What is Ayurveda? An introduction to the ancient healing system

Ayurveda is an ancient Sanskrit word meaning "the science of life," but how can it make you healthier and happier?

Ayurveda and its teachings were recorded in Sanskrit by Sushruta Samhita in a series of four sacred texts in which Dhanvantari, the Hindu god of Ayurveda, incarnated on earth to teach medicine to a group of physicians. This is how Ayurvedic medicine was documented to share with the world!

As a form of holistic and preventative medicine that focuses on creating health and harmony through the connection of mind, body and spirit, Ayurveda is especially relevant in today's stressful world. Ayurvedic traditions state that the human body is made up of the same materials and elements as the entire universe, which means that it is very important to balance these universal elements within ourselves in order to experience outer harmony as well.

As you might imagine, Ayurveda is a respected tool and tradition that is used by many today for better overall well-being. In order to use and enjoy Ayurveda in your own healing journey, it is important to know its principles - both to apply them correctly and out of respect for the sacred nature of Ayurveda.

Principles of Ayurveda

Doshas: Vatta, Pitta and Kapha

There are three doshas or energies that circulate in the human body and are known as vata, pitta and kapha. Each dosha is believed to be responsible for different aspects of physical, mental and spiritual health.

  • Vata consists of the elements of air and space . It is described as cold, light, dry, rough, flowing and roomy. People with a predominant Vata dosha are typically described as lean, energetic, creative, and sensitive to cold, and do well in environments and foods that are naturally warm.
  • Pitta is made up of the fire element . Pitta is hot, pungent, intense, light, bitter and spreading. People with pitta as their dominant dosha are typically described as intelligent, witty, and logical, have good muscle tone, are sensitive to hot temperatures, and do well with moderation.
  • Kapha consists of the elements water and earth . People with kapha as the dominant energy are described as steady, stable, heavy, slow, soft, and cold. People with a Kapha dosha are typically described as strong, vigorous, caring, thorough, and with great endurance.

It is very common to have one dominant dosha while the others may be less pronounced or only relate to certain areas of life. Determining your dosha can be as simple as reading about each one and seeing which one most aligns with your physical, mental, and spiritual being.

That's the beauty of Ayurveda - you find what most aligns with you and your unique body composition!


According to Ayurvedic teachings, the universe consists of the five major elements: space, water, earth, air and fire. An imbalance of these elements can lead to unwanted symptoms, illness and discomfort. To bring your body into balance through Ayurveda, you observe which elements are overloaded and which are underused. From there, there are Ayurvedic practices and treatments that can calm the congested elements and bring attention to the under-stressed elements.

Gunas or qualities

Gunas are the qualities that you perceive with your senses. In Ayurveda, the tradition of a total of 20 gunas focuses on three main gunas, namely tamas, rajas and sattva:

  • Tamas embodies stability, inertia, stillness and materialism , which you can perceive with your senses. Energetically, it is slow, thick, and associated with depression and focusing on the past. To balance tamas, you can incorporate movement in the body, such as shaking hands overhead or dancing.
  • Rajas is what turns darkness into light . It is activity, change and future-oriented, and you can perceive these qualities with your senses. Grounding practices like breathwork, yoga, and slowing down while eating can help balance rajas.
  • Sattva is consciousness, harmony, truth, compassion and selflessness that you can perceive with your senses. Sattva is only present when there is a balance with all other gunas as it is the highest frequency and allows you to act from your highest self. In order to cultivate sattva, it is important that you eat a nutritious and fresh diet, get enough sleep, meditate, spend time in nature, practice yoga, and provide service to the community.

Just as you possess all three doshas in some quantity, all three gunas are present within you and are necessary to maintain or restore balance in your life.

Benefits of Ayurveda

Ayurvedic medicine seeks to restore balance in your body by observing the symptoms you are experiencing and finding complementary practices for your predominant dosha. Ayurvedic medicine and its practices focus on making consistent and sustainable lifestyle choices over the long term to improve your health.

balance for your health

Ayurveda focuses on giving you a healthier way of life and creating a connection between body and mind. These include proper nutrition, an active lifestyle, mindfulness practices and bodywork, and supplementing with herbal remedies. These practices can reduce stress in the body, thereby improving your overall health.

The Ayurvedic principles are practical and can be easily integrated into your everyday life to create balance and implement it in your daily life.

prevent and manage diseases

Using Ayurvedic practices regularly can help prevent chronic diseases and ailments . Ayurveda promotes a healthy lifestyle that naturally reduces stress. This includes an active lifestyle, a balanced diet and good sleep quality.

Optimize your well-being

If you consistently apply Ayurvedic practices, you can improve your overall well-being. These include, for example:

  • Improvement in mood and digestion
  • Relief from stress, fatigue and chronic pain
  • Better sleep and recovery from injury and illness
  • Weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight
  • Lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Lowering the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes
  • Reducing the risk of inflammation
  • Balancing your hormone levels

Applications of Ayurveda

You can integrate Ayurvedic practices into your everyday life in different ways.

Diet and Nutrition

In order to promote your health, it is important that you eat right and have an appropriate menu. Ayurvedic medicine emphasizes a balanced diet with lots of nutrients and antioxidants . It is recommended to consume mostly plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, herbs, spices and proteins.

Because Ayurvedic medicine is tailored to the individual, you can make your dietary decisions yourself based on factors such as your environment, current season, meal times, ancestry and genetics, and the properties of the foods that complement your predominant dosha.

Ayurvedic herbal medicine

This practice aims to reduce inflammation in the body, lower the risk of disease, and improve mental health and digestion. Spices like licorice root, turmeric, and curcumin possess anti-inflammatory properties and promote heart health . The Ashwagandha plant has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.

Before taking any herbal medicines as a dietary supplement, however, it is important that you work with a doctor, naturopath, or Ayurvedic practitioner.

Practice of yoga and meditation

Yoga is an ancient practice that originated in India over 5,000 years ago. The aim of yoga is to connect the body, mind and spirit, similar to Ayurveda.

Studies have shown that regular yoga practice can reduce your stress levels and improve your quality of life. Yoga strengthens muscles, improves flexibility and calms the nervous system, which can also increase concentration.

Many yoga practices also include an important component of Ayurvedic medicine - meditation. Meditation has many benefits such as relieving anxiety, helping to manage PTSD, helping with weight control and promoting healthy eating habits.

It is important to note that meditation is not limited to a yoga class, it can be practiced any time of the day!

Ayurvedic massage

Ayurvedic massage, also known as Abhyangam, uses oil to stimulate blood circulation throughout the body and rejuvenate cells in the body. The massage helps to relax the body and mind, which can also reduce stress levels.

Ayurvedic massage can help:

  • Eliminate toxins
  • strengthening immunity
  • increase in energy
  • calming of the nervous system
  • Reduction of joint pain, muscle tension and blood pressure values
  • Improves sleep

Integrate Ayurveda into your lifestyle

Now you're probably wondering how Ayurveda can improve your life in every way! Luckily, many of these practices are accessible, affordable, and offer short- and long-term benefits. There are numerous instructions on the Internet, even without having to spend money!

Viet Trinh

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