Ayurveda, one of the world’s most sophisticated and powerful mind-body health systems
Five thousand years ago, the “sages of India” developed the art of Ayurveda and this system of natural healing, with its origins in the Vedic culture, “continues to be one of the world’s most sophisticated and powerful mind-body health systems” in use today. But it has endured because it is more than just a system for treating illness. Rather, Ayurveda is a science of life (Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge) and it helps people stay vibrant and healthy so they can best enjoy the life they’ve been given.
In the last couple of years, Ayurveda has seen a resurgence in interest, both in India and around the world. However, many people still know very little about it so we thought we’d explain a bit more about this ancient form of medicine.
Ayurveda recognizes that human beings are part of nature and “describes three fundamental energies that govern our inner and outer environments: movement, transformation, and structure.”These are known in Sanskrit as Vata (Wind), Pitta (Fire), and Kapha (Earth) and it is these “primary forces” that are responsible for the characteristics of our mind and body.
According to Dr. Deepak Chopra,
“The two main guiding principles of Ayurveda are 1) the mind and the body are inextricably connected, and 2) nothing has more power to heal and transform the body than the mind.
Freedom from illness depends upon expanding our own awareness, bringing it into balance, and then extending that balance to the body. This process isn’t as complicated as it may sound. For example, when you meditate you effortlessly enter a state of expanded awareness and inner quiet that refreshes the mind and restores balance.
Since the mind and body are inseparable, the body is naturally balanced through the practice of meditation. In the state of restful awareness created through meditation, your heart rate and breath slow, your body decreases the production of “stress” hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, and you increase the production of neurotransmitters that enhance wellbeing, including serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins.”
Now, here’s the thing, not everyone will agree on all aspects of this. In fact, because Ayurveda also tends to be popular among those of the Buddist or Hindu faith, some might want to automatically write it off altogether. However, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater just yet.
While Ayurveda teaches that for each element there is a balanced and imbalanced expression (and when there is an imbalance, the body is less able to be healthy and happy) if you’ve spent any time here at HNN, you’ll remember that we share a similar belief. We want you to support your body and immune system so that it can perform optimally and that means being in “balance.”
Now, while Ayurveda is a personalized approach to health, and knowing your mind-body type could help you to make better choices about diet, exercise, supplements, etc…, there are some general benefits- regardless of type.
Deepak Chopra says Ayurveda teaches that everyone should:
So, now that you know a little more, what do you think? Did you take the test to see what element you are? The bottom line is whether you agree with all parts of Ayurveda or not, de-stressing your life, eating good food, and getting good sleep will only ever benefit you.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.