Understanding Ayurvedic Medicine
Which Dosha Are You?
Ancient cultures often share ancient gifts- And Ayurveda is India's ancient gift to the world. From the land-and the time-that gave us Yoga and meditation, India's leading alternative medicine is called Ayurveda, which translates to "The Science of Life." Like Yoga and meditation, Ayurveda brings with it over 5,000 years of wisdom and history. Ayurveda is the oldest of all the healing sciences in the world.
Ayurvedic medicine is one of the oldest forms of medicine in the world. It incorporates tools such as diet, exercise, breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, mental visualization, therapeutic massage, and herbs to treat illness and maintain health. This ancient healing method also uses color therapy, sound therapy, and aromatherapy to help create balance within the body, mind and the spirit. Today, many westerners are adopting certain practices of Ayurvedic medicine and generally accepting other forms of alternative health. For example, many people are choosing to try natural supplement first before trying over the counter drugs for common ailments.
In Ayurveda, the fundamental healing philosophy is the concept of the three doshas, or basic types of energy or functional principles. These are vata (from ether and air), pitta (from fire and water), and kapha (from water and earth). According to the principles of Ayurveda, they are present in everyone and everything. Vata is the energy of movement. Pitta is the energy of digestion or metabolism. Kapha is the energy of lubrication and structure. All three doshas are present in everyone, but one is usually predominant in any given individual. Ayurvedic medicine sees disease as a result of excess or deficiency in vata, pitta, or kapha, and also the presence of toxins.
Good health indicates a balance of these three energies in a body that is relatively toxin-free. Herbs are used to treat illness by restoring this balance. Herbs that deal with energy or movement are used to increase vata.Herbs that treat digestion, assimilation, absorption, and metabolism are pitta, and those involved with structure and the musculoskeletal system the "glue" that holds the body together are kapha.
Ayurvedic medicine regards the human body as a manifestation of cosmic energy that is transferred to all levels, both mental and physical. This can be difficult for people from Western cultures to grasp, but practitioners believe the two systems of energy are closer than we can conceive. At Ayurveda's core is the belief that we are a totality of body and soul within the universe, and if we can live in harmony with nature and our inner being, we will obtain good health.
How to Determine your Dosha:Learn about Ayurveda by reading books and perusing websites on Ayurveda. You can find simple questionnaires that can be used to determine your mind and body constitution. Shorter questionnaires will give a more generalized and approximate result-try several and compare the results. Keep in mind that your body changes with age, seasons, and life situations so the results will change accordingly. You can also visit an Ayurvedic practitioner for an in-depth analysis.
Ayurveda is different from modern medicine. In Ayurveda, every individual is unique and there is no diet or lifestyle routine that works for everyone. Ayurveda focuses on prevention, providing specific advice and guidance on how to maintain physical and emotional health. Food and lifestyle routines are considered the most important medicine. If you visit an Ayurvedic practitioner, you will probably leave with lifestyle recommendations and a recipe for prevention, rather than with a prescription for pills.
- Vata is the dosha governed by wind or air. Vata people generally have thin frames and tire easily due to quick excitability. This dosha controls movement and the nervous system.
- Pitta people are usually of medium build and may have red hair or short tempers, as this dosha is governed by fire. Pitta can lose its balance when exposed to too much sunlight or heat.
- Kapha people tend toward stockiness and larger frames. Physically h3 and resilient, kaphas have good digestion, tend to be slow eaters and talk slowly.
- Double doshas are people who have their doshas in combination, such as vata-pitta or pitta-kapha. This means that you have equal qualities of both doshas.
Ayurvedic medicine treats each person individually, according to their doshas, or their personal constitution and surroundings; knowing your doshic constitution is crucial to learning how Ayurveda can benefit you.
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