About Ayurveda > Ayurveda FAQs
What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is an ancient Vedic system of health care which was developed in India more than 5000 years ago. Ayurveda is a traditional system of alternative medicine in which helps a person maintain optimum health by taking into account the individual's body, mind soul and spirit in perfect balance with the nature.

What is the meaning of the word Ayurveda?

The word Ayurveda has originated from the Sanskrit language. “Ayus” means life and “Veda” means knowledge or science. Hence Ayurveda means “knowledge of life”.

Ayurveda is not a merely an alternative medicine. Rather Ayurveda is considered as a sacred science of life which motivates individuals to live a happy, healthy life and puts emphasis on living in synchronization with the nature and environment.

What are the origins of Ayurveda and how old is it?

Considered as the oldest and the most trusted science of healing in the world, Ayurveda evolved in India thousands of years ago. The fundamentals or teachings of Ayurveda were first recorded in Hindu ancient scriptures called the Vedas- the world's oldest existing literature that preach the philosophy of life.

These Ayurvedic teachings were also passed on from teachers to students verbally. The Rig Veda, which was written more than 6,000 years ago, contains Ayurvedic teachings and its importance. Ayurveda is a holistic system of healing that integrates the mind, body and spirit and enhances longevity.
What are the basic principles of Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is based on the basic principle that the universe is made up of five elements (panch maha bhutas) namely- Space (Akasha), Air (Vayu), Fire (Tejas), Water (Aap) and Earth (Prithvi).

Man is a part and parcel of this universe and can hardly be considered in isolation. These same elements are represented in humans as well by three "doshas" or energies called Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Whenever any of these doshas pile up in the body beyond the prescribed limits, the person falls ill. The well-being of an individual depends upon acquiring the harmonious balance of the three doshas. Ayurveda recommends eating a proper diet, rising before dawn, doing exercisises and living in tandem with the nature to reduce the excess dosha and living an enriching life.
What are the doshas?

The three doshas or the energies are Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

    • Vata governs the activities of the nervous system, respiration, circulation, speech, and creativity. This dosha is made up of air and ether elements. Vata is considered the leader of the three Ayurvedic principles. To maintain a good health, you need to keep Vata in right balance.
    • Pertaining to water and earth elements, Kapha is responsible for fluid secretions, potency, lubrication and growth.
<li >Pertaining to fire and water elements, Pitta governs digestion, metabolism, and body temperature.
What do you mean by Prakriti or Ayurvedic constitution?

Prakriti means your innate nature and basic constitution. The physical and emotional qualities that you inherit genetically. Prakriti is described by three main doshas i.e. Vata, Pitta and Kapha. In Ayurveda, doshas influence the well-being and physical constitution of a man, either positively or negatively. According to Ayurveda, there are seven dosha-predominant Prakritis namely–

  • Vata-predominant
  • Pitta-predominant
  • Kapha-predominant
  • Vata-Pitta predominant
  • Pitta-Kapha predominant
  • Vata-Kapha predominant
  • Vata-Pitta-Kapha predominant (in this Prakriti all three doshas are equally prominent).
What is the Ayurvedic understanding of the concept of 'balance'?

Ayurveda is an ancient system of healing that integrates the mind, body and spirit to experience a healthy, happy life. According to Ayurveda, to live a happy life you should live in tandem with the nature, have a harmonious relationship with your fellow beings and follow a healthy lifestyle. A healthy individual makes for a healthy society and a body that is balanced holds a spirit that is free - free for spiritual advancement.

What is the Ayurvedic understanding of the concept of 'healthy'?

'Healthy' in Ayurveda is called as 'Swasthya' - one who stays in his 'sva' means self. In Ayurveda, this 'sva' or health involves the entire well-being of the individual that means his consciousness (atman), body (sharira) and mind (manas).

It is not restricted to ideal weight or ideal height -weight ratio or ideal blood counts. According to Ayurveda, every individual is unique. What may be normal for one, may be abnormal for another. Ayurveda recommends returning to nature and encourages people to make responsible choices which promote good physical and mental health.

Do I have to be a vegetarian to follow an Ayurvedic lifestyle?

No, there is no need to switch to vegetarian diet if you don’t want to. Ayurveda recommends the food that is easy to digest. Since animal protein has very low water content, it is difficult to digest. It is the reason Ayurveda prescribes vegetarian food and it is not a mandate.

There are cases when Ayurveda also prescribes meats of several animals, fishes and birds. Follow your Ayurvedic Physician advice when it comes to diet during the treatment.

How is Ayurveda related to Yoga?

Yoga and Ayurveda are two paths that are closely interrelated with each other. While Ayurveda – knowledge of life – is the ancient art and science that keeps the body and mind balanced and healthy, Yoga is the ancient art and science that prepares the body and mind for the eventual liberation and enlightenment of the soul.

Why is Ayurveda a better alternative to other systems of medicine?

Ayurveda considers mental health as a state of spiritual, intellectual, and mental well-being while in Western medicine; we as a material (body) create thoughts.

Advantages of Ayurveda over other systems of medicine:
  • Ayurveda works on a vast model involving the manipulation and understanding of the play of consciousness and not merely matter while western medicine treats only a part of the which is considered as being ill – the material part.
  • The Ayurvedic approach treats the whole person – mentally, socially, physically, emotionally, and spiritually while in western medicine, after extensive diagnostics, often the disease or cluster of symptoms is isolated, and the disease becomes the sole area of attention of the traditional physicians.
  • Since Ayurveda is a natural therapy, it has no or fewer side effects or almost no complications whereas other there may be lots of side effects and several complications in other systems of medicine.
Is Ayurveda treatment a long term healing process?

No. That’s not really true about Ayurveda treatment. Ayurveda appears to take long time to heal ailments because it dissolves the deep rooted cause of the imbalance and hence provides you permanent relief from the same and rejuvenate yourself.

On the other hand, allopathic medicine provides a quick fix and merely suppresses the symptoms. Ayurveda gets to the bottom of your imbalance and help you get rid of your sufferings completely. Though it does take time in complete healing, improvements start to appear in relatively shorter period. The healing of imbalance also depends on factors like age, type of disease, degree of imbalance or whether it is acute or chronic and how many doshas, tissues, organs and channels are involved in the disease process.
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