Do you know what Ayurveda is ? Let’s find out the principles and benefits and a little history of this ancient Indian practice still used today.
Ayurveda is an ancient and complex medicine born in India at the time of the Vedas, the ancient sacred books dating back, to better understand, thousands of years before the birth of Christ.
These Vedas contain the wisdom of the Gods in every area, including that of medicine and healing, and still practiced today.
The sacred Veda books deal, among other things, with diseases and indicate rituals and treatments, mainly based on herbs.
What is Ayurveda
Ayurveda also means ‘ knowledge of life ‘ and is therefore a philosophy that applies to life and things.
In essence, it is a system for the prevention and treatment of diseases that starts from a holistic approach that is interested in the person as a whole and in harmony with Nature.
So it does not try to cure the disorder itself but to trace its causes: if, for example, we have digestive problems, Ayurveda tries to understand if it is actually colitis.
The energy or dosha
According to this practice, three types of vital energy, the doshas, flow in the body in different proportions depending on the constitution of each individual.
The three doshas vary their balance over the course of the year, seasons and day, so Ayurvedic therapies take these variability into account.
They suggest suitable behaviors and foods to be taken according to each change and in case of their imbalance, because this leads to a situation of illness.
These three energies are called vata, pitta and khapa.
Each dosha is composed of different elements and has certain qualities that characterize it:
- vata (force of elimination): controls everything that is movement in the body, i.e. the nervous system, circulation, respiration and intestines; its qualities are: coldness, dryness, lightness, subtlety, mobility, sharpness, hardness, roughness and fluidity; its main seat is the colon.
- pitta (combustion force): controls the transformation in our body, therefore digestion and metabolism, but also emotions; its qualities are: warm, greasy, lightness, subtlety, mobility, sharpness, softness, smoothness, clarity and fluidity; the main site is the small intestine.
- khapa (force of assimilation): controls the cohesion in our body, therefore the body fluids, bones, joints and tissues; its qualities are: coldness, humidity, heaviness, coarseness, stability, opacity, softness, smoothness and density.
Thanks to the identification of the prevalence of one of these three forces in each one, the person can be classified both from the point of view of personality and of the physical. It is thus possible to identify the dysfunctions that can derive from it, which always arise from the imbalances that are created between these doshas.
There is a physiognomy for each of the three 3 doshas, with the predominance of certain physical and psychological characteristics. And for each there is also a special diet.
Pitta individual : generalizing is characterized by light hair, medium constitution; temperamentally he is determined, organized, courageous and tends towards leadership, but also angry and aggressive; typical diseases are ulcer, acne and hemorrhoids
Vata individual: the body is lean and supple, the skin dry, the attitude lively and creative; but he can suffer from insomnia, nervous disorders, digestive problems and states of anxiety.
Individual kapha: the body is large, strong and well planted, the character calm and relaxed to the point of laziness, does not like changes; the salient features are greed and jealousy. He suffers from overweight, even obesity, allergies, hypercholesterolemia and depression.
The ayurveda test
According to Ayurvedic medicine there are three types of physical constitution, and each is characterized by exposure to certain disorders.
For example, the Pitta constitution is characterized by an average build, a reddish complexion with freckles and moles, a tendency to suffer from gastritis , hemorrhoids , conjunctivitis , blood diseases.
There is a test that through a few simple questions about your physical structure (build, hair, eyes, face, lips, size, teeth) and temperament (appetite, sleep, walking, sexuality, learning).
This test allows you to find out which is your dominant dosha which then determines the physical, mental and emotional characteristics for Ayurvedic medicine.
Very important for Ayurveda are meditation and physical therapy with the observation of ancient practices such as oleation.
It involves the application of fatty substances inside and outside the body.
Equally important is sweating. Massage, nutrition and yoga are fundamental .
Massage is sacred, because it not only serves to relax the body, to calm stress and anxiety, but also to improve its elasticity and flexibility. In fact, it stimulates blood and lymphatic circulation, tones and drains.
It helps to fluidize compressed energies, dissolving nervous tensions, encouraging and restructuring. Restores strength and energy, restores vital functions.
With Ayurvedic massage you get back in touch with the deepest part of yourself, which is why it is also called ‘the massage of the Soul’.
Ayurveda and nutrition
Ayurvedic texts prescribe particular dietary advice for each of the three dosha constitutions organized on the basis of flavors, which are believed to have a certain effect on the body.
This is why we pay attention to balance them (sweet, for example, stimulates some organs such as the pancreas and has a calming effect on mood. While bitter purifies and acts on the liver, and salty acts on appetite).
Therefore the vata individual, being thin, will have problems with stress because he does not eat and the appetite must be stimulated with the salty taste.
The pitta type tends to get fat. He must prefer light food, but not fasting because the human body is a cosmic body, and the fire in its center must be constantly nourished. The kapha type, which is robust, gets fat easily, and will have to prefer the bitter taste that purifies.
Ayurveda and yoga
Yoga practice and postures for Ayurveda must be an integral part of an individual’s life. They are not intended as a gymnastic activity, but as a vision of global life to achieve mind-body balance.
Ayurvedic treatments are complex and are based on more than 10,000 ancient formulas that use plants, herbs, colors, crystals, foods, perfumes, sounds and stones.
Herbs represent the main remedy, to be taken in various forms, decoctions of roots and barks, hot or cold infusions, dried and ground leaves to reduce them to powder, herbal pastes and medicated oils.
Ayurveda, like yoga, are based on the energy that flows from our body and identify centers called chakras, in which energy accumulates and passes, which are related to each other.
Chakra in Sanskrit means ‘wheel’, precisely because these centers rotate. Ayurveda identifies seven main ones, located along the spine, and over 100 minor ones, the marl.
Each is related to a specific organ or gland in the body. If a chakra is blocked, it prevents the free circulation of energy within the body and causes ailments and discomfort.
The 7 main chakras
Muladhara – first chakra: located at the base of the pelvis, it is associated with vitality, here the energy is more intense; the associated organs are intestine, ovaries, testes; blocking this chakra leads to intestinal diseases, colitis, arthritis and circulatory problems.
Svadhistana – second chakra: located in the sacral region, it connects body, emotions and mind. The blockage of this chakra leads to diseases of the sexual apparatus and makes one angry and proud.
Manipura – third chakra: it is located in the solar plexus and presides over wisdom; the organs of sense, hearing, smell and taste are associated with it; brings energy to the thyroid gland, bronchi and lungs; the blockage leads to digestive diseases such as ulcers, diabetes, intoxications.
Anahata – fourth chakra: located in the spine, at the level of the heart; it is related to compassion and love. Blockage leads to diseases such as asthma, tachycardia and blood pressure decompensation.
Vishuddha – fifth chakra: it is located in the neck and presides over communication, and controls energy; its block brings dizziness, anemia, allergies, instability in the cycles.
Ajna – sixth chakra: located on the forehead, between the eyes, and represents the ‘third eye’, it is linked to purification and its blockage leads to illogicality, nightmares, headaches.
Sahasrara – seventh chakra: located above the head, it is not physically inside the body; it represents infinity, thought, knowledge and a block leads to depression, confusion, apathy, inability to learn.