Ayurveda teaches us to listen to the rhythms of nature and our bodies, to apply nature's wisdom to our own well-being and to that of those around us. One of the many ways that it varies from Western medicine is in its definition of health.
The Ayurveda approach believes that every person's body consists of a unique combination of fundamental energies, or doshas, of the mind, body, and soul. These doshas are essential to holistic health. We are all made up of unique combinations of them, which then form our individual personalities, health risks, physical characteristics, and internal workings. The particular combination of these energies creates the constitution of each person, which in today's Western terms is comparable to the genetic code.
While the underlying code remains constant, external factors are in constant flux and greatly affect our balance. We may experience imbalances caused by stress, change of seasons, diet, or repressed emotions. Each type of imbalance affects each type of dosha differently.
We will not make good lovers if we are tired, stressed, and cranky. All of these moods are symptoms of a doshic imbalance. If the problem is due to an imbalance, the best way to treat it is by rebalancing the doshas. This can be done in part through the establishment of a routine. This means that you should wake up, eat, and go to bed around the same time every day. We should pay attention to our doshas and eat in a way that complements our unique makeup.
It is essential that we take time out to relax, meditate, and do yoga. We can align ourselves with nature's rhythms in many different ways. However, the first step is to listen to and learn from our bodies and our surroundings. Ayurveda facilitates that process.
According to the Ayurveda philosophy, health is not just an absence of disease; it is achieved when there is perfect balance between all three doshas — balance between the mind, the body, and the soul.
Unique Aspects of Ayurveda
Ayurveda differs from the contemporary, mainstream approach to medicine in several ways. For one thing, Ayurveda views each person as a unique person with unique needs. Therefore, the lifestyle, dietary guidelines, and other directives prescribed for one person may be totally different from those recommended for someone else.
Ayurveda also places major importance on the relationship between mind and body. It is believed that many health problems are caused by the mind and body not working together harmoniously as they should.
Herbal products and supplements are often used in Ayurveda to help speed the healing process or to attain physical balance.
Ancient people who practiced Ayurveda believed in the strong connection between the soul and the body, especially the senses. It was believed that as the soul began preparing to leave the body, the senses would begin shutting down and the person would stop doing things (like eating favorite foods) he previously enjoyed.
One of the most important processes involved in traditional Ayurveda was Pancha Karma. This was a multifaceted process designed to help establish the proper balance of mind, body, and soul. The main function of Pancha Karma was cleansing the body and getting rid of toxins. This was achieved through several techniques, many of which would be seen as unappealing or unpleasant to many modern-day people. Pancha Karma often involved vomiting to clear the stomach, enemas to clear the intestines, and a solution used to clear the nasal passages.