09 min read

July 2, 2022

What is Ayurveda and why you need it?

What is Ayurveda?

Most websites and doctors offer a standard definition of Ayurveda, based on Sanskrit, India’s oldest living language. Ayurveda consists of two words: “Ayur” and “veda”. Ayur means life, while veda can mean science or knowledge. So Ayurveda is typically defined as the “science of life”or “knowledge of life”. However, these definitions barely scratch the surface of what Ayurveda actually means. “Life” is a very broad term and having knowledge of life can mean different things to different people. So let me break it down for you in the simplest of terms: Ayurveda is knowledge. First and foremost, it is knowledge of self-care, that is, how to look after yourself.It is knowledge of lifestyle optimization, that is, how to get the most out of your day-to-day life, including your diet, exercise, work, and family life. And finally, Ayurveda is power: the power to take charge of your health and healing.

In the ensuing discussion, we will elaborate on the above definition of Ayurveda by covering eight principles or concepts as follows:

  1. Ayurveda is the science of self-healing.
  2. Ayurveda emphasizes prevention over cure.
  3. Ayurveda is traditional medicine in India.
  4. Ayurveda is the world’s oldest living system of healthcare.
  5. Ayurveda recognizes oneness of mind, body and environment.
  6. Ayurveda finds toxins as the root cause of disease.
  7. Ayurveda is a way of life.
  8. Ayurveda is all about restoring balance.
Ayurveda is the science of self-care. It teaches you how to look after yourself. It empowers you to become your own healer.

Science of Self-Healing

Ayurveda is, first and foremost, the science of self-healing. This means that Ayurveda offers every individual the knowledge and tools to heal himself of most major health ailments. In other words,Ayurveda offers us the possibility of becoming our own best doctor, if one chooses to be. The alternative, of course, is to remain reliant on others for your health and healing, thereby fostering a dependency that disempowers us from truly taking control of our quality of life.

Prevention over Cure

Ayurveda is a system of healthcare that emphasizes “prevention over cure”. It is fundamentally concerned with preventing disease, so as to enable each individual to enjoy the fullest experience of life and the fullest expression of his or her consciousness.

If we are sick, we cannot express ourselves fully and we cannot experience the joy, happiness and inner freedom that accompanies good health. However, Ayurveda also says that we should not wait to get sick before we take responsibility for our own health. Rather, we must adopt certain routines (such as detoxification) and certain habits (such as eating at fixed times daily), in order to prevent ill health in the first place.Therefore, if you are willing to learn and apply many of the dietary and lifestyle recommendations found in Ayurvedic tradition and thought, you may be able to prevent an untimely death and mitigate the onslaught of aging.

Traditional Medicine in India

Ayurveda is a form of traditional medicine in India. It recognizes that, over millennia, we grew and evolved with the plants. Over millennia, the rhythm of life was determined by the seasons,the weather, and the rising and setting of the sun. The early "seers"of ancient India had observed that good health was essentially a function of the extent to which we were in harmony with nature and its cycles. Thus Ayurveda became a "tradition" of living in harmony with nature.

Although life has changed significantly in modern times, the principle of living in harmony with the outer world still exists and is even gaining recognition by modern scientific research. The medicines that we require to heal ourselves do not necessarily need to be manufactured in a lab because they are available to us in the natural world. This is traditional medicine: finding your cure in the plants, in the seasons, in the cycles of day and night, in the natural world.​The sun itself is an incredible healer and walking early in the morning is a great way to start the day and to align oneself with the sun, which sustains life in us all.

According to Ayurveda, simply the act of going for a walk at sunrise is one of the healthiest habits we can develop. It aligns our body with the energy of the sun.

World's Oldest Living System of Healthcare

We live in a world where health fads and trends are continually changing. We live in a world where public health recommendations related to diet and nutrition are determined by special interest groups. We live in a world where healthcare is big business and,therefore, the prescriptions and public messaging need to serve the interests of shareholders, not patients and consumers. And what we come to accept as “truth”today will soon be presented as “false” tomorrow or perhaps a decade from now.In Ayurveda, we would call this collective psychosis a “vata” disorder, where commonly-accepted health information changes like the wind.

But unlike the vicissitudes of modern healthcare and “mainstream medicine”, the trees of Ayurveda have not broken with the wind because they have been firmly rooted in the soils of India for 5,000 years. No other medicinal system is as old as Ayurveda and still so widely practiced. That's why we can call Ayurveda a “living” tradition: it simply never died. Even during the British occupation of India, the tradition could not be erased because it was a living tradition, transmitted orally from one generation to another, and practiced in day-to-day life. And if it is alive and well today,it is because it works. And the fact that it has been around for so long further proves that it is not just a fad or trend, but a credible,comprehensive and effective mind-body system of healthcare –both proactive healthcare and reactive healthcare.

Oneness of Mind, Body, and Environment

Ayurveda is "holistic" health in the truest sense. It recognizes and treats the mind, body and environment as one integrated and interactive system. What this means is that the mind affects the body; the body affects the mind; and the environment in which we live affects both body and mind. One cannot be addressed in insolation of the other. This is because the very same elements in the external environment –namely fire, air, water, earth, and space – are also found in our internal world, i.e. the body and mind.

Toxins are the root cause of disease, according to Ayurveda. To eliminate disease and restore health, we need to detoxify. That is Ayurveda in a nutshell.

Toxins: the Root Cause of Disease

In Ayurveda, the root cause of all diseases is “ama”,a Sanskrit word that means toxins or undigested matter. Ama results from our inability to digest certain foods; from the inability to convert food into energy; and from the inability to excrete or expel the residue from burning food as fuel.

Ayurveda tells us that when ama accumulates in the body, it is displaced and dispersed throughout the body and gets lodged in difficult-to-reach places. It hides in open spaces throughout the body and it interferes with natural biological processes. It causes various imbalances in the body that we tend to experience as pain, lethargy, weaknesses and other symptoms.

Irrespective of the ailment, the straight-and-narrow course of Ayurvedic treatment is: detoxification. Detoxify the body, detoxify the mind, and the ailment should go away or at least reduce,significantly. In other words, detoxification is a major component of Ayurvedic treatment and vital to the restoration and improvement of health.

Way of Life

As earlier stated, Ayurveda places great emphasis on the prevention of ill health. And so it follows that Ayurveda offers extensive guidance on nearly every aspect of life, including diet,cooking, sleep, work, exercise, spirit, relationships, routines, habits, and the interactions between these realms. Perhaps no other system of healthcare is as ecumenical as Ayurveda in addressing matters related to our health.

Ayurveda offers extensive guidance of every aspect of living, including exercise. If you want to optimize your workouts,get into Ayurveda.

Restoring Balance

Ayurveda is a system for restoring and maintaining balance. We have all heard the term “work-life balance”. We all have experienced times in our life when work, education, sports or other material ambitions and activities were pursued in excess, disrupting our ideal of a “balanced life”. But being busy in life, working excessively or being overburdened with responsibility are not the only imbalances that we may experience.Ayurveda speaks of nutritional imbalances, energetic imbalances and even mental imbalances as being intimately connected to our health.

In Ayurveda, every person is comprised of three energy humours, three energy systems: vata (the principle of space and movement), pitha (the principle of conversion),and kapha (the principle of matter, stability and fluidity).When these three energy systems are balanced in the body and mind, we experience good health. When these three energy systems are out of balance, we experience ill health to the extent of the imbalance. Therefore, one of the main jobs of an Ayurvedic doctor is to determine the imbalances present in his/her patient and then to recommend a course of action to improve and restore balance, thereby enabling the body and mind to function optimally. However, in Ayurvedic literature, there is enough information available on the causes of imbalances to enable us to make certain lifestyle adjustments in order to bring about more balance. In short, we don't need to wait for an Ayurvedic doctor to tell us what to do and what not to do, if we are willing to do our research on Ayurveda and implement the wisdom therein.

The demands of modern life result in imbalances in the body and mind. Ayurveda is a system for detecting and redressing our imbalances.

Why You Need Ayurveda

By now, why you need Ayurveda should be self-evident. Surely, in all the messaging above, you can find your why. But ifI may summarization the motivation for getting into Ayurveda, it is simply this: acquiring the knowledge and tools to take charge of your health,healing, and well-being. Ayurveda offers every individual the opportunity to become your own doctor, your own guru, your own healer. What could be more important and more liberating in life?

Where to start your Ayurveda Journey

The best way to get acquainted with Ayurveda is to travel to India and undergo an Ayurvedic detox called Panchakarma, a 21-day program to cleanse your body and mind. Yes, there are books on Ayurveda and countless blogs about it on the Internet. But if you really want to take a deep dive into Ayurveda, you have to experience its transformative power and see results that will blow you away.

Have an open mind. Save money if you need to.Prepare mentally that you wish to invest in your health and well-being. Start planning your trip to India. And if you need help, contact Ayurooms and we will guide you every step of the way, from choosing the right resort, getting your visa, and preparing for the trip. Book a free consultation today.

Aly Alidina


Ayurooms Founder

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