What is Ayurveda?

English: Dhanvantari (धन्वंतरी), known as an a...
Image via Wikipedia

Ayurveda or the Ayurvedic medicine system is the traditional healing system of India, which originated over 5,000 years back.


Ayurveda is a 5000 year old Indian medicine system that is getting ever more popular in the Western part of the world. It’s a holistic system essentially aimed toward feeling well and living in harmony with yourself and your surroundings.

According to Ayurveda one of the most important means to achieve this is a balanced diet; not to be confused with the Crash-diets the Western culture is generally used to. Instead of leaving out all “bad” foods an Ayurvedic Diet means adjusting your cooking to go well with your person and will help you feel better in general and being able to cope better with the hurdles that everyday life may put in your way.

The fundamentals of Ayurveda can be found in Hindu scriptures called the Vedas — the ancient Indian books of wisdom. It is believed to be the oldest healing science in existence; from which all other systems emerged that’s why it is also called ‘The Mother of All Medicines’. The term Ayurveda has coined from two Sanskrit words–ayur, which means life, and veda, which means science or knowledge thus Ayurveda literally means “the Knowledge of life” or “the science of life”. It is a holistic healing science that not only deals with treatment of diseases but also is a complete way of life, as it believes that life is a combination of senses, mind, body and soul. Hence Ayurveda does not limit itself to body or physical symptoms but also gives a comprehensive knowledge about spiritual, mental and social health. Ayurveda helps us to understand our body; our particular nature; and our individual mixture of elements at a deep physical, mental and emotional level. This knowledge further guide us to identify activities, conditions, herbs and foods that either keep us healthy and in balance, or make us ill and throw us out of balance. In this way Ayurveda help an individual to discover the knowledge of living and health.

  • In Ayurveda changes are done bit by bit without forcing yourself to anything. Pay attention to your body and let it lead you. Begin with the elements that seem easiest and most natural to you and notice the subtle effects this will have. Your mind will adjust slightly with every single step you take and effortlessly guide you to the next if you learn to pay attention to yourself.
  • Let this list serve you as an orientation and suggestion of what many people find easy and natural to adhere to. It is certainly not the only way achievable nor a policy that has to be followed exactly — should you feel any other way might suit you better, by all means, don’t hesitate to follow your own direction.
  • You should also leave out everything that you don’t feel at ease with for once; it might come to you more naturally in the future after you have adjusted your mind a bit more to an Ayurvedic Diet.


Ayurveda is also considered as a sister science of yoga. Both the Ayurveda and yoga developed parallel to each other and have been supportive of one another since ancient times. As a “flexible body brings a flexible mind” – so too does a balanced and purified system help bring about success on the mat and access to a more ‘sattvic’ or harmonious being.

Principals of Ayurveda

All matter is thought to he composed of five basic elements
( panchamahabhutas ) which exhibit the properties of
earth (prithvi), water (jala), fire (tejas), wind (vayu) and space (akasha).
These elements do not exist in isolated forms, but always in a combination,
in which one or more elements dominate. According to Ayurveda,
the human body is composed of derivatives of these five basic elements,
in the form of doshas, tissues (dhatus) and waste products (malas).

The most fundamental and characteristic principle of Ayurveda is called “tridosha”
or the Three Humours. Doshas are the physiological factors of the body.
They are to be seen as all pervasive, subtle entities, and are categorized into
vata, pitta and kapha.

Vata regulates movement and is represented by the nervous system.
Pitta is the principle of biotransformation and is the cause of all metabolic processes in the body.
Kapha is the principle of cohesion and functions through the body fluids.

Together, these three doshas determine the physiologic constitution
of an individual.Health is described as a balance of all three doshas(bodily Humours).

The tissues are classified into seven categories:
Rasa(plasma), Rakta (blood cells),Mansa ( muscular tissue),
Meda (adipose tissue), Asthi (bony tissue), Majja (bone marrow)
and the Shukra (reproductive tissue).

Three main waste products are Mutra (urine), Purish (faeces) and Sweda (sweat).


Find out what benefits you

Get familiar with the principle of “Gunas” Don’t worry it’s not difficult:

  • “Sattvic” foods: in general are the juicy, easy to digest, tasty, organic, freshly made – they stimulate a sharp and focused state of mind, so try and get some more of these.
  • “Rajasic” foods: are eggs, caffeine, chile, alcohol, garlic, high quality meat as well as fermented and freshly canned foods. We require them to realize out projects by supporting stamina and providing a decisive state of mind.
  • “Tamasic” foods: are e.g. leftovers, alcohol (long term effect), meat, mushrooms, onions and frozen as well as fermentes foods. They plenty of a lot of energy to digest and give us the need to finish a project and rest; possibly they can put the mind in a lackluster state. That said, they’re really not “bad” but in our current culture we’re usually already getting enough of them so try and cut back on their intake.

11 Replies to “What is Ayurveda?”

  1. This is a great article. I love learning about other cultures. Thank you for sharing! This certainly allows us all to look at our own “worlds” and evaluate what we could do better or give us a needed change to keep our lives fresh.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s