What is Ayurveda?

By Evelyn Del Valle | Published: January 25, 2019 | Last updated: January 28, 2019

Ayurveda is the traditional natural healing system of India that dates back to more than five thousand years. Originally shared as an oral tradition, Ayurveda was first recorded more than 5000 years ago in a portion of the Vedas known as the Atharva Veda.

More than a system of treating illness, Ayurveda is a science of life emphasizing wellbeing and longevity. 'Ayur' in Sanskrit means life, while 'Veda' means science or knowledge. Ayurveda offers a body of wisdom designed to encourage vitality, prolonged health and the realization of full human potential.

According to Ayurveda each individual is made up of a unique combination of physical, mental and emotional patterns or ‘humors’ referred to as doshas. There are three doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha), each corresponding to a combination of five key elements in nature: earth, water, fire, air and aether or space.

Vata is a subtle energy associated with movement and has the qualities of air and space. Pitta is associated with the body’s metabolic process and has the qualities of fire and water. Kapha is the energy that forms the body’s structure and is formed of earth and water.

Disease arises when an imbalance (of excess or deficiency) occurs in any of these doshas. Ayurveda also considers accumulation of toxins as another potential factor.

Understanding that each individual is made up of a unique combination of doshas, allows Ayurveda treatment of disease to be uniquely tailored to each individual. Although each treatment maintains the aim of restoring balance to the person's doshas.

Ayurveda employs a variety of techniques when assessing an individuals health. These can encompass pulse reading, looking at the tongue, eyes, voice tone, emotions and more.

In treatment of disease or maintaining optimal health, Ayurveda works with a variety of elements towards its goal to maintain or restore balance of the doshas. These range from food, herbs, digestion, exercise, meditation, Panchakarma and and other seasonal and lifestyle considerations.


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Written by Evelyn Del Valle | Ayurveda + Health Writer

Evelyn Del Valle

Holistic Living teacher and coach with more than 16 years experience successfully influencing sustainable healthy living practices and modalities for physical, mental and emotional well-being. Motivational change catalyst, nutrition, anti-inflammatory foods, brain foods, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, contemplative practices - with mental health challenged populations and public at large.

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