What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda, one of the world’s oldest medical systems originating in India, means literally, “the science of life”. Ayurveda takes into account at all aspects of our lives and focuses on treating the individual, not the disease. The goal is not to use “quick fix” tactics, but to uncover the root cause and teach us how to prevent disease.
Ayurveda speaks of daily and seasonal routines that help maintain health and longevity. When we do not live within these routines, it creates stress on the system, which can cause the body to break down.
A person’s distinctive make-up or metabolic constitution is called dosha. Your dosha is an expression of your physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral characteristics. The doshas, or body types, reflect three main governing principles: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. We each have a unique combination of these three principles; different proportions of each dosha existing within us. The healthiest practices for each individual can be best understood by knowing one’s dosha.
Are there certain kinds of problems that respond especially well to Ayurveda?
In Ayurveda, we believe that healing starts from within. The idea of prescribing a sedative herb to relieve insomnia or a laxative to relieve constipation is contrary to Ayurvedic philosophy. Ayurveda teaches that when the root cause of an imbalance is treated rather than just the symptoms, the body can heal itself.
Are there some basic things a person can do to promote health?
Oh yes, there are some very simple things we can all do which will make a huge difference to how we feel:
- Wake up before sunrise
- Drink a glass of warm water when you wake up–before your coffee
- Do some light yoga or stretching daily
- Have a nutritious breakfast according to your body type
- Eat your biggest meal of the day at lunch
- Finish dinner by 7 p.m.
- Never eat on the run
- Eat freshly cooked or prepared meals
- Get to bed by 11 p.m.