Ever since I was introduced to Ayurveda, I’ve been hooked. Learning more about doshas and energy imbalances while at Wanderlust (the yoga festival) helped me to realize that I needed to move from the East Coast and that the stagnant energy of where I was living was affecting my health. As soon as I took steps to relocate everything shifted back to optimal. The wonderful thing about Ayurveda is that it emphasizes the bio-individuality or uniqueness of every being and takes into consideration the whole person, mind, body, and spirit.
Ayurveda is the traditional system of medicine that originates from India and has the goal of maintaining health and preventing the onset of disease. This is system is personalized and considered a macro-explanatory model for disease because it takes into consideration the whole person being treated along with environmental factors. Ayurveda is based on three entities called doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha. The doshas help to explain the makeup of the body along with the temperaments of individuals for the purpose of understanding balance and imbalance. Ayurveda is based on energies of the elements including: fire, air, ether, water and earth; and each dosha corresponds to one or more of the element energies. Every single person at birth comes into the world with a specific makeup of these doshas that is fixed, and referred to as Prakriti. One’s Prakriti is the most important factor in ayurvedic medicine because it determines the treatment plan for each individual. Optimal health is achieved when there is optimal functioning of the doshas and the interactions between them to maintain balance in the body. Proper elimination, clear thinking, proper functioning of sensory organs, and a peaceful mind are also considered signs of good health.
Diagnosis of disease in the ayurvedic system is holistic involves examination of the manifestations of disease, subtypes of disease, and severity of condition. Development and progression of disease within Ayurveda, is explained by deviations or imbalances in the doshas. Imbalances of the doshas can be caused by a range of external or internal stressors including: environmental conditions, nutritional deficiencies, physical stress, or emotional turbulence. Treatment of any condition is highly personalized and includes parameters for overall health, diet, digestion, immunity, and response to environmental factors. Ayurveda also takes into consideration six tastes: bitter, sweet, sour, pungent, astringent, and bitter. These can be used to determine dietary changes or herbal treatments that also help to counteract imbalances. Herbs may be used in tandem with manual treatments, massage, dietary and lifestyle advice, nutritional supplements, and yoga to restore balance. If you are experiencing a health challenge that seems to be a impossible to diagnose, or if you just want to try a different perspective, Ayurveda may offer you interesting new insights. -XoXo Raw Girl
Sumantran, V., & Tillu, G. (2013). Insights on Personalized Medicine from Ayurveda. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 19(4), 370-375.
Iyer, J. (2013, July 1). The Goal of Ayurvedic Treatment. Tampa Bay Wellness, 7-7.