What is Ayurveda?

What is Ayurveda? 

ayurvedic doctor

As much as we discuss the negative impacts use of the internet can have on our wellbeing, we also celebrate the advantages it can bring us. One of those benefits has been greatly noticed over the last year as our travel has been so restricted. The internet has provided us with a space to learn about other cultures from historic points through to traditions still carried out today. Something that piqued our interest was Ayurveda. 

Ayurveda is the ancient Indian system of medicine. Regarded as the science of life, this practice includes aspects of diet, exercise and lifestyle that promote wellbeing in preventing illness. The concept of this is so that illnesses don’t happen and then don’t need treatment. This holistic approach brings the mind and body together as a whole in combination with natural remedies. 

Ayurveda means “The Science of Life.” Ayurvedic knowledge originated in India more than 5,000 years ago and is often called the “Mother of All Healing.” 

Vasant Lad, BAM&S, MASc 

ayurveda

The Ayurveda Concepts: Prakruti and Doshas 

Prakruti refers to the specific state in which we are born and this is something that stays with us for our entire lives. It is the unique makeup each of us have individually, a combination of physiological and physical characteristics unlike anyone else's and this is what affects how each of us function. 

Our underlying prakruti remains the same throughout our life, however it is affected by influences from internal, external and environmental factors. This includes things like our diets, how we exercise, our choices for our lifestyle and even how the seasonal changes throughout the year impact us. 

earth, air, fire, water

The three qualities taught in Ayurveda are called doshas. Each one forms characteristics of our overall prakruti. These three qualities are referred to as kapha, vata and pitta. These are constantly moving and linked directly with our interactions, food choices and activity levels. Each dosha is comprised of two of the five basic elements, including, space, air, fire, water and earth. The balance of these qualities is believed to be how this ancient traditional type of medicine prevents illness and promotes wellbeing. 

Kapha 

Those who have a favour in their constitution towards kapha are the least likely to fall out of alignment. This dosha is representative of the earth and features strength in fertility. This balance includes groundness, tranquility and peacefulness. Often those who resonate most with kapha have great mobility through their joints, have a disliking to cold weather and are larger in stature. They can often find it difficult to lose weight but have big, beautiful eyes. When in alignment, kapha balance includes elements of stability, strength, generosity and calmness. When out of alignment these people feel sluggish, have low moods, feel as though their weight is a problem and can feel greedy. 

Pitta 

Those who’s balance falls more in favour of pitta are those of a medium build, with pinker complexions and an appetite for life. This fire symbol is with those who have a hunger for knowledge and success. Often with perfectionist traits this leads to an exceptional eye for detail. When aligned there's strength, hunger, intelligence and contementant. But, when not aligned there's a tendency to be over critical, sometimes feverish, anger and over competitiveness. 

Vata 

Vata is the dosha for those with a varied appetite. Often an inability to maintain weight and either very short or very tall. The quickest of movers and exceptionally fast thinkers, they may have a short attention span and struggle to remember things. When aligned, this light air dosha exudes enthusiasm, alertness, flexibility and sleeps soundly. Out of alignment can lead to anxiety, feeling spacey, experiencing insomnia and unsettled digestion. 

“The ayurvedic rule in treatment is to treat Vata like a flower, Pitta like a friend and Kapha like an enemy.” 

― David Frawley 

ayurvedic head massage

Yoga for your Type: An Ayurvedic Approach to Your Asana Practice 

We all have a part of each of these dosha in our constitution, our uniqueness is how much of each we have and which favours over the other. One person's balance will be completely different to another. To bring Ayurveda into our lives we can balance these doshas by looking at our diet, exercise and lifestyle and making positive changes. 

ayurvedic food

How to bring Ayurveda into your life 

  1. Daily routine 

After reading through how the doshas influence various parts of our lives it’s clear that throughout the day, they’ll be experienced in different ways. Therefore the importance of a daily routine can make a huge difference to levels of productivity, remaining calm and managing appetite.

  1. Planning nourishing meals 

Fluctuating from those who struggle with food from craving too much to not wanting any, the things we feed our body make a huge difference to how we can help prevent illnesses. We can build strength for our body and mind by making positive nutritional choices. If you’re wanting to go all in and do more than just take some of the key principles, you can try the Ayurveda diet that works in harmony with your dosha. 

  1. Focus on activity 

Each dosha has its own type of stimulation but all need movement. Kapha are renowned for steady but strong exercising with great stamina i.e football, long-distance running or dance. With a competitive nature pitta succeeds in challenging sports like skiing, tennis or mountain biking. In vata, the enthusiastic bursts they have can make it more difficult to find motivation for endurance sports but they excel in grounding exercises like yoga which all continue to add to our individual improvement. 

ayurveda

There are many online resources for learning more about the Ayurveda practice. There are also many practitioners who can help to identify individuals' constitutions and help guide them on a nourishing path to help their balance of the elements and doshas. What we love most about this ancient way of living is the depth of understanding of our internal makeup and the concept of working with this to keep us happy and healthy.

darren cooper

Ayurveda & Made By Coopers

Ayurveda is an important part of the beginning of Made By Coopers. 'It was during their time at an Ayurvedic centre in India, that they had an idea to start a their wellness brand.' Click here to learn more about Made By Coopers and how founder's Clare and Darren were inspired by the Ayurvedic philosophy to treat the mind and body as a whole.

written by remy harman

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