Ayurveda is the most ancient health system on earth. It predates European or western medicine, Greek civilization, and even Chinese medicine. The principles and teachings of Ayurveda are are the source from which many other systems originated such as Chinese traditional medicine, and the Greek and Unani medicine. In fact, it is believed that Chinese medicine was brought to China by the Buddhist monk Nagarjuna around 150 AD. Followers of the Vedas accept what the Ayurvedic shastras and Puranas state – that it was revealed by an incarnation of the Supreme at the dawn of time.
The philosophical basis of Ayurveda (“the science of life”) is very deep, its principles founded on the teachings of 25 elements in the Bhagavad Gita and the Puranas. Not only are the methods of healing and curing using herbs, diet, hygiene methods, meditation and exercise sophisticated and highly individual, but there is no other medical system with such a wide array of self-help practices to not only improve health but preserve it. The actual goal of Ayurveda is not “perfect” health, which is an impossible goal. Its purpose is to promote physical and mental balance; a peaceful, clear mind and a flexible, energetic body, so that the individual can then use the body and mind for the real mission of human life.
Ayurveda does not see physical health and mental health as unrelated. Not only do the body and mind affect each other, but they are understood to be the two coverings of the eternal soul. In essence, Ayurveda teaches that the real identity of each person is the eternal spiritual particle or soul [atma], using the body as a vehicle. In order to make the journey of human life successful, it is much easier if the body and mind are in good working order, and that is the purpose of Ayurveda. A strong body is not very useful if the mind is clouded, afraid, depressed, consumed by cravings, or angry. Clarity and peace of mind are just as important in Ayurveda as a strong and healthy body, if not more so.
Ayurveda places great emphasis on proper diet; it is said that without the right diet, even herbs will have little effect, and that with the right diet, herbs aren’t that much needed. One of the unique aspects of Ayurveda is the understanding that each individual is unique and has different specific dietary needs than another. There are three main constitutional types, which, when mixed, make up about 7 different types (with each individual manifesting a unique mix of the doshas). When a person understands what foods are uniquely good and health promoting, or conversely, harmful, for him, it is much easier to make the right choices about not only food, but drinks, habits, types of exercise, and so on. Ayurveda also teaches the utility of seasonal eating and habits for promoting health. Foods and activities that are beneficial in winter may be harmful in the summer, and vice versa. Ayurveda takes into account each individual’s age, level of activity, environment and other situations when determining the most health promoting choices.
Modern “health” books, foods, supplements, and exercise regimens are often popular for a while, then discarded for something new. Such inventions are often primarily a business investment or multi-level marketing, which may be good for some people, useless for others, and even harmful for some. Since they don’t always work, they are then rejected for the next fad that comes along. Sometimes people are taken for a ride, or even damage their health with extreme diets, imbalancing vitamin or mineral intake, or even wind up with heart attacks while “running for health”. People are left confused, after reading dozens of books which all contradict each other. Others just give up, figuring that health is just a hit or miss accident.
The system of Ayurveda, while quite sophisticated, is not difficult to understand in terms of one’s own constitution. To learn about the needs of your own particular body, with its own strengths and weaknesses and what foods will be easily digestible and promote your well being, and which are hard to digest and therefore toxin creating; and which herbs, spices, and daily habits will greatly improve your feeling of well being now and in the future, as well as bring balance to your emotions and clarity of mind, is to have the knowledge to take responsibility for your own health.
Ayurveda is all about choices. We make choices every day – about food, purchases, clothing, habits, exercise, recreation. When we understand the basics of our constitution and what brings it into balance, and what causes imbalances, we can choose wisely. Not only is our immediate health and well being improved, but our mind and consciousness are brought into proper focus so that our spiritual goals are seen more clearly. Ayurveda teaches that every one of us is a spiritual being, and that our body is a vehicle that should be in good working order, so that we can travel on our spiritual journey more easily.
The content on this website is not medical diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your healthcare provider.