What is Ayurveda?
Inherent in Ayurvedic principles is the concept that you are capable of taking charge of your own life and healing.
More than simply medical care, Ayurveda offers a philosophy whereby one may prevent unnecessary suffering and live a long, healthy life. Known as the mother of all medical systems, Ayurveda has undergone continuous research, development and refinement over past 5,000 years. Originally from India, Ayurveda is currently experiencing world-wide popularity as a revival sweeps in all continents. Ayurveda employs the judicious application of nutritional guidance, herbal medicines, exercise therapy, transcendental meditation and many special rejuvenation and purification therapies. Preferring to focus on the type of person who has the disease, rather than just understanding the type of disease the person has, Ayurveda is a patient-orientated system of healing.
According to Ayurveda, you can achieve health through daily routine. A typical Ayurdedic routine might look like this:
- Rise with the sun.
- Exercise should preferably be done early in the morning before the daily shower or bath.The intensity of the exercise depends on your dosha - your body type. (We will look at what doshas are in more detail below.) The ideal amount of exercise should be 1/2 of your capacity. For example, if you get tired after 30 minutes of jogging, you should stop after 15 minutes. When sweat appears on the armpits and forehead, respiration speeds up and one starts breathing through the mouth, the exercise should be stopped. Yoga is considered the preferred way of exercising because it combines physical and mental exercise.
- The tongue should be cleaned with a tool made for this purpose. Cleansing of the tongue freshens up the mouth and also stimulates the secretion of the digestive enzymes.
- A dab of Sesame Oil should be put into each nostril or applied in the inner mucosa of the nasal cavity with the help of the fingers each morning. A few drops can be put on the end of the little finger and gently applied inside the nose. This is an excellent way to keep the nasal passages moist and is very beneficial.
- A hot bath should be taken after the ayurvedic oil massage and proper exercise. A hot water aromatherapy mineral bath relieves fatigue, cleans the body, increases strength, improves appetite and generates a feeling of freshness in the body as well as in the mind. One of my favorite sources for massage oils is Mountain Rose Herbs.
Ayurveda and the 3 doshas
In Ayurveda, different people with the same disease sometimes receive different diets and herbal plans. Each person's constitution and the imbalance found in each individual is taken into account.
With Ayurveda, we acknowledge that beneficial daily habits are different for each person, because each person is a unique combination of the 3 fundamental biological principles, which are called "doshas": Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Everybody has all 3 energies - although people experience each of them to a lesser or greater degree.
A Vata's frame is usually thin and low in weight with prominent bones and joints. They have thin skin which is dry and rough with a tendency for prominent veins and cold to the touch. Vata usually will have curly, coarse, dry hair. Their teeth will usually be large, crooked and protrude. Both their head and eyes will be small, quick and unsteady. Vatas have variable and scanty appetites. They will be thin as children and have trouble gaining weight. Vatas like sweet, salty and sour foods like cake, crackers, and pickles. They find oily foods comforting and benefit from ghee, a form of clarified butter. Their thirst varies and they will nurse hot drinks to keep them warm. Their bowels are usually hard and dry, and they are prone to constipation. Vatas are hyperactive and can exhaust easily with restless minds that fantasize. They are extremely creative, artistic, with extreme moods of joyfulness and fear, accomplishment and insecurity, and are often anxious. Vatas are erratic and always unpredictable. They are light sleepers with scanty, interrupted sleep patterns.
Pitta stands with a medium build, height, and bone structure, with soft, oily skin that's warm to the touch. They have fair complexions and burn easily. Pitta's hair is soft and oily and will bald and gray early. They have moderate size, yellowish teeth with soft gums that bleed easily.
Pittas have strong appetites and need large meals to be satisfied, but will not snack. They like sweet, bitter and astringent foods, like candy, green salads and bananas. Pittas like cold drinks. They have frequent bowel movements with soft, oily, loose discharges. Pittas must evacuate immediately when they feel the urge. They are moderately active, but with intensely competitive spirits.Pitta can be overly assertive and aggressive, highly organized and intelligent, with nearly photographic memories. They become teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, - and get angry when not fed on time! Pittas
are easily irritated and can be dangerous when jealous, which happens often. Pittas are fanatical about their faith.
Pittas sleep short and deep, with fiery dreams of war and violence. They are good orators, but can be sharp and cutting with their speech.
Kaphas are large, big boned, thick and strong. They stand not too tall, but often as the foundation of society. Kaphas have a tendency to be overweight and can become heavy by just looking at food. Their skin is thick, smooth, cool and oily with a tendency to be pale.
Kapha's hair is thick, wavy, oily with strong even white teeth. They seldom get a cavity. Kaphas have small appetites and eat slowly - many small meals a day - they are the big snackers of society. They like pungent, bitter, and astringent foods like spicy dishes and green salads. But Kaphas especially like dry, crispy things. They rarely drink, and have one full and heavy bowel movement daily.
Kaphas are not very active and must study repeatedly to understand, but will never forget once they learn. Therefore they often prefer repetitious jobs where little innovation is necessary. Kapha people in general are slow, steady and reliable. They are extremely compassionate, forgiving, loving, and patient, often becoming social workers, nurses, and the clergy of different religions. They have a deep, steady faith and highly developed spiritual feelings.
Kaphas sleep deep and long, often dreaming of romantic settings by lakes and rivers, or swimming. They speak slowly in a monotonous voice.
It is important to keep in mind that each of us is a combination of the 3 doshas. In Ayurveda, once you understand your body type or dosha, you can structure a diet for yourself which will really work to make you feel totally balanced and harmonized. Similarly you can design an exercise plan which will benefit your dosha - Kaphas need more stimulation than Vatas, who get frazzled more easily, for example.
Ayurveda and tastes
There are 6 tastes according to Ayurveda, and we should enjoy all 6 in our diet:
- wheat, milk, dates, rice.
Spices in Ayurvedic cooking
used in small to moderate proportions according to the food
How soon you feel balanced once you start following Ayurvedic principles depends on how much you have abused yourself in the past. That's why the Ayurvedic practitioner asks many questions about your health history. It is important to ascertain when the problem began and what emotional and mental imbalances preceded it, so that your diet and daily routine can solve your health problem by going to the source.
Ayurveda herbal formulas are not generic supplements based on the latest health craze. They have been helping people improve their health for thousands of years. One of the most important Ayurvedic herbal supplement is a free-radical-fighting, health-enhancing food supplement called Maharishi Amrit Kalash.
Hari Sharma, M.D., professor emeritus and former director of cancer prevention and natural products research at the Ohio State University College of Medicine, who wrote "Freedom from Disease: How to Control Free Radicals, a Major Cause of Aging and Disease" and "The Answer to Cancer: Is Never Giving It a Chance to Start", put Amrit Kalash to the test. His team set out to compare Amrit Kalash with 3 individual anti-oxidants: Vitamin C, Vitamin E and the well-researched drug probucol. Their findings were dramatic. Weight for weight, the aqueous extracts of Amrit Kalash were several hundred times more potent as a free-radical scavenger than Vitamins C and E and probucol. The alcoholic extracts were even stronger: at least 1,000 times more potent.
Studies have shown that Amrit Kalash increases the response of lymphocyte immune cells by 300% to 400%. The antioxidant properties of Amrit Kalash inhibit degenerative processes, including abnormal platelet aggregation (clotting, leading to cardiovascular disease) and the aging process. Among chemotherapy patients, research indicates that Amrit Kalash helps contain anorexia and vomiting.
Click here to review 21 scientific studies on Maharishi Amrit Kalash.
This page is only meant as a brief overview of Ayurveda. To wet your taste buds so to speak. Here are also a few good books which I recommend to learn more about Ayurveda:
© 2007 Healing Daily