The term Ayurveda is derived from the Sanskrit words ayur (life) and veda (science or knowledge). Thus, Ayurveda translates to knowledge or science of life.
This ancient science of healing dates back to over 5,000 years ago when the divine Rishis (or seers) were imparted with this beautiful knowledge of the body and mind during altered states of consciousness achieved through meditation. They passed the wisdom down orally for generations and it was finally recorded in a few great works called the Vedas. It is the history and the roots of something so long standing that I find the most compelling; knowledge that has been passed down and used for thousands of years, evolving with the ages yet rooted in timeless philosophy. Ayurveda and Yoga fit into this mold as sisters that form the branches of the same Vedic tree of knowledge. They are two very deep and rich sciences that delve into the human experience and help guide us to find union within our bodies and minds.
There is a way of life which is inherent to our true human nature. It is a life lived in harmony with nature’s rhythms; those of the sun, the moon, and the seasons; and one that honors our own unique reflection of the nature around us. It is the sadhana, or spiritual practice, of living in harmony with nature’s pulse that helps us to evoke this innate sense of physical, emotional and spiritual balance. This is the beauty of nature. This is meditation. This is Ayurveda. Ayurveda is your very nature. It is your natural state. Learning Ayurveda is being reborn into a way of being that is intimately connected to the elements, the seasons, Nature, the planets, plants, and all beings. Ayurveda is learning to live in a deeply connected way to the processes occurring within and around us at every moment.
Ayurveda simply reminds us of what we already know, but have perhaps forgotten. It points us towards our inherent freedom and all of the ways we can live more in accordance with the natural rhythms of life. Ayurveda returns us to Nature. Coming to the knowledge of Ayurveda is a rediscovery of the self and a remembering of our innate ability to care for and heal ourselves. It is a coming home.
Learning Ayurveda is being reborn into a way of being that is intimately connected to the elements, the seasons, Nature, the planets, plants, and all beings. Ayurveda recognizes that each individual has a unique constitution (Prakṛti,), and that corresponds to a natural state of harmony. Prakṛti is our true nature, our psychophysiological constitution and our unique bioindividual makeup. Our Prakṛti is established at the moment of conception and stays with us throughout the entirety our lives. It influences the shape and size of our body, our mental tendencies, our personality and sometimes even the work we do in this lifetime. The goal of Ayurveda is to come back to this natural state we are born with. Thus, disease is a deviation from Prakṛti, known in Ayurveda as Vikṛti. If disease is a deviation from our Nature, health is alignment.
The goal of Ayurveda is to restore the proper balance of these physiological forces through techniques of diet, lifetsyle, herbal supplementation and in turn bring a greater ease to our embodied lives. This is accomplished by various means, but especially focusing upon the wisdom of attuning one's senses properly and living a personal lifestyle aligned for health and wholeness.
Ahara (diet) and Vihara (lifestyle) Chikitsa are the foundational practices of Ayurvedic Medicine. Adopting healthy diet and lifestyle practices can realign us with the rhythms of nature and assist us in rediscovering the rhythms of our own bodies. Through these practices, one can become more attune to the body, mind and spirit while harnessing the intuition to move with the rhythms of the internal systems. By working with an Ayurvedic practitioner, you can begin to understand your individual constitution and receive insight to any present imbalances within the system. Employing Ayurvedic practices and guidances help to restore balance, and a client’s individualized protocol may receive diet and lifestyle recommendations, herbal formulas and kitchen medicines, yoga guidance and body therapies. Goals of treatment aid the person by eliminating impurities, reducing symptoms, increasing resistance to disease, reducing worry, and increasing harmony in life. Ayurveda gives us the ability to become part of the medicine.
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