What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a holistic system of medicine that is indigenous to and widely practiced in India. The word Ayurveda is a Sanskrit term meaning 'science of life`. Ayu means `life or "daily living and Veda is "knowing.' Ayurveda was first recorded in the Vedas the worlds oldest extant literature. This healing system has been practiced in daily life in India for more than 5.000 years. Like other great ancient civilization, India never separated science form philosophy and religion. Rather it viewed all knowledge as part of a whole designed to promote human happiness, health and growth. Philosophy is the love of truth. Science is the discovery of truth through experiment. Religion is the experience of truth and application of it in daily living. Ayurveda, the science of life, is both systematized knowledge and practical wisdom, an art of healthy living that encompasses all phases of life, body, mind and spirit. Like all sciences, it includes both a practical and a theoretical aspect.
The Universe and how we are connected
According to Ayurveda, the source of all existence is universal Cosmic Consciousness, which manifests as male and female energy. PURUSHA, often associated with the male energy, is choiceless, passive, pure awareness. PRAKRUTI the female energy is active, choiceful consciousness. Both Purusha and Prakruti are enternal, timeless and immeasurable. These two energies are present in all living organism, including every man and woman, as well as inanimate objects.
Purusha is formless and beyond attributes. Unmanifested pure existence, beyond cause and effect, beyond space and time. Purusha takes no active part in creation but remains a silent witness.
Prakriti which is form, color and attributes, is the divine creative will that dances the dance of creation. Prakruti is the One that becomes many. Purusha is the lover, Prakriti is the beloved. Creation of this universe happens through their love. All of nature is the child born of the womb of Prakriti, the Divine Mother.
In the manifestation of nature form Prakruti, the first expression is MAHAD, intelligence or cosmic order. (In human beings it is referred to as Buddhi, intellect).
Next is Ahamkara or ego, the sense of self-identity, the center in our consciousness from which we think, act and react. Ahamkar expresses itself in three universal qualities: The three Gunas are Sattva, Rajas and Tamas
SATTVA is stability purity wakefullness essence clarity and light
RAJAS is dynamic movement and causes sensations feelings and emotions
TAMAS is the tendency toward inertia darkness ignorance and heaviness
Five Senses of Perception Five Senses of Action Five Elements
From the essence of SATTVA are born in mind, the five sense faculties and their organs
the solid state of matter, whose characteristic attribute is stability, fixity or rigidity. Earth is stable substance.
the liquid state of matter, whose characteristic attribute is flux. Water is substance without stability.
the power that can convert a substance from solid to liquid to gas or vice versa, increasing or decreasing the substance's relative order. Fire its form without substance and its characteristic attribute is transformation.
the gaseous state of matter, whose characteristic attribute is mobility or dynamism. Air is existence without form.
Space (Ether) attribute
the space in which events occur. Space has no physical existence, it exists only as the distances that separate matter.
PURUSHARTHAS The Four Life Goals
Microcosm and Macrocosm
Man, a creation of Cosmic Consciousness is considered to be a microcosm of the macrocosm that is the Universe. Whatever is present in the cosmos, the same is present in human beings. Man is a miniature of nature.
The Five Elements - Building Blocks with Nature
The concept of the five elements is one of the most fundamental in Ayurvedic science. These five elements (space, air, fire, water, and earth) exist in all matters, both organic and inorganic. As man is a microcosm of nature, the five elements also exist within each individual. Our psychological tendencies, as well as our five senses and the various aspects of our body's functioning, are all directly related to the five elements. According to Ayurveda, the five elements manifest sequentially, beginning with space, from the pure, unified, unmanifested Cosmic Consciousness that is the source of all.
Sometimes referred to as "ether", space is - empty - light - subtle - all-pervading - omnipresent - all-enclosing - universal - non-moving and - formless. It appears when the pure unmanifest consciousness begins to vibrate and is associated with sound and the sense of hearing. We need space in order to - live - move - grow and - communicate. Space in the body include the - mouth - nose - gastrointestinal tract - respiratory tract - abdomen and - thorax. Psychologically, space gives - freedom - peace and - expansion of consciousness and is responsible for - love - compassion - feelings of separation - isolation - emptiness - ungroundedness - insecurity - anxiety and - fear.
Air is - dry - light - clear and - mobile. The second manifestation of consciousness, air moves in space. Air is electrical energy - the electron moves because of the air element. It is - formless but it can be - perceived by touch to which it is related. The principle of movement, air expresses itself in the - movement of the muscles - pulsations of the heart - expansion and contraction of the lungs. Sensory and neural impulses move to and from the brain under the influence of the air principle, which is also responsible for - breathing - ingestion - movement of the intestines and - elimination. The flow of - thoughts - desire and - will are governed by the air principle, which gives us - happiness - freshness - joy and - excitation. It is along with space, also responsible for - fear - anxiety - insecurity and - nervousness.
Fire is - hot - dry - sharp - penetrating and - luminous. When air begins to move, it produces friction, which generates heat or fire. Fire is radiant energy. On the atomic level, the atom radiates heat and light in the form of a quantum wave. Fire is - active and - changeable. In our solar system, the sun is the source of fire and light. In the body, our biological "fire" in the solar plexus regulates body temperature and metabolism: - digestion - absorption and - assimilation. Fire is associated with - light and - vision. Fire is - intellegence. It is necessary for - transformation - attention - comprehension - appreciation - recognition and - understanding. Fire is also responsible for - anger - hatred - envy - criticsism - ambition and - competitiveness.
without it, our cells could not survive. Water is - contentment - love and - compassion. It creates - thirst - edema and - obesity.
Earth is - heavy - hard - rough - firm - dense - slow-moving and - bulky the most solid of the five elements. It is neither hot nor cold. Earth is mechanical or physical energy. According to Ayurveda, it its nothing but crystallized or solidified consciousness. It gives - strength - structure and - stamina to the body. All the body's solid structures - bones - cartilage - nails - teeth - hair and - skin are derived from the earth element. Earth is associated with the - sense of smell. It promotes - foregiveness - support - groundedness and - growth. It also creates - attachment - greed and - depression and its absence produces feeling of -ungroundedness. In our body, the electrical energy of the neuron becomes the physical energy of the movement of muscles, mediated through the neurotransmitter, which is chemical.
Five elements are present in every single cell
All five elements are present o every level of our physiology , starting with a single cell. Within the cell, - the cell membrane is earth - cellular vacuoles are space - cytoplasm is water - nucleic acid and other chemical components are fire and - movement of the cell is due to the air principle. Every single cell also has - mind - intelligence and - consciousness through which it manifests selectivity and choice. From all the possible nutrients in its environment, every cell chooses its own food / that choices intelligence at work.
Forever Changing and Shifting of Elements
Both in our outer environment and within us, the proportion and balance of these elements is forever shifting, changing with the - season - weather - time of day - stage of life. For health and often for sheer survival, we have to continuously accommodate ourselves to the changes, through what - we eat - we wear - where we live and so on. This is a balancing act, playing elements against each other. - We use solid earth to build homes, - to protect ourselves against changes in air, - heat (fire) and - water. - We use fire to prepare food (made of water and earth).
The Three Doshas
The five great elements combine into three basic energies or functional principles, which are present, in varying degrees, in everything and everybody.
Unique Proportion or Balance of Vata, Pitta and Kapha - your constitution (Prakriti)
Each person has a particular pattern of energy, an individual combination of physical, mental and emotional characteristics that make up his or her constitution (Prakriti). Just as everyone has an individual fingerprint that can be identified by a trained practitioner, so everyone has an energy print - a balance or proportion of Vata, Pitta and Kapha - this is uniquely his or her own.
Vata is the energy of movement. Although it is the air principle, it is not considered the same as actual air in the external environment, but rather as the subtle energy that governs biological movement. Vata is intimately relatated to our vital life essence, known as PRANA. Prana is the pure essence of Vata. It is the life-force, the play of intelligence. That flow of intelligence is necessary for communication between two cells, and it maintains the life function of both. On a cosmic level, prana is said to be the attraction between PURUSHA and PRAKRITI. As the principle of mobility, Vata regulates all activity in the body, both mantel and physiological. It is responsible for - breathing - the blinking of our eyes - the beating of our hearts and - all movement in the cytoplasm and cell membranes. All the impulses in the vast networks of our nervous system are governed by Vata. When Vata is in balance, it promotes - creativity - flexibility and - evokes feelings of freshness - lightness - happiness and - joy. Out of balance, Vata produces - fear - nervousness - anxiety - even tremors and - spasms Vata is - dry - light - cold - subtle - clear - mobile and - dispersing. Vata triggers catabolism, the necessary deterioration process in which lager molecules are broken down into smaller ones. Vata, the principle of movement, moves both Pitta and Kapha, which are immobile. Thus when Vata is out of balance, it influences and disturbed the other doshas. The majority of illness have aggravated Vata at their source.
Pitta is translated as fire, but this is not meant literally. Rather, it is the principle of fire, energy of heating or metabolism. Pitta governs all the biochemical changes that take place within our bodies, regulating - digestion - absorption - assimilation - body temperature From the standpoint of modern biology, Pitta comprises the enzymes and amino acids that play a major role in metabolism. Pitta regulates body temperature through the chemical transformation of food. It promotes - appetite and - vitality. Not only food is metabolized by us. Every impression coming in from the outside is also processed or "digested" and made a part of us. Thus Pitta when in balance promotes - intellegence and - understanding and is crucial in - learning. Out-of-balance Pitta may arise fierce emotions such as - frustration - anger - hatred - criticism and - jealousy. Pitta is - hot - sharp - light - oily - liquid - pungent - sour and - spreading. Pitta regulates metabolism, which is digestion and absorption.
Kapha combines water and earth. It is the energy that forms the body's structure, the glue that holds the cells together. Kapha also supplies the liquid needed for the life of our cells and bodily systems. It - lubricates our joints - moisturizes the skin - helps to heal wounds and - maintains immunity. Kapha provides - strength - vigor and - stability. Psychologically, excess Kapha is responsible for the emotions of - attachment - greed - lust and - envy. When Kapha is in balance it expresses itself in tendencies toward - love - calmness and - forgiveness. The qualities of Kapha include - heavy - slow - cool - oily - damp - smooth - soft - static - viscous and - sweet. Kapha promotes anabolism, the process of building up the body, the growth and creation of new cells as well as cell repair.
The whole of life's journey is divided into three major milestones.
The 20 Qualities - An Important Key to Healing
This is an important aspect of Ayurvedic theory, which will help to make intelligent choices for self-healing. Ayurveda delineates twenty fundamental qualities, which appear in ten pairs: