What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is the knowledge of a long, happy and healthy life. Ayurveda is natural and holistic, timeless and at the same time modern. It can be applied simply and regardless of where we come from and where we live, as well as what likes and dislikes we have. Its secret lies in its holistic approach and the knowledge of our unity with nature and its laws. Ayurveda shows us how to live a balanced life – the basis for total well-being, natural beauty and lasting health.
For more information refer to Holistic health.
The key to well-being through Ayurveda lies in the understanding of the three Ayurvedic fundamental forces 'Vata', 'Pitta' and 'Kapha'. All of our physical, mental and emotional characteristics are expressed in our personality in a completely individual balance of these fundamental forces. They make up our Ayurveda type, our inner nature, the blueprint for a long, healthy life – unique and distinctive like a fingerprint.
For more information refer to Vata, Pitta, Kapha.
Introduction to the basics of Maharishi Ayurveda
No one person is like another. Each of us has an individual physiological composition and an individual constitution. Our health is influenced by our origins, our talents, our behaviour, our environment, by all that we see, hear, feel and experience.
Ayurveda therefore considers all aspects of life in its recommendations for lasting, holistic health. This holistic perspective is systematically divided into 20 Ayurvedic approaches, which include for example:
- Consciousness (enlivening the body's self-healing powers through Transcendental Meditation)
- Vedic sound and music therapies
- Breathing therapy
- Colour and aroma therapy
- Ayurvedic pulse diagnosis
- Vedic astrology, Jyotish
- Recommendations for a balanced diet according to the individual and his or her constitution
- Daily and seasonal routine
- Ayurvedic cleansing treatments
- Use of herbal and mineral food supplements
The key to understanding Ayurvedic balance
From the perspective of Maharishi Ayurveda, both man and nature are pervaded by three universal, holistic fundamental forces or doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The ancient records, some of which are thousands of years old, describe in detail which elements, qualities, tastes, smells, shapes, colours and moods are produced by which dosha. Vata for example stands for the elements space and air, Pitta for fire, Kapha for water and earth. Vata also stands for activity and creativity, Pitta for intelligence and Kapha for stability and structure. The fundamental forces Vata, Pitta and Kapha are at work in every individual. These govern all physical, mental and spiritual processes.
Every human being carries these three doshas within him or her – in a balanced and individual combination. This basic balance is called 'Prakriti'. It is already present at birth and remains unchanged throughout life. It is the inner nature, the balance that everyone always strives for and in which one feels well, healthy and happy.
Almost everyone is a mixed type
According to Ayurvedic understanding, every person is unique. He or she has distinctive qualities, physical characteristics and talents, suggesting a specific distribution of the doshas. If one dosha is predominant over the other two, for example a lot of Vata, but only a little Pitta and Kapha, then the person is considered to be a Vata type. If, for example, you have approximately the same amounts of Pitta and Kapha, but not much Vata, then you would be a Pitta-Kapha type and so on. Each person has his or her completely individual proportions of the three doshas. If you know what these proportions are, then even as a lay person you will be in a better position to understand the peculiarities of your body, your behaviour and your moods and characteristics. You therefore have the key to the mystery of Maharishi Ayurveda in your hand: maintenance of health through balance of the doshas.
Even Hippocrates knew that 'diseases do not fall from the sky'
The balance of the doshas can get seriously disturbed as a result of inappropriate lifestyle, stress in a relationship or at work, bad nutrition, insufficient rest, taking of medicines, too much or too little exercise, or exercise of the wrong kind. Everything that interacts with our bodies affects the balance of Vata, Pitta and Kapha directly. If you eat something hot or pungent, for example, the Pitta dosha will increase; if you sleep too long, this will stimulate the Kapha dosha; and if you do not allow yourself enough rest, the Vata dosha will increase. Our bodies are constantly trying to balance these influences that disturb the balance of the doshas, but according to Ayurveda when an imbalance persists over long periods, health problems can arise, which may eventually develop into illness. Maharishi Ayurveda has a number of recommendations at its disposal, however, which make it possible to prevent a long-lasting dosha imbalance. Much of this is very easy and pleasant to integrate into everyday life. This includes recommendations for healthy behaviour, a diet that promotes balance of the doshas, Ayurvedic teas, herbal mixtures and food supplements, oil massages, yoga, exercise and sport and sufficient rest or meditation.
If in spite of this some health problem has occurred, then it is advisable to visit a doctor or alternative practitioner trained in Maharishi Ayurveda, who can determine the individual dosha distribution of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These Ayurvedic experts have several diagnostic methods at their disposal. The constitution can be most accurately felt from the pulse, but this requires some practice and experience.
Stay in balance
Prevention is the priority in Maharishi Ayurveda, and there is a lot you can do every day in order to stay in balance. Would you like to learn more about the three doshas and even carry out an approximate evaluation of your individual dosha balance? Using the Maharishi Ayurveda dosha test, you can find out in just a few minutes whether you are dominantly Vata, Pitta or Kapha and which qualities and characteristics express your personal dosha situation. If you like, you can read more on our website about which recommendations of Maharishi Ayurveda are available for maintaining your individual dosha balance and which products you can use in order to feel good and remain youthful.