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Basic Principles of Ayurveda

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Feb 9, 2017

   3 min     


Ayurveda is a wellness practice that originated in India and is about 5,000 years old. The word "Ayurveda" is a combination of two Sanskrit words that mean life (Ayur) and science (Veda), so the literal translation of Ayurveda is "the science of life." Ayurvedic medicine (“Ayurveda” for short) is one of the world's oldest holistic (“whole-body”) healing systems. To lead a balanced and healthy lifestyle, it is important to ensure your doshas are in balance. 

The 5 Elements in Ayurveda are:

  • Earth, the principle of inertia

  • Water, the principle of cohesion

  • Fire, the principle of radiance

  • Wind, the principle of vibration

  • Ether, the principle of the pervasiveness

Current knowledge about Ayurveda is mostly drawn from relatively later writings, primarily the Caraka Samhita (approximately 1500BC), the Ashtang Hrdyam (approximately 500 AD), and the Sushrut Samhita (300 - 400AD). These three classics describe the basic principles of Ayurveda book and theories from which Ayurveda has evolved according to Ayurvedic theory, everyone is made of a combination of five elements: Earth, Wind, Water, Fire, and Ether. These elements combine in the body to form three energies or life forces, called doshas: Vata, Kapha, and pitta. 

Vata Dosha

The Vata dosha is in charge of all movements that take place in both the mind and body. This includes blood flow, breathing, thoughts, and elimination of waste products. Keeping Vata in balance is important as it is considered to be the leader of the three principles.

What does Vata govern?

  • Prana- Your senses, creativity, thinking and reasoning abilities

  • Udana- Memory power, thought process and movements, voice quality

  • Samana- The movement of food through the tract during digestion

  • Apana- Menstrual cycle, sexual activities, and waste elimination

  • Vyana- A sense of touch, blood flow, heartbeats, and perspiration.

Pitta dosha

This dosha governs all metabolic and transformational activities in the mind and body. The functions include digestion, metabolizing sensory perception, heat/fires within the body and ability to differentiate between right and wrong.

What does Pitta govern?

  • Alochaka- Functioning of eyes

  • Bhrajaka- Healthy, glowing skin

  • Sadhaka- Desire, spirituality, decision making

  • Pachaka- Digestion, and metabolism

  • Ranjaka- Healthy blood

Kapha dosha

The structure and lubrication of the mind and body are controlled by Kapha dosha. It is responsible for the control overweight, growth, tissue formation and lubrication of lungs and joints.

What does Kapha govern?

  • Tarpaka- Moisture content in the nose, eyes, mouth, and brain

  • Bhodaka- The ability to taste

  • Kledaka- Keeping the stomach lining moisturized for digestion

  • Avalambaka- Strengthens and protects muscles, lungs, and heart

  • Shleshaka- Soft skin and lubricated joints

Ayurvedic eating principles

An Ayurvedic diet is an eating plan that provides guidelines for when you eat, what you eat, and how you eat to boost your health, prevent or manage the disease, and maintain wellness. The diet is based on Indian Ayurvedic wellness systems that date back thousands of years.

Vata- Foods to Eat

  • Sweet fruit such as cooked apples or cherries

  • Cooked vegetables like asparagus or beets

  • Grains including quinoa or rice

  • Red lentils

  • Dairy products (in moderation)

  • Beef

  • Eggs

  • Fish

  • Black pepper

  • Coriander leaves

  • Vinegar

  • Peanuts and pecans

  • Chia or flax seeds

  • Beer or white wine

  • Sesame oil and ghee

Pitta- Foods to Eat

  • Raisins

  • Watermelon

  • Sweet or bitter vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower

  • Dry cereal

  • Pasta

  • Black beans

  • Unsalted butter

  • Chicken (white meat)

  • Egg whites

  • Almonds

  • Beer

  • Dry white wine

  • Coconut

Kapha- Foods to Eat

  • Astringent fruit like applesauce or prunes

  • Pungent or bitter vegetables like celery or carrots

  • Granola

  • Polenta

  • Lima beans

  • Buttermilk

  • Cottage cheese

  • Shrimp

  • Turkey

  • Dry red or white wine

Ayurveda looks upon the human being as an indivisible and mutually interconnected complex of body, vital energy, mind, and soul. It does not focus on symptoms themselves, but mostly on the causes of psychosomatic imbalance, which precedes every disease. Ayurveda (the science of life) is one of the branches of Vedas. It is regarded as Upaveda of Rigveda or Atharva-Veda but, really speaking, it is a stream of the knowledge coming down from generation to generation since eternity parallel to the Vedic literature that is why its emergence has been said to be from the creator (Brahma) himself before the creation. It is called eternal because nobody knows when it was not there. All this shows its long tradition and deep attachment to the Indian culture.

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