Ayurveda, literally translated as the “Science of life,” is considered to be the mother of all healing. It can also be described as ‘the way of living with awareness and promoting longevity.’ Ayurveda focuses on preventing disease and optimizing vitality. Ayurveda deals with life in all its aspects; physical health, mental balance, and spiritual well-being. It also takes into account social welfare, dietary and lifestyle habits, seasonal variations and environmental factors. Our internal environment also reflects our external environment and visa versa.
The secrets that the ancients Ayurvedic texts have revealed are methods in which we can come to know ourselves and bring ourselves into balance. Being in a balanced state brings us our highest potential. The heart of Ayurveda lies in the principle that the entire world is composed of the five basic elements, ether (space), air, fire, water, and earth. Everything, organic and inorganic, is made up a combination of these five elements. Thus, each individual has a unique constitution made up of a combination of the forms and functions of these five elements called doshas:
Vata(ether+air) Pitta(fire+water) Kapha (water+earth)
Vata shares the qualities of ether and air in that it is cold, light, dry, rough, mobile, subtle, clear and bitter. Vata is responsible for all movement in the body. It governs the flow of breath, elimination of wastes, regulation of nervous system. Vata stimulates the function of the intellect and the expression of speech. It is associated with creativity.
Pitta's qualities are pungent, hot, penetrating, greasy, oily, sharp, liquid, and sour. It is the force of metabolic activity in the body and its primary function is transformation. It governs digestion, hormone levels, skin quality, hunger, thirst, and body temperature. Pitta is also associated with mental understanding and the digestion of sensory impressions. It is associated with knowledge.
The qualities of Kapha are oily, cool, heavy, stable, smooth, and sweet. Kapha is stable and grounded like the earth. It governs the sense of smell, nourishment, and growth. Physically, Kapha is associated with lubrication and structure. Kapha is the energy of compassion and contentment. It is associated with memory.