In our natural state, humans are as prone to sickness and disease as they are to growth and evolution. So much so that we consider disease to be an intrinsic aspect of life as we know it. Rarely do we observe that what we consider treatment today only chips away at the immediate symptoms, ignoring the underlying disease. It is this fallacious line of thought that continues to affect our mental, physical, and spiritual well-being, leading to greater dissatisfaction, fractured relationships, and unhappy homes around the world.
Asking the wrong questions
We fail in our quest for true wellness because we chase minimum effort and immediate benefits – something that stands at odds with the principles of Ayurveda. Literally meaning the ‘science of life’ and dating back to around 1000 B.C., Ayurveda suggests lifestyle and diet adjustments are often the surest means to living a healthy and happy life. It lays down the theory that wellness can only be achieved through an equilibrium of the key elements that make up our selves and the world around us – earth, air, fire, water, and ether.
The Fundamentals of Ayurveda
As a way of life more than just a set of principles, Ayurveda helps you maintain a delicate balance between the five key elements. According to Ayurveda, each human being has a unique constitution (Prakriti), which is assessed as a proportion of the three bodily humors or doshas present in our body. These doshas are nothing but combinations of the five key elements:
- Vata: air + ether
- Pitta: fire + water
- Kapha: water + earth
Ayurvedic principles state our unique constitution is established at birth and remains our baseline throughout our lives. It defines our pursuits, tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses along with the rest of the characteristics that make our personality whole. It is, therefore, of utmost importance to keep the baseline intact to stay at the peak of your health.
However, with constantly evolving lifestyles, eating habits, and the impact of age, stress, relationships, daily routines and weather conditions, the baseline of our constitution is bound to be pushed out of its delicate balance to cause illness and disease. The whole healing process in Ayurveda works around first identifying the imbalance (Vikriti) in the bodily humors followed by the root cause of the imbalance in the first place. This holistic approach ensures treatment will not only correct previous wrongs, but also help prevent such deviations moving forward. The treatment itself could involve anything from lifestyle changes to diet and exercise, making it a comprehensive process.
Balance is everything
At its core, the principles of Ayurveda are so effective because they chart a definitive route-map to achieving total wellness. Setting the goal of offsetting the imbalance in your lifestyle and diet will help you improve your well-being more effectively in the long run.
Since opposites balance each other out, one can constantly adjust the condition of their health depending on their current state of balance to mitigate the effects of excess elements. It is this that makes Ayurveda such a timeless science, inviting both experts and novices alike and laying down clear, actionable guidelines to achieving wellness of both body and mind.