With western orthodox medicine, the focus is generally on how to cure a disease with chemically man produced medicines, as quickly as possible. Some would say that here we have a problem immediately, as modern western medicine cures nothing, only suppresses the symptoms, but doesn’t tackle the cause. For example if you have a headache, you may take an aspirin. This pill will relieve the pain, but not remove the cause. With Ayurveda the emphasis is holistic, with an understanding of the whole being, mind, body and soul. With Ayurveda rather than cure, you could say it is directed more towards regaining health, ones natural state of being. Although Ayurveda may not be as instant as western orthodox medicine the idea is not only to regain health, but to remain healthy through ‘the art of balanced living’ and not to get sick in the first place. With orthodox medicines the supposed cure may take place over a few days to a few weeks, but usually fairly rapidly, but remember that generally the condition is suppressed. Due to this suppression other diseases later in life are manifested and eventually occur as chronic illness. The Ayurveda method is slower, but the cause is removed, so that the natural defense and immunity systems of the body heals itself. True healing and a complete cure take place, although the time frame is often longer.
Interestingly with orthodox medicine, the major drug companies run trials on drugs prior to being allowed on the public market. Many of these drugs once approved by the worlds governments, are later discovered to be actually dangerous and detrimental to health, and are then withdrawn. The second interesting fact is that in drug trials, the ‘sugar pill’ or ‘placebo’ is also tested. Ironically, in some cases it is the placebo that works as well, if not better than the medication in question. Interesting again is that the word placebo means ‘to please’. So at this stage we have to question ourselves how much true healing is from the mind. “As a man thinketh so is he”. Again this is where the Ayurveda method not only has an emphasis on certain herbs and diet, but also exercise, yoga, pranayama, meditation, and the individuals Dosha type. This combination, an holistic approach for each individual person, assists the whole being, mind, body and soul to come into harmony, and once the system of the body is in harmony, then inner healing happens naturally.
Ayurveda is the traditional medical system of the Indian subcontinent dating back well over 5,000 years, and is now practiced in other areas of the world as an alternative or complementary medicine. The actual translation of the Sanskrit word Ayurveda consists of two words, Ayus meaning ‘life’ and veda meaning ‘science, or knowledge’. Ayurveda is basically the ‘art of balanced living’ or more accurately ‘the science of life’ and works through the use and understanding of herbs, plants and the curative preparations of such, along with acupressure, pranayama, yoga asanas, correct diet, exercise, and natural living. It is a true holistic approach, based upon scientific and metaphysical understanding of nature; and the human being as a whole.
Ayurveda is such a vast subject, some people have Ayurveda herbs are organic and naturalspent their whole life time in its study.
Emphasis is upon developing and strengthening the immune system.
Any herbal remedies are organic and natural with no toxic side effects.
The basic principles of Ayurveda are outlined below.
There are eight branches of Ayurveda
1. Internal medicine
3. Diseases of the head and neck
6. Genetic organs
7. Health and Longevity
8. Spiritual healing/psychiatry
The Five Elements
Ayurveda principles state the Universe is made up from five elements.
Air - Vayu
Water - Jala or Apa
Fire - Agni or Tejas
Ether - Akasha
Earth - Prithvi
Air is existence without form. In the body as oxygen it is a key element to help fire to burn. It is cleansing and purifying, and every element is partly dependent upon another.
Water represents the liquid states of the body, blood, semen, mucus, urine, helping to carry away toxins in waste and cleansing of the blood in purification.
Fire assists in digesting the foods we eat, breaking down solids into liquids. The fire transforms the food into energy, and even affects our thoughts and emotions. So fire has an influence upon mind and body, as do the other elements too to a certain degree.
Ether is the space. Its main characteristic is sound and non-resistance.
Earth represents the main physical body. Bones, teeth, solid matter, cells and tissues. Earth is a steady secure substance, solid matter.
Everything in life is made up from these five elements.
Doshas. When we were born each of us has our own unique mixture of these five elements. This mixture is called our prakruti. It is this combination of elements that make us more predominant to be one of the three doshas. Knowing your dosha is vital to maintaining good health Doshas are the 3 energies that govern the body; vata, pitta, and kapha
The 3 Doshas
1. Vata - Ether and Air
2. Pitta – Fire and water
3. Kapha – Water and earth
When these doshas are in balance a body remains healthy. Each person is more predominant in a particular dosha, and their diet should reflect this to maintain good health. What one food may be of benefit to a Pitta type could be undesirable to a Vata type.
This and more may be taught during some of the Nottingham Pranyog Yoga classes, and occasionally there will be special events, classes for people suffering from obesity, or for diabetics teaching an Ayurvedic way of life and cure.