Ayurveda Basics: How to use it to heal yourself

Most will agree that allopathy is simple and quick; if you have headache, take an aspirin (or something stronger). However, in India, there are several homemade remedies, and most of them are Ayurvedic remedies.

The advantage of using Ayurveda for healing is that it uses natural ingredients, many of them are already part of the Indian diet. Most Indians understand and trust Ayurveda, just as the Chinese practice traditional Chinese medicine.

For ages, people in India have relied on Ayurvedic practices to heal everything – from infertility to digestive issues. Now, this ancient healing system that originated in India has gained popularity worldwide. In the Western world, Ayurveda therapies and practices have now been integrated in general wellness applications, and in some cases, in medical use as well.

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda comprises of two words, Ayu and Veda; Ayu means life and Veda means knowledge or science.

Ayurveda is an Indian art of healing which is as old as the religion of Hinduism. Vedas, the holy books of Hindus mentions the detailed knowledge of spiritual insights and self realization of human life. Ayurveda is a sub section attached to the Atharva Veda which gives detailed knowledge about the diseases, injuries, sanity and health. All these secrets of life were discussed on the basis of three doshas – vitta, pitta and kapha and their cure with various herbs.

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How is Ayurveda different from modern medicine?

  • In Ayurveda, every individual is unique and there is no diet or lifestyle routine that works for everyone.
  • Ayurveda focuses on prevention, provides guidance on how to maintain physical and emotional health.
  • Food and lifestyle routines are considered the most important medicine. If you come to an Ayurvedic doctor with a complaint, you are more likely to leave with a recipe than with a prescription for pills.

Branches of Ayurveda (Ashtangas)

  1. Kaaya cikitsa(general medicine)
  2. Baala cikitsa(paediatrics)
  3. Graha cikitsa(idiopathic)
  4. Saalaakya cikitsa(ophthalmology & otorhinolaryngology)
  5. Salya cikitsa(surgery)
  6. Damshtra cikitsa(clinical toxicology)
  7. Jaraa cikitsa(rejuvenative therapy)
  8. Vrsha cikitsa(reproductive medicine)

Basic Principles of Ayurveda

Ayurveda views the world in light of 3 constitutional principles: vata, pitta, and kapha.

  • Vata: Composed of air and space, vata is dry, light, cold, rough, subtle/pervasive, mobile, and clear. Vata regulates the principle of movement. When vata is out of balance, several bodily movements may be affected.
  • Pitta: Pitta brings forth the qualities of fire and water. It is sharp, penetrating, hot, light, liquid, mobile, and oily. Pitta oversees digestion, metabolism, temperature maintenance, sensory perception, and comprehension. Imbalanced pitta can lead to sharpness and inflammation in these areas in particular.
  • Kapha: Kapha, composed of earth and water, is heavy, cold, dull, oily, smooth, dense, soft, static, liquid, cloudy, hard, and gross (in the sense of dense or thick). As kapha governs stability and structure, it forms the substance of the human body, from the skeleton to various organs to the fatty molecules (lipids) that support the body. An excess of kapha leads to an overabundance of density, heaviness, and excess in the body.

Watch: Intro To Ayurveda

Ayurveda and Beauty

Beauty in Ayurveda is referred as “subhanga karanam. Ayurveda believes that the beauty of secret lies in merging our inner self with our outer self.

According to Ayurveda, outer beauty is a reflection of lifestyle, healthy eating habits, and good health. Each type of body structure, whether big, medium or thin, can be beautiful as long as good health exists. Ayurveda believes that you are what you eat, and you are what you digest. It is all about diet. A clear complexion begins with efficient nutrition, proper digestion, absorption of nutrients, and normal elimination.

Inner beauty draws its sustenance from the spiritual wealth within our self that is, our spiritual qualities, mental abilities, inner reserves of strength, and emotional states. Loving and accepting all, which is positive in life, is what we call as truly beautiful in Ayurveda. True beauty comes from a peaceful, calm interior, and relaxed mind.

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