That Ayurveda is the science of life is probably not news, but what is really considered healthy according to the Indian philosophy? Here, Ayurvedic Specialist, July Huang gives you the answers.
What Does Healthy Mean in Ayurveda?
Ayurveda: the ancient knowledge of life from India, is called the mother of all medical culture. Together with the global awakening on mind-body-health and the trend of Yoga, Ayurveda is being introduced into the Western Countries and becoming a reference for many mainstream health care providers.
Since Ayurveda is the science of life, we can easily make our life healthier by knowing its concepts. But what does healthy mean in Ayurveda? In classic texts, it says: Dosha is the functional energies, Agni is the digesting fire and mala wastes. When these are balanced we reach Sama: when we are physically healthy.
To become your healthiest self, Ayurveda provides various tailored approaches based on our condition and background, for example with food, Yoga asanas, Pranayama, Meditation, bodywork, herbs, colours, patterns, sounds and so on.
Prakriti & Vikriti
To be able to learn how to use these Ayurvedic tools, you first need to learn who you are: Prakriti, and how you are now: Vikriti. We were born with our natural constitution: the Prakriti, which presents our potential in life. And then there's another constitution: the Vikriti, that shows our imbalances at the present.
We might not be able to find out what our Prakriti is, but at least we can learn how to observe our Vikriti so we can use various Ayurvedic tools to stay balanced. Prakriti and Vikriti both show the quantity of doshic energies we hold and depends on the quantity, it can be a combination of the three doshas equally, more Vata-Pitta, Vata-Kapha or Pitta-Kapha, or very Vata, Pitta, or Kapha.
Vata, Pitta, or Kapha
Each of the three doshic energies has their own unique quality:
- Imagine Vata as the wind - dry, cold, mobile, light, rough and spacy.
- Think of Pitta as the fire - hot, sharp, light and a bit wet.
- Picture Kapha as water - cold, heavy, wet, dancing, soft and cloudy.
We need Vata to keep circulations and movements, Pitta for digesting and understanding, and Kapha for growing and feeling loved.
It can be easier to spot the doshas when they are imbalanced than when they are in balance. The imbalances can be seen on physical appearances:
- When Vata is high you can observe dry skin, cracking joints and muscle stiffness.
- When Pitta is high you can see skin rash, inflamed gums and irritated, burning eyes.
- When Kapha is high you can spot it through a heavy headache, water retention and slow circulation.
The imbalances can also reflect our emotions:
- When Vata is unbalanced, we are more restless and fear and worry becomes stronger.
- When Pitta gets high, it's easier to become irritated, jealous and angry.
- When Kapha increases, it makes us feel attached, addicted or sensitive to sadness and grief.
To balance these doshic energies, you just need to keep this in mind: 'like attracts like, but opposite heals'. So, to take care of Vata we use the qualities of warmth, moisture, grounding, to handle Pitta we take the quality of cooling and heaviness and to pacify Kapha we use heat, dryness and movements. Considering these qualities when we choose food, Yoga practice and attitude will change how we feel physically and mentally and bring us a step closer to our true nature.
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July Huang is an Ayurveda Specialist, Yoga Teacher and founder of Shankha Ayurveda & Yoga Klinikk in Trondheim, Norway. She hosts Ayurveda & Yoga retreats in Norway and gives Ayurvedic Workshops and cooking classes online. To read more about July visit Shankha's website or facebook.