Ayurveda is an ancient medical science. The word, ayurveda is composed of two words of Sanskrit, ayur (meaning life) and veda (meaning knowledge). Thus Ayurveda is a medical science of Ancient India. It deals with matters relating to health, day-to-day life and longevity (long life).Ayurveda is a traditional system of medicine and medication, based on experience and observation. This system of medicine and medication is more than 3000 years old.
According to Ayurveda, our natural state is one of health, happiness and an inner sense of well-being. Health is defined as the body being clear of toxins, the mind is at peace, emotions are calm and happy, wastes are efficiently eliminated and organs are functioning normally. In a busy, stressful and toxic world, our physical and mental systems accumulate toxins causing deterioration in bodily functioning. This eventually weakens our systems, which opens the door for chronic, degenerative, and non-specific diseases to develop. These can evolve into serious specific diseases, ultimately damaging an individual’s health and wellness.
In Ayurveda we view a person as a unique individual made up of five primary elements. The elements are ether (space), air, fire, water, and earth. Just as in nature, we too have these five elements in us. When any of these elements are present in the environment, they will in turn have an influence on us. The foods we eat and the weather are just two examples of the presence of these elements. While we are a composite of these five primary elements, certain elements are seen to have an ability to combine to create various physiological functions. Ether and air combine to form what is known in Ayurveda as the Vata dosha. Vata governs the principle of movement and therefore can be seen as the force which directs nerve impulses, circulation, respiration, and elimination. Fire and water are the elements that combine to form the Pitta dosha. The Pitta dosha is the process of transformation or metabolism. The transformation of foods into nutrients that our bodies can assimilate is an example of a pitta function. Pitta is also responsible for metabolism in the organ and tissue systems as well as cellular metabolism. Finally, it is predominantly the water and earth elements which combine to form the Kapha dosha. Kapha is what is responsible for growth, adding structure unit by unit. Another function of the Kapha dosha is to offer protection. Cerebral-spinal fluid protects the brain and spinal column and is a type of Kapha found in the body. Also, the mucousal lining of the stomach is another example of the Kapha dosha protecting the tissues. We are all made up of unique proportions of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These ratios of the doshas vary in each individual; and because of this, Ayurveda sees each person as a special mixture that accounts for our diversity.