RESOURCES & INFORMATION
A sister science to Yoga, Ayurveda emerged from the sacred texts of ancient India, known as the Vedas, or “Books of Wisdom.” These date back at least five thousand years and are widely regarded as humanity’s oldest literature.
As a completely universal body of wisdom, Ayurvedic practices are as relevant today as they were 5000 years ago. Ayurvedic principles can be woven into any culture or time period, because they are rooted in the laws and cycles of Mother Nature.
According to Ayurveda, health is not a state defined by lab tests or yearly check ups. Health is a continuous and participatory process that embraces all aspects of life: physical, mental, emotional, behavioral, spiritual, familial, social, and universal. Achieving balance on all levels of being is the true measure of vibrant health. The average person and standardized treatment simply do not exist in Ayurvedic medicine. Every individual is a one-of-a-kind with an equally unique blueprint for health. By providing a universal framework for understanding these blueprints, Ayurveda teaches us to honor and support our true individual natures.
The underlying prescription of Ayurvedic medicine is quite simple: Stay in rhythm with the laws of nature, recognize the power of self-healing within, and you will become your own greatest doctor!
"Doshas" in Ayurveda refer to your unique physical and mental constitution, which influence your personal well-being. Each person has their own dominant dosha or combination of two or three of these elemental forces. Knowing yours can help you maintain balance through seasonal changes for lasting health and peace of mind. The Doshas are made up of the primal elements earth, water, fire, air, and space. They are the life energies behind all of our bodily functions. Each one commands a specific force in the body and is associated with certain qualities.
The interaction of these three fundamental forces gives rise to the five elements of nature: Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth and then the three doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—the building blocks of creation. Vata Dosha is composed of space & air. Pitta Dosha is composed water and fire. Kapha Dosha is composed of earth and water. The three doshas exist and function in EVERYTHING, both in the world around us and in our mind and body.
Vata is composed of the elements (Mahabhutas): space & air
Appetite: Variable, with little consistency from one day to the next
Digestion: Poor, with variable digestive capacity
Stool: Hard, dry, dark, prone to constipation
Urine: Light in Color, Frequent Urination
Menstruation: Irregular cycles with severe cramping and scanty blood flow
Movement: Cramping or spastic movements
Physical Activity: Addicted to movement
Sexual Activity: Wide variation in sexual desire or loss of desire
Sleep: Light or prone to insomnia
Voice: Weak, tires easily, prone to hoarseness
Speech: Fast, erratic
Skin: Dry, flaky
Hair: Dry, brittle
Body Type: Light build, thin; handshake: cold, thin, weak
Psychology in Balance: Enthusiastic, vivacious, talkative
Psychology out of Balance: Anxious, fearful, nervous, unstable
Foods that aggravate: Cold, raw, rough (salads), dry foods (beans), light foods (popcorn)
Foods that pacify: Warm, unctuous (oily), heavy
Season: Fall, early winter
Time of day: 2-6 AM or PM
Location in physiology: Colon, joints, inside of bones, nervous system
Major functions in physiology: Movement, transportation, communication
Common Vata Disorders:
· High or low blood pressure
· Cracking or popping joints
· Bladder/urinary disorders
· Muscle stiffness
· Headaches (tension)
· Dry skin
· Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
· Gas and bloating
· Premature aging
· Chronic fatigue
· Food allergies
Vata is like the wind: It gives rise to all movement in the universe. Inside us, it is connected to the nervous system and anywhere there is bodily motion—even the movement of our thoughts. The main qualities of vata are moving, light, subtle, changing, quick, and dry.
Pitta is composed of the Mahabhutas: fire and water
flowing (but grounded)
Appetite: Too strong becomes irritable when skipping a meal
Digestion: Too strong digestion, easily aggravated by spicy foods
Stool: Soft, loose, burning, lighter in color; frequent bowel movements or diarrhea
Urine: Bright yellow, often in excess
Menstruation: Regular but may have heavy bleeding, longer period due to internal heat
Movement: Determined Stride
Physical Activity: Overdoes vigorous exercise and becomes too competitive at sports
Sexual Activity: Overly strong sexual appetite, too easily aroused
Sleep: Light, Early morning awakenings
Voice: Loud, often piercing:
Speech: Sharp and direct
Skin: Delicate, oily skin; prone to acne and rashes
Hair: Premature graying and hair loss common
Body type: Medium build, muscular
Handshake: Crushing grip, warm hand
Psychology in balance: intense, analytical, focused, generous, goal-oriented
Psychology out of Balance: Overly intense, manipulative, stubborn, jealous, egotistical
Foods that pacify: Cool, sweet, bitter and moist
Foods that aggravate: Hot, spicy (chilies, ginger), burning or acidic (vinegar, citrus)
Time of day: 10-2 AM or PM
Location in physiology: Liver, small intestine, skin
Major functions in the physiology: Digestion, metabolism, and transformation
Common Pitta Disorders:
· Hot flashes
· Skin rashes
· Canker sore
· Liver disorders
· Bad breath
· Bloodshot eyes
· Food allergies to nuts
· Excessive hunger and thirst
Pitta is like the sun: It governs all the heat and energy in the universe. In our bodies it is connected to metabolism and digestion. Sharp thinking is also a pitta function. Pitta is especially important for healthy blood and skin. The main qualities of pitta are hot, sharp, bright, energetic, slightly oily, and moist.
Kapha is composed of the elements (Mahabhutas): earth and water
Appetite: Not strong. Often not hungry when awakening
Digestion: Digestive fire often weak. Slow metabolism
Stool: Well-formed, often with an oily coat
Urine: White and foamy; infrequent elimination
Menstruation: Regular but prone to water retention and clotting
Movement: Slow and graceful
Physical Activity: Capable of vigorous activity but tends to avoid physical exertion
Sexual Activity: Steady desire for sex
Sleep: Deep sleep, often snores, feels rested upon awakening
Voice: Thick, melodious, low
Speech: Slow and deliberate
Skin: Oily, smooth cool
Hair: Thick, oily
Body type: Large build
Handshake: Soft puffy pillow
Psychology in balance: Jovial, sweet, loving, easy-going
Psychology out of Balance: Attached, greedy
Foods that pacify: Light, spicy (pungent), astringent
Foods that aggravate: Sweet, heavy (cheesecake), oily, substantial (meat=oily, heavy)
Season: Winter, early Spring
Time of day: 6-10 AM or PM
Location in physiology: Chest, low back
Function in physiology: Structure, strength (immunity), lubrication
Common Kapha Disorders:
· Colds and coughs
· Yeast conditions
· Lymphatic system disorders
· Water retention/bloating
· Sinus congestion (some types)
· Congestive heart failure
Kapha is like a mountain: It gives stability and structure to everything in the universe. In our physiology it is connected to the structure, strength, fat content, and moistness of the body. The main qualities of kapha are steady, stable, slow, unctuous, sweet, and wet.
The Healing Process &
Health Maintenance Principles
Healing is allowed. Create the proper conditions and healing occurs.
The Self heals itself by itself, just as the Self unfolds itself to itself by itself.
Health comes from hale or heilen to make whole again. Reconnecting to the Self and the intelligent organizing power of Almighty Nature is what heals. We just create the conditions for that to occur.
Ayurveda is for enlightenment. This means being 100% in tune with Nature. When each action is spontaneously in tune with Nature then no imbalance is created, no blockages are formed, no disease is possible. This is ultimate prevention.
Health is maintained when the connection to the underlying field of energy / intelligence is strong. Thus, the first recommendation for health maintenance and for preventive medicine must be meditation.
The process by which we heal is reconnecting, re-establshing flow, rebalancing and rejuvenating. This is the process of purification therapy, the process of panchakarma, and the process that is undertaken in any healing art.
Sleep is necessary because it allows the nervous system to contact the higher vibratory rates of consciousness and replenish and rejuvenate. It allows for the transformation of higher energies into physical, emotional, and mental energy. It is key to health.
Healing means reconnecting with the field of Wholeness out of which life arises. It means reuniting with that field of energy/intelligence that supports life and physical functioning.
Health maintenance involves all levels: spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical. Each must express and preserve ojas the lively energy of the physical. For this food and proper digestion are important.
All classical Ayurvedic recommendations for maintaining and promoting health are based on these principles.