Ayurveda is a Lifestyle more than anything else. Ayurveda, the science of life, prevention and longevity is categorized as an alternative system of medicine but it is more than that. It has its historical roots in the Indian subcontinent.
The word Ayurveda is derived from the Sanskrit word – Ayur: which means life and Veda: wisdom, knowledge – so its literal meaning can be “knowledge or science of life.” The teachings are based on Hinduism and therefore spirituality is an important part of the belief system. But like yoga, you can practice it without believing in all of the underlying philosophy. In fact, Ayurveda has great practical value, with wonderful recommendations in both prevention and healing that compliment our western medicine.
The basic principle in Ayurveda is that the universe is composed of five elements:
This is a common theme throughout the natural religions. Just as everything we find in the universe is made up of these five elements, health depends on their balance, both within ourselves and in nature.
Ayurveda consists of preventive and curative therapies as well as different methods of purification and rejuvenation, which produce longevity, using natural resources from our environment. This isn’t so far off base from other types of relaxation that we already know. Who among us hasn’t sat down with a hot mug of herbal tee?
Just the act of general care and maintaining our bodies offers healthy benefits which translates as “lifestyle in accordance with one’s own nature”. That quote is important because at the heart that is what Ayurveda is all about. You see, a lifestyle according to one’s own bodily characteristics provides vitality without imposing expectation on the person that would otherwise be, too much. Not everybody should or can run a marathon. It involves knowing our limitations and applying that knowledge to a selection of appropriate nutrition, habits and physical and mental exercise that compensate for imbalances in body and mind; thus keeping us healthier. How many of you have heard from your doctor that you need to loose weight and exercise?
The lifestyle contains some basic principles among them are:
- Everything in the universe, whether it possesses a soul or not, is connected.
- Every human being is composed of elements found in the universe.
- Every human being is born in complete harmony and balance with the universe and himself.
- This balance is disturbed throughout life. The causes can be physical, mental or emotional or a combination of these. Imbalance weakens the body and makes the organism prone to disease.
- When human relationships in the closest circle are effective and beneficial, health is improved.
- Diseases appear when we are not in harmony.
Therefore to “live in Ayurveda” is to live in harmony, it is to live according to our own nature, to the basic elements that compose us. Of course you don’t need to believe in any of this to see that some of what is said is a core component in living a happy healthy life. Find a balance that works for you.
* As you have already read, I don’t believe that this is an all cure. Some magic-thinking that claims that it is the cure for everything. It isn’t. And it isn’t a replacement for actual medicine, some treat it like one but that is their prerogative, this isn’t an argument for that. With that said, it can provide some benefits when treat reasonably, just like yoga has health benefits. I see it as a means to progress without trying to fit into somebody else’s mold. To re-state what I have already said: “…a lifestyle according to one’s own bodily characteristics… .”