What is Ayurveda?
Ayur — ‘life’
Veda — ‘science’ or ‘knowledge’
Ayurveda is an ancient system for living well.
It takes a holistic approach to bring our physical and mental selves into balance, responding to the constant changes within us and our environment, from shifting seasons to fluctuating hormones.
Ayurveda is thousands of years old, and its principles cover a lot of ground, but much of it is common sense and rooted in natural ingredients and methods. It’s likely that if you’re interested in wellness you’re probably already practicing some Ayurvedic methods without realising it. Meditating, eating dinner early in the evening, practicing yoga, using turmeric to aid digestion — these are all part of Ayurvedic teaching.
Ayurveda is not simply an ‘alternative’ therapy for healing and wellness. Elements of it can be easily and flexibly introduced into your lifestyle or combined with western medicine to promote better overall health and a sense of balance.
Where do I start?
• By understanding the basic principles of Ayurveda. These are:
• Strive for balance, not perfection
• Treat the mind and body as a whole
• Preventing ailments is better than curing them
• Nature knows best
• Treat the root cause, not the symptom
• Every individual is different
Nature is a goldmine of ingredients and techniques with medicinal value if we know where to look and how to use them. As the world has modernised, humans have lost this basic connection with nature, and Ayurveda helps us to restore that, building a happier, healthier you.
Ayurvedic doctors go to great lengths to learn about your physical and mental make-up, which provides clues to the root causes of any issues or imbalances you might be experiencing or be prone to experiencing in the future. They then use this information to treat the root cause, prevent future ailments and make lifestyle recommendations for improved overall wellness.
Ayurvedic methods include…
Herbal remedies in the form of Ayurvedic supplements and tablets
Tailored recommendations for a healthy diet
Daily routines and rituals
Yoga, meditation and breathwork
Ayurvedic massage or aromatherapy
What are the Ayurvedic Doshas, and which Dosha am I?
In Ayurveda, we strive for balance between three main forces:
Kapha — the Earthy one
Pitta — the Fiery one
Vata — the Airy one
We call these ‘Doshas’, and they are driven by the elements: air, fire, water, earth and space. We all have the three Doshas present in our physical and psychological make-up to some degree, but it is our most dominant Dosha that makes us who we are.
Kapha is grounded and steady, with smooth skin and hair. Pitta is fiery, quick and passionate. Vata is light, creative and prone to dryness. Understanding your primary Dosha and its characteristics is the first step to achieving that inner balance that helps us to perform at our best.
Find out what your primary Dosha is by taking our quiz.
What is the history of Ayurvedic Science?
With 5000 years behind it, Ayurveda is the world’s oldest healing system, with its roots in ancient Indian civilisation. Over those millennia its methods and principles have been tried, tested and fine-tuned on millions of human beings.
More recently, modern science has given us proof of many of its principles. Ayurveda can be thought of as a sister-science to yoga: both were born from the same ancient Indian texts, known as The Vedas.
How can Ayurveda help me?
By gaining a better understanding of your physical and mental workings and the way that they are impacted by changes in your internal and external environment, Ayurvedic methods can help you to achieve a state of balance that allows you to perform at your best.
Ayurveda teaches that what you need changes in response to other factors in your life, like the weather, seasons, life events, hormonal fluctuations and more. Through this, Ayurvedic supplements and practices take a holistic approach to help you to sleep better, improve your focus and concentration, aid digestion and gut health, stay healthy, and get the most out of your daily routine.
Ayurveda is complementary to western medicine, and elements of it can integrate seamlessly into your life. Our Ayurvedic Starter Kit is an easy way to encorporate the benefits of Ayurveda into daily life.
What’s the Science behind Ayurveda?
Ayurveda has been used for 5000 years to treat all sorts of human conditions from difficulty sleeping, a weak immune system, to trouble with digestion. More recently, researchers have found scientific proof to back up many Ayurvedic principles.
There have been countless research papers published on the medical performance of Ayurvedic herbs — especially Ashwagandha, which lists at least 12 benefits backed by science from increasing energy and reducing anxiety to lowering cholesterol. Turmeric is another great example that’s become well-known for its anti-inflammatory powers after being used for thousands of years by followers of Ayurveda.
Ayurveda has always taught that problems in the gut cause issues around the rest of the mind and body, so by maintaining a healthy gut we can increase our overall wellbeing. Modern neuroscientists have shown that the cells in the gut are directly connected with those in the brain, and so there are confirmed links between gut health and mental health.
And meditation - a fundamental part of Ayurveda - is commonly recommended (or even prescribed) by healthcare practitioners today not only to improve mental health (its effects rival those of antidepressants) but overall wellbeing, since scientists have found evidence for physical changes to the brain as a result of meditation.
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