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What is Ayurveda?

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On March 7, 2019

Ayurveda is the system of medicine, which in Sanskrit means ‘knowledge of life and longevity’. It is thought to be over 5000 years old with Indian origins. It is said that the knowledge of medicine has been passed on from Gods to sages and then to human physicians. The myth goes like this, great sages went to the Himalayas to meditate and observed the rhythms of the universe and the flows of energy that connect everything in nature, which formed the basis of Ayurveda.


For example; when white light is passed through the prism, the light bends and we have seven other colours. Similarly, assume these multiple colours as energies that come into and leave our body (prism), thus connecting our body with nature. Nature is made up of different energies and understanding the mechanism of these connecting energies forms the foundation of Ayurveda. It believes that health is in our control and whatever is need to make our body system right is available around us. Ayurveda focuses on preventing and curing diseases. The prevention of disease is mainly based on meditation, yoga and right diet. Ayurveda looks for the root cause of the disease rather than symptoms.




Elements of Ayurveda According to Ayurveda, everything is made up of five elements: Ether, Air, fire, water, and earth. These are the basic building blocks (connecting energies) of the universe. The energies are present around and within us.


– Earth represents all solid matter present around us. In our body, it is compared to tissues, bones, organs.
– Water in our body represents the blood, fluids inside and around the cell.
– Fire as the word represents, is anything hot or combusting. In our body it is digestive enzymes and body temperature.
– Air is the wind, which is mobile and dynamic. In the body, it is represented by all the movements and actions inside and external.
– Ether is the space in which all the functioning takes place. These 5 elements are grouped into three energies known as Doshas.


The three Doshas Vata, Pitta, and Kafa are the three doshas or the bioenergies that are present in every individual. Our body is made up all the three doshas, in different proportions, and are responsible for the entire functioning of the body. Each dosha constitutes two bio elements (eg: air and ether are elements of vata dosha, table 1.1). The characteristic of the person will be similar to the characteristics of the two elements. No one person’s body is the same as the other, creating a unique personality. When Doshas are in balance it supports the body’s health, when they are imbalanced they can cause illness and diseases. So it’s important to know which body type do we belong and eat healthy as per the body type.

Few characteristics of Doshas, which can help determine the body type are listed below.


Vata Dosha: The qualities of vata body includes the dry, cold, rough, active body. This means that a person with vata body has light body fat, dry and rough skin, minimum sleep. Vata governs all the body movements, including blood circulation, walking, and breathing. A person with vata body can have creative, energetic and a lively personality.


Pitta Dosha: Qualities of Pitta is similar to fire and water, like hotness, sharp, burning, acidic. In a person, it is seen as a hot temperament, sharp and clear mindset, strong digestive system. Pitta governs body temperature, activities of enzymes and acids. A person may have an efficient and disciplined personality.


Kafa Dosha: Qualities of kafa dosha are similar to that of earth and water. A person with kafa body can be well built, stable and can have oily skin. In the body its main functions are in tissues and organs. A person with kafa body can have a loving, calm, happy and a homebound personality.


Table 1.1: The three doshas


One of the three doshas is high in our body and represents the dominant dosha. It is good to know the dominant dosha and eat as per the body type, to prevent diseases. Thus, according to Ayurveda, prevention of disease can be achieved by keeping doshas in balance, which in turn can be achieved by eating right, as per the body type and by performing yoga.

Last modified: March 7, 2019

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