What is Ayurveda
What does Ayurveda mean?
‘AYUR’ in Sanskrit means ‘Life’ or ‘Longevity’ and ‘VEDA’ means ‘Science’ or ‘Knowing’. Ayurveda can be described as ‘The Science of Life or Longevity’ or ‘The Yoga of Life’. It is a system of Yoga. However, we should not get too caught up in terminology; Ayurveda is an idea, and if we understand our individual constitution and the environment in which we live and respond to that, then this is Ayurveda regardless of what word we use to describe it. Each person will practice and live differently as each person is different.
How and why are we different and unique?
Ayurveda tells us that all that is matter contains five great elements namely Ether (Space), Wind (Air), Fire, Water, and Earth. These elements are in all matter and therefore present in Man. As such the physical Man is an integral and inseparable part of Nature. According to this science, there are three primary life forces or energies formed by the combination of these five elements.
These three energies are known as Dosha and classified as follows:
Vata Dosha – Ether/Wind Elements
Pitta Dosha – Fire/Water Elements
Kapha Dosha – Water/Earth Elements
The Goal and Purpose of Ayurveda
The highest or ultimate goal of Ayurveda and Siddha treatment is to attain absolute detachment of the body and mind and becoming one with the ‘Atman’ or ‘Soul’. This is the state of liberation or ‘Moksham’. However for practical and commercial purposes this is hardly ever emphasized or practiced. At Ancient’s Best, this is our Physician’s primary emphasis. At the same instance, the body, mind and its equipment are not neglected but brought very much into focus and attention, as it is the only means of realizing the Self or Truth.
An important factor to consider is the natural law of Karma; that is, “every action has an equal and opposite reaction” or “cause and effect”. This can be compared to Newton’s Third Law of motion. Karma is a natural law, and understanding this we come to understand why we are the way we are. This allows us to accept our situation and realise we were born this way in order to experience certain things in a certain way.
Practical application of Ayurveda
With the science of Ayurveda we learn to manage our bodies and minds as instruments given to us in this life for a specific purpose. With discipline, application of the natural laws, and by taking responsibility for our attitude and actions, we prepare the field (the Body and Mind) and allow our true nature to prevail, and we learn to live in the present moment. Rather than seeking Yoga as something outside ourselves we prepare ourselves to experience it – there is nothing to seek as nothing has been lost – we are simply unable to see the Truth as we are drawn away by the senses and attachment to the Body and Mind. Yogic practices such as Ayurveda are there to help us remove those things that keep us ignorant of the Truth and cause us much suffering.
The differences of approach and the working of the Eastern mind and the Western mind has and will create some difficulties in understanding fully the techniques utilized by Ayurveda. Many concepts are expressed in a way that is symbolic rather than literal. This helps to convey subtle concepts that cannot be expressed fully through language but must ultimately be experienced personally.
Though, there are bound to be questions as to the “How?” and “Why?” of certain methodology and treatments, it is inevitable that some of these must go unanswered. We have encountered similar circumstances in modern Western medicine, where certain concepts are proven to work, without the reason behind their phenomenal success being fully understood. Each individual will experience things in their own way. Everything affects us and nothing in this world is permanent. What is true in this moment may not be so in the next.
We suggest that you look at Ayurveda as a totally holistic science where numerous factors are involved. It is important to remember that we are discussing natural laws and that the truth is essentially simple. Understanding comes through letting go of preconceived notions and conditioning, and allowing ourselves to be open, present, and aware.