The Science of Life
The word Ayur in sanskrit means ‘life’ and Veda means ‘science’ or ‘knowledge.’ The Ayurveda system involves all the layers of a human being from the physical body to the subtle parts-from the mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects. Each person is born with a unique physical, mind, and body constitution. This original constitution is known as our ‘Prakriti.’ The influences of our daily life, experienced through our senses, will cause our intrinsic nature to fluctuate away from its origin. This is known as our ‘Vrikriti,’ our current state or that which manifests imbalance.
This science recognizes that human beings are part of nature. When our nature is in balance, all our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual body will function optimally. When it is imbalanced, we can become unfocused, irritable, experience lack of energy, and develop physical issues which could lead to illness and disease.
The five nature elements within us cannot be seen with the naked eye but they are the life energies behind the scenes of our physical body. These elements are earth, water, fire, air, and space. The combinations of the elements make up the three doshas known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each individual contains all three doshas with different proportions. The belief is that this unique formula defines a person's temperament and characteristic.
VATA = Air + Space
Vata types are commonly quick thinking, thin in stature, and fast moving. They are creative and enthusiastic in nature. They generally have a narrow frame with thin bones.
PITTA = Fire + Water
A Pitta person is focused and goal oriented. They are energetic, determined, and speak with precision. The physical body of a Pitta tends to be medium frame and good muscle.
KAPHA = Earth + Water
Kapha types move slowly, speaks carefully, and are consistent and loyal in character. They typically have a stocky body frame, good muscle development, and large bone structure.
The doshas are dynamic energies that are constantly changing (at the Vikriti level) in response to our actions, thoughts, emotions, the foods we eat, the seasons, and any other information that we feed into our mind and body. When we live against our intrinsic nature, we create unhealthy patterns that lead to physical and mental imbalances. Ayurveda teaches us to recognize the imbalances and supports the work towards bringing us closer to our natural state.
Photos by Joelle