The Greatness of Ayurveda
Nov 23, 2010 @ 14:46
When I stay in a country for extended periods of time, I like to explore all that it has to offer in terms of health and well-being, and usually, I also look for remedies to aid me in my Yogic practices. This then allows me to learn more about my own body, and in turn helps me work with many of my students
India, for me is the “Mother” of all countries as she has never ending gifts to offer. On a spiritual level, I am always taken by her. Seeing as I am here for quite some time, my next few blogs will explore her and what she has to offer. I cannot write about all her wonderful attributes (as she has far too many), but I can write about a few.
One of the greatest gifts Mother India has given to the world is the gift of Ayurveda. Ayurveda translates to ‘The Knowledge of Life’, where “Ayur” means life and “Veda” means knowledge. It is Mother India's traditional, natural system of medicine that has been practiced for more than 5,000 years. Ayurveda provides an integrated approach to preventing and treating illnesses through lifestyle interventions and natural therapies. In one of my more recent blogs, we looked at the herb Triphala which is used in a number of Ayurvedic treatments. In the next few blogs, I will explore some of the more interesting and common Ayurvedic treatments, now also used in the West. For now though, a brief introduction to Ayurveda might help me to explain the brilliance of this system.
Ayurveda is conceived as the union of body, mind and soul. The living man is a conglomeration of three constitutions (Vata, Pitta and Kapha). There are also seven basic tissues (Rasa, Rakta, Mansa, Meda, Asthi, Majja & Shukra) as well as the waste products of the body such as faeces, urine and sweat. Thus, the total body matrix comprises of the constitutions, the tissues and the waste by-products of the body. It is believed that the growth and decay of our body matrix and its constituents revolve around food which gets processed into tissues and wastes. Ingestion, digestion, absorption, assimilation and metabolism of food have a role in matters of health, and are significantly affected by psychological mechanisms as well as by our digestive fire (Agni).
When one of our constitutions is out of whack, this is where we fall ill, and this is where an Ayurvedic doctor comes into play. However, one first needs to find out their Ayurvedic constitution in order to work out how to maintain balance in the body and mind. To do this you would need to see an Ayurvedic doctor, or take a questionnaire. I’ve found one which I believe is quite good so it’s a good place to start. Over the next few blogs we will look at each constitution more closely.
For now though, try this simple questionnaire, which is rather fun!