Ayurveda

Definition - What does Ayurveda mean?

Ayurveda is an ancient medical tradition from India. The term is derived from the Sanskrit ayur, meaning "life" or "longevity," and veda, meaning "knowledge" or "science."

The concept of Ayurveda is based on two major principles. The first principle is that the body and mind are interconnected, and the second principle is that the mind is powerful enough to heal the body. The body is cured of illnesses only when one's awareness of the self expands.

Ayurvedic medicine and yoga are closely associated. They both find their roots in the Vedas. Renowned Vedic scholar, David Frawley, teaches that yoga is the practical side of Vedic teachings and Ayurveda is the healing side. Ayurveda aims to keep the body and mind balanced so that the individual remains healthy, and yoga is an art of body-mind coordination that ensures physical and mental fitness as well as enhances one's spirituality.

Yogapedia explains Ayurveda

According to Ayurvedic science, the body is a combination of three doshas, or "energies." These doshas are vata, pitta and kapha. Every individual has one dosha that is more dominant than the others, depending on the prakriti, or "natural constitution," of the person. Factors that influence the doshas include age, diet and climate.

Yoga practice can influence the balance of the three doshas. Choosing the right poses based on personal constitution can help practitioners maximize the health benefits of yoga. The vata dosha governs the nervous system, so those with vata constitution should practice yoga poses that promote calm. The pitta dosha governs digestion and organ function, so those with pitta constitution should practice yoga poses that are cooling. Kapha dosha governs body fluids and the movement of nutrients, so those with kapha constitution should practice stimulating yoga poses.

"Charaka Samhita," "Ashtanga Hrudaya" and "Sushruta Samhita" are the three most prominent ancient texts on Ayurveda. They elaborate on the five-element system and the importance of balance in a healthy life.

Email Newsletter

Join thousands of others with our weekly newsletter