Ayurveda 101: Your Complete Introduction to the World of Traditional Holistic Medicine

Ayurveda 101: Your Complete Introduction to the World of Traditional Holistic Medicine
Ayurveda encourages use of herbs and essential oils.

Ayurveda is a way of living and a holistic healing system. Here are some tips to keep in mind if you're new to Ayurveda.

Written by Editorial Team |Updated : September 15, 2023 2:31 PM IST

If you've ever done yoga or explored alternative medicine, you've probably heard of Ayurveda. This Indian style of natural medicine has been practised for over 5,000 years. The terms "Ayur," which means life, and "Veda," which means wisdom, are the roots of the word "Ayurveda."

Ayurveda is a way of living and a medical system that teaches us how to live in perfect health and harmony with ourselves and the rest of the world. The use of herbs and essential oils is encouraged, and it also comes with a unique set of dietary recommendations.

The Five Elements of Ayurveda

According to Ayurveda, the five elements of ether, air, fire, water, and earth are combined to create everything we can see, hear, touch, smell, taste, and experience. However, the names Vata, Pitta, and Kapha which, respectively, allude to the elements of air, fire, and earth are also used in Ayurveda.

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Each person is made up of distinct combinations of these elements. Typically, one or both will predominate more, based on your personality and behaviour. A person with greater vigour and endurance typically possesses more fire energy, whereas a slower but more steady person possesses more earth energy. The air element is more prevalent in someone who moves more quickly. These factors fluctuate constantly throughout our lives, either gaining or losing importance based on our way of life, attitude, activities, and environment.

Additionally, our minds include various psychic forces or elements known as gunas. Rajas (activity), Tamas (inertia), and Sattva (balancing) are the three gunas. We transition from one guna to another as our daily thinking alters. We aim to express something that falls between the three gunas for a balanced viewpoint.

Any activity you engage in shifts the gunas and influences your thinking. For example, watching an action movie would energise the mind and make it more rajasic, whereas spending three hours on the couch will weigh the mind down and make it more tamasic.

"A mind that is balanced (or sattvic) results from having the proper ratio of rajas and tamas."

When we are born, we have a particular personality and unique nature known as Prakriti. Our specific preferences are derived from this particular character. According to Ayurveda, this particular character doesn't significantly alter over the course of our lives. We will have the answers to a lot of our queries about our relationships and our health if we can come to comprehend its nature. Being aware of "who we are" can profoundly change your life. You may make thoughtful, healthy decisions based on an inner understanding of who you are as a person by researching yourself.

Some tips to keep in mind if you're new to Ayurveda

Knowing which elements make up the majority of your body will help you make decisions that will keep you balanced.

Get enough stimulation but also take breaks from it to maintain mental equilibrium. For optimal health, the mind needs both.

Take the time to comprehend your genuine nature and the factors that govern your thinking so that you can design your lifestyle around your personality and unique set of skills.

The article is written by Ashish Thakur, CEO, Birla Healthcare Ayurveda.

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