The Art of Ayurveda
Ayurveda is said to be a holistic system of medicine that deals with our body, mind and also our spirit. The word ayurveda means ’science of life’ or ’wisdom for longevity’. For many thousands of years, Ayurveda has been a successful primary health care modality for millions of people in India. The world is increasingly recognizing the merits of Ayurveda, which offers effective cure for several diseases. It helps rejuvenate the body, fight stress and offer relief for a wide variety of ailments.
Ayurvedic treatments works at the causative levels while most of the modern medical treatments operate at the symptomatic level. It employs only natural treatment methods, since it recognizes the human being as being an integral part of nature.
Ayurveda explains nature with its ’Five Great Elements’ theory. It says each and every existence is composed of five elements:
1. Ether (akasa) – The principle of space
2. Air (vayu) – The principle of movement
3. Fire (agni) – The principle of conversion, heat, and light
4. Water (jala/aap) – The principle of liquidity and cohesion
5. Earth (prithvi) – The principle of form and structure.
Every human body has five elements in it, in varied proportions, making every individual unique. Maintenance of the equilibrium of these elements in the body is the key to health, according to ayurvedic principles. The five elements combine in pairs, to form three basic functional principles/energies called doshas in our body. Each of the three energies are believed to circulate in the body and govern physiological activity. These biological types are:
Vata – Air and ether
Pitta – Fire and water
Kapha – Earth and water
In Ayurveda, the food is considered the best and the most important medicine. The scholars say that when diet is wrong, the medicine is of no use and when the diet is correct, medicine is of no need. Each food item contains the same doshas and five elements as the human body but in different proportions. A personalised and customized diet for each individual is therefore the best path to holistic health.
Words by Acharya Ratheesh Mani
Images by Belén Vazquez Amaro, blogger, stylist & yogini and Albin Holmqvist art director & graphic designer. Belén is running the successful blog In the making by Belén and arranging Yoga & Breakfast-events.