Ayurvedic medicine originated in India, and is one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems. Simply put, Ayurveda is rooted in two key principles: The mind, body and spirit are totally connected; and nothing has more power to heal and transform the body than the mind and spirit.
Based on those principles, freedom from illness hinges on our ability to expand our awareness and bring it into balance so that the trinity of the mind, body and spirit benefit. Meditation is a prime example of this powerful connection. When you meditate you effortlessly enter into a state of peace and quiet that frees your mind. In that state of restful awareness your heart and breath rate slow down, your body decreases production of stress hormones and increases production of the “feel good” transmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and endorphins. It is within this calm and balanced state that many practitioners can feel a profound sense of their own spirituality.
According to Ayurveda, every person is made up of a combination of five elements found in the universe including space, air, fire, water and earth. Your body works to keep you healthy through individual physical and psychological traits that comprise your body’s constitution or “prakriti.”
What Are Doshas?
The elements found in the universe combine to form three different life forces called “doshas.” The three doshas are vata dosha (space and air), pitta dosha (fire and water) and kapha dosha (water and earth). While everyone has a mix of the three doshas, each individual has one dosha that is dominant. Each dosha controls a different bodily function and Ayurvedic practitioners believe that your odds of getting sick are linked to the balance of your individual doshas.
Understanding your dosha is critical for optimal health. An Ayurvedic practitioner determines your individual dosha through an exam that includes urine and stool samples, feeling your pulse, listening to your speech and voice and examining your eyes, teeth, tongue and skin. The practitioner will also ask questions about your ability to recover from illness, your diet, lifestyle, medical history and how you tend to behave in certain situations.
Once your dosha is determined, you will receive treatments designed to maximize your mind-body balance. Typical treatments include conscious breathing exercises, aromatherapy, nutritional counseling, herbs and vitamins, plant-based oils, and meditation and stretching exercises.
If you decide to incorporate Ayurveda into your stay-well plan, it is important to seek out a reputable practitioner. Your holistic health practitioner can make recommendations or may even be able to provide Ayurvedic-based treatment for you.
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