, appetite is good, all tissues of the body and all natural urges are functioning properly, and whose mind, body and spirit are cheerful…”
This is called Agni. Agni can be equated to the word metabolism. This includes the digestion, absorption, assimilation. Conversion of the assimilated food into various Dhatus, such as Plasma, blood, muscle, bone, fat, seminal fluid in men and Artava in women (There is no equivalent term in English for Artava) and finally Ojas or the vital force of the body. In medical term this could be the final responsible tissue for the secretion of Serotonin and Dopamine.
Ayurveda puts great emphasis for the excretory functions to be in perfect order to be in perfect health. This would prevent diseases. Keeps one in good health, spirit and gives long life. Ayurveda elaborately describes how one should maintain one’s lifestyle.
Ayurveda’s definition of health is all encompassing. Social well being can only be possible when all these criteria are met. One is in perfect health when the Three doshas ( vata, pitta and Kapha) Digestive fire ( digestion, assimilation and metabolism) all the body tissues & components (Dhatus) (the entire physical body) all the excretory functions (the physiological functions of urination and defecation) are in perfect order with a pleasantly disposed and contented mind, senses and spirit.
According to Ayurveda, health is a state of balance between the body, mind and consciousness. Within the body, Disease is a condition of disharmony in any of the three doshas or bodily humors vata, pitta and kapha; seven dhatus or tissues; threemalas or wastes and agni the energy of metabolism. The root cause of imbalance, or disease, is an aggravation of dosha,vata–pitta–kapha, caused by a wide variety of internal and external factors. According to the attributes of these different etiological factors the bodily humors become aggravated and start to accumulate at their respective sites. Vata tends to accumulate in the colon, pitta in the intestines and kapha in the stomach. If the provocation continues, the accumulated doshareaches a state of overflowing the original site and spreads throughout the body. The aggravated dosha then enters and creates a lesion in a specific weak tissue where pathological changes are manifested in the organ or system.
There are many factors that affect the doshas. Disease can result from imbalanced emotions. If a person has deep seated unresolved anger, fear, anxiety, grief or sadness that also affects the doshas. Ayurveda classifies seven major causative factors in disease: hereditary, congenital, internal, external trauma, seasonal, natural tendencies or habits and supernatural factors. Disease can also result from misuse, overuse and under-use of the senses: hearing, touch, sight, taste, and smell. The disease itself can be described by the number of doshas involved, the specific tissues affected, the quality or combination of qualities that aggravated the dosha, whether the disease is primary or secondary, strength, and the length of time of the disease.
Ayurveda is an ancient clinical art of diagnosing the disease process through questioning (inquiring about the past, present and family history), observation (inspection), tactile experience (palpation), percussion, and listening to the heart, lungs and intestines (auscultation). In this art, Ayurveda talks much about interpreting the pulse, tongue, eyes and nails in the clinical examination, and also a specific examination of functional systems separately.
Ayurveda says that to restore health we must understand the exact quality, nature and structure of disease, disorder, or imbalance. The body has its own intelligence to create balance and we are helping in that process. There are four main classifications of management of disease in Ayurveda: shodan, or cleansing; shaman or palliation; rasayana, or rejuvenation; and satvajaya, or mental hygiene.
According to Ayurveda, our life is a relationship; the relationship between you and your spouse, girlfriend and boyfriend, and parents and children. Equally important is the relationship with yourself, your relationship between the body, mind and consciousness, and the inner relationship between vata–pitta–kapha. These relationships are life, and Ayurveda is a healing art which helps bring clarity in relationships. Clarity in relationships brings compassion, and compassion is love, therefore love is clarity. Without this clarity, there is no insight. Ayurveda is an art of insight which brings harmony, happiness, joy and bliss in our daily life, in our relationships, and in our daily living. Ayurveda, can definitely bring longevity to life. It can bring a quality of consciousness, such that one can get insight to deal with one’s inner life, one’s inner emotions, one’s inner hurt, grief and sadness. Ayurveda is a total healing art.