An Introduction to Ayurveda
Ayurveda is a system and philosophy of health from ancient India. It is based on the concept of bringing balance to the mind, body and soul, which are seen as intrinsically linked. This can be a complex topic so we’ve broken it down into a brief introduction.
What is Ayurveda?
In Sanskrit Ayurveda translates to “the science, or knowledge, of life.” This shows that Ayurveda is an all-encompassing set of systems that works with many different factors in an individual’s life such as diet, lifestyle, Yoga practices, sleep, connection to nature and more. It is a holistic approach to healing and is known as one of the world’s oldest systems of medicine.
In Ayurveda there are 3 doshas – Vata, Pita, Kapha – which define 3 different types or categories. They are derived from the 5 elements which are ether, air, fire, water and earth. Each element can be understood and experienced by the energy and principles that they are associated with. The doshas convey particular physical, emotional and mental characteristics.
In Ayurveda, the idea is to bring all into balance in order to prevent disease. Diet and lifestyle are seen as the most important and effective way to stay healthy or to heal from illness. There is no one size fits all, Ayurveda focuses on each person’s unique make up. An Ayurvedic diet offers guidelines on how to eat, what to eat and when to eat in accordance with a person’s pre dominant dosha or doshas.
The doshas are responsible for governing different systems in the body and can be described as energies that influence how you think, feel, react and how your body works.
What are the 3 doshas and what do they represent?
Vata Dosha governs movement in the body, e.g. blood circulation, breath and heartbeat. Its elements are ether and air. When in balance, vata is associated with creativity, adaptability and vitality. When out of balance it can lead to anxiety, worry, overwhelm, disorganisation and impatience.
Pitta Dosha governs digestion and metabolism; it’s responsible for transformation both in body and mind. Its elements are fire and water. When in balance pita is associated with focus, organisation and confidence. When out of balance it can lead to anger, being quick to temper and aggression.
Kapha Dosha governs the structure and lubrication in the body, e.g. moisturising the skin, producing snot and phlegm, forming bones and skin. Its elements are water and earth. When in balance kapha is associated with patience, acceptance and loving-kindness. When out of balance it can lead to laziness, sluggishness and depression.
To receive a free recipe e-book with nutritious Ayurvedic recipes for each dosha, then sign up to our 7 Days of Optimal Living online course. Our philosophy for food at Rosemary is that it should be healthy, seasonal, local, sustainable, fresh and ethical.
You can find out your pre dominant dosha(s) by seeing an Ayurvedic therapist or taking an online test. Like anything, it can be susceptible to change due to things like the phase in your life, environmental factors and life situations.
Written by Jasmine Sara
Photography by Bruna Brandão