The word 'Ayurveda' is derived from two words - Ayur meaning life and Veda meaning knowledge" or "science". So the literal meaning of the word Ayurveda is "The science of life". Life or Ayus, according to Ayurveda, is a combination of senses, mind, body and soul. So Ayurveda does not just limit itself to the body or physical symptoms, but also provides comprehensive knowledge about spiritual, mental and emotional health. Ayurveda is based on a theory of balance between the body (physical), the soul (spiritual) and mind (psychological). And best of all, it is inexpensive, easy to learn and apply. Ayurveda teaches how to maintain this balance. As long as we can maintain this balance we are healthy and when there is imbalance there is disease, unhappiness and misery. This confirms that Ayurveda is a complete way of life
A Person is seen in Ayurveda as a unique individual made up of five primary elements. These elements are :--
The elements combine with Ether and Air in dominence to form what is known in Ayurveda as Vata Dosha. Vata governs the principle of movement.
The elements with Fire and Water in dominence combine to form the Pitta Dosha. The Pitta Dosha is responsible for the process of transformation or metabolism.
Finally, it is predominantly the water and earth elements which combine to form the Kapha Dosha.
We are all made up of unique proportions of Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Ayurveda gives us a model to
look at each individual as a unique makeup of the three doshas and to
thereby design treatment protocols that specifically address a persons
health challenges. When any of the doshas become accumulated, Ayurveda
will suggest specific lifestyle and nutritional guidelines to assist
the individual in reducing the dosha that has become excessive. Also
herbal medicines will be suggested, to cure the imbalance and the
Understanding this main principle of Ayurveda, it offers us an explanation as to why one person responds differently to a treatment or diet than another and why persons with the same disease might yet require different treatments and medications.
Other important basic
principles of Ayurveda which are briefly mentioned here are:
Dhatus- These are the basic tissues which maintain and nourish the body. They are seven in number namely- rasa (chyle), raktha (blood), mamsa (muscles), meda (fatty tissue), asthi(bone), majja (marrow) and sukla (reprodutive tissue). Proper amount of each dhatu and their balanced function is very important for good health
Mala- These are the
waste materials produced as a result of various metabolic activities
in the body. They are mainly urine, feaces, sweat etc.
Srotas- Proper functioning of srotas is necessary for transporting different materials to the site of their requirement. Blockage of srotas causes many diseases.
Agni- These are different types of enzymes responsible for digestion and transforming one material to another.