Ayurveda is the science of life. Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word means science of life. Ayu means life or daily living, and Veda is knowing. Ayurveda, therefore, is the healing branch or medical side of the system of yoga. “Ayur” or “life” in Ayurveda is described as the harmony of the higher Self (Atman), mind (manas), prana, senses and body. This idea of life is not merely physical but includes all aspects of our being and shows the broad and integral scope of Ayurvedic theory and practice. Ayurveda helps the healthy person to maintain health, and the diseased person to regain health. The practice of Ayurveda is designed to promote human happiness, health and creative growth. Ayurveda is a holistic system of medicine that is indigenous to and widely practiced all over the world now a days. Ayurveda’s goal is to achieve health by working towards balance and harmony. Prevention is emphasised over cure. Ayurveda recognises the importance of physical balance, emotional release, mental health, environmental mindfulness and spiritual progression in the total health.
The Law of Karma and Ayurveda:
For every action you take there will be a reaction in the future. The cause and effect is the basis of the law of Karma in the universe. This law of karma also important in Ayurveda. Whatever is our health condition there is a reason for it. A disease cannot arise without a cause. If one has a Pitta (heat) disease like the infection, a pitta cause must exist in such things as exposure to heat or eating of pitta causing foods, excessive anger and other Pitta-increasing actions. Everything has a reason and if we discover that reason we can correct the cause that brings us pain, disease or sorrow. Nothing happens that is uncaused or not produced by our own actions. This principle of causation means that we bring about and are responsible for our own condition in life, physical or mental. It means that we possess the power to correct it by remedial measures. As we have made all that we are, we also have the power to correct it. This principle of responsibility gives us the basis for correcting any wrong actions. It shows us that what we have spoiled we can also make well again or even better in time. It gives freedom through which we can arrive with our own action. Ayurveda teaches that the a person themselves must take an active part in the treatment, for it is only the individual that can change their own chain of cause and effect of any condition. Reversing this process of causation, we can go back to the normal healthy life. This return process is the process of reintegration leads to balanced and harmonious life with yourself.
According to Ayurveda, the five fundamental elements that make up the universe--space (Akasha), air (Vayu), fire (Agni), water (Apu) and earth (Prithvi)--also make up the human physiology. Looking at the elements from the point of view of what they do in the physiology, rather than what they are, Ayurveda describes three biological humors or psychophysiological energies called doshas. There are three doshas, called Vata, Pitta and Kapha, and each is mainly a combination of two elements. Vata dosha is made up of space and air. Pitta dosha is a combination of fire and water. Kapha dosha is made up of water and earth.
Dosha means “that which changes” because doshas are constantly moving in dynamic balance, one with the others. They are primary life forces or biological humours. The doshas are the biological energies found in the human body and mind. They govern all physical and mental processes and provide every living being with an individual blueprint for health and fulfilment. The doshas are subtle, they cannot be perceived directly in the body. However their presence is visible through distinct qualities and actions – ranging from biological functions to personality traits.
Each one of us is born with a mix of Vata, Pitta and Kapha that makes us our body constitution and determines our strengths and weaknesses. While one dosha usually dominates in most individuals, a second dosha may also have a strong influence. This is referred to as a dual-doshic constitution. For example, a Vata-Pitta type will have Vata as the primary constitution but also embody strong Pitta characteristics. On the other hand, a Pitta-Vata type will identify more with Pitta characteristics, but also have strong Vata qualities. The least common constitutional type is known as “tri-doshic” or Vata-Pitta-Kapha. This refers to an individual who has an equal amount of all three doshas.
The doshas are dynamic energies that are constantly changing in season, in response to our actions, thoughts, emotions, the food that we eat, and any other sensory inputs that feed our mind and body. When we live in accordance with the nature of our doshic type, this means we make lifestyle and dietary decisions that balance our doshas, and we can have a healthy vibrant life. Nurturing your unique dosha nature is considered the direct pathway to fulfilment in life. For example, a person who suppresses an underlying creative impulse may create a deep-seated imbalance of their Vata dosha over time. When we do not live in harmony with our doshic constitution this can be due to unhealthy patterns of physical, mental and emotional imbalances, and dosha could be aggravated or stimulated. You can restore balance to the aggravated dosha by understanding your unique constitution dosha type.
So question how to know your doshas?
Each one of us has a different constitution. The key to Ayurvedic treatment is to know the main imbalances of the doshas and how to treat them. For maintenance of health, every person should understand their constitution. When examining the doshas, it is important to make a distinction between balanced and an imbalanced state.
Vata Dosha: The person with predominantly Vata in their constitution has a quick mind, lots of enthusiasm and many interests. Vata types are always on the go mentally and physically. Common signs of Vata imbalance include anxiety and bodily disorders related to dryness, such as dry skin and constipation. Signs of imbalanced Vata also include restlessness, lacking confidence, being disorganised, tendency to procrastinate, talking too fast and being “spacey” and ungrounded. Because they can be overactive thinkers they may be prone to depression, anxiety, insomnia, attention deficit disorder (ADD), headaches, low energy and obsessive compulsive disorders.
How to balance Vata Dosha: Calming the mind, practicing meditation, doing gentle exercises such as yoga, eating in a peaceful environment, following a regular daily routine, listening to calm music and having regular massages all help to balance Vata. Use warming and energising essential oils such as basil, black pepper, cinnamon, clove bud, and coriander seed and rosemary. It is important for Vata types to follow their creative and artistic passions.
Pitta Dosha: When the Pitta dosha is out of balance they can have deep seated emotional issues rooted in anger, fear, hatred and jealousy. They can become arrogant, hot-headed, loud and aggressive, judgmental and overly competitive. Pitta types are high achievers and very confident. They have a fiery temperament. There is a saying in Ayurveda that an imbalanced Pitta individual does not go to hell, they simply create hell wherever they go! Typically Pitta problems manifest in the body as infections, inflammation, rashes, ulcers, heartburn and fevers. Pitta individuals have a strong metabolism, but it can be aggravated by hot spicy food.
How to balance Pitta Dosha: By learning to meditate, engaging in calming activities, avoiding alcohol, caffeine and nicotine, spent with nature, and taking time to rest everyday, Pittas can remain balanced. Excessive Pitta should be treated with cooling and calming oils such chamomile, lavender, neroli, sandalwood, kus kus and vetiver. The person with balanced Pitta in their constitution are joyful, sharp intellect, confidence, charisma and much courage and drive. They are extremely ambitious individuals. Pitta types are high achievers and very confident.
Kapha Dosha: When the Kapha dosha is out of balance the person is prone to overeating. They are likely to suffer from bodily disorders such as obesity, sinus congestion and anything related to mucous. Typically they are considered the more mentally and emotionally unstable of the three doshas, therefore they are prone to lethargy, attachment and depression. They can be contented, they are often not able to say no, they can become possessive and often give up easily.
How to balance Kapha Dosha: You can balance Kapha by eating a Kapha-balancing diet, focusing on non-attachment in daily life, and changing in your daily routine. By engaging in physical activities. To balanced Kapha types they should use grounding and balancing essential oils such as cedarwood, sandalwood and vetiver. Excessive Kapha can be treated with warming and spicy oils such as Tulsi basil, black pepper, cinnamon, clove bud, coriander seed, ginger, turmeric and saffron. The balanced Kapha person naturally have good health and mental peace. Kapha types are warm, loving and gentle people. Kapha types have strong stamina, they are patient, forgiving and they are good listeners.