Ayurveda, known as the science of life, is the oldest written medical science on our planet. The name derives from two Sanskrit root words: Ayus, meaning ‘life’, and Veda, meaning ’knowledge’.
It originated in India over 5000 years ago to complement yogic practices, its sister science. The Yogis and Sages of the time realized that as they pursued their spiritual objectives, their bodies were lacking, thus preventing them from reaching their spiritual goal of Enlightenment.
Through the study of nature, its rhythms, and elements, Ayurveda was designed to help us achieve mental, physical and spiritual balance in all areas of life. This balance is accomplished through diet, our relationship with food, exercise, meditation, breath-work, cleansing and purging, mental practices, and more. Ayurveda understands that anything can be a “medicine” if applied at the right time, with the right intent.
The ancient sages believed that all things are made up of five elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether (space). It’s sometimes best to think of these elements as metaphors. Each one has specific attributes and qualities that apply to how it relates to and interacts in nature (for example, Earth is heavy, cold, and dry; Water is moist, dense, and smooth).
Humans (and all other life forms) take in these elements through our senses, and the qualities of these elements interact with our own unique elemental balance (rather, our Doshas). These elements will either support the individual’s Doshas or imbalance them. Maintaining balance in the elements is key to our physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
Through a comprehensive intake, Ayurvedic practitioners decipher our unique blend of elements and determine our Doshic makeup. This knowledge allows the practitioner to form a deeper understanding of the patient’s nature, their imbalances or illnesses, and how or which remedies should be applied. Ayurveda is strictly individual; it treats the unique person (YOU) holistically rather than symptomatically.