Ayurveda

Image courtesy of Todd Caldecott http://www.toddcaldecott.com Ayurveda, the traditional medicinal system from ancient India, has been healing humanity through lifestyle modifications and herbal medicine for over 6000 years. Ayur-veda, meaning the knowledge of life, suggests that our lifestyle be examined before taking medicine. This includes using Yoga practices to improve our life. Maggie integrates her knowledge of Ayurveda into both her public and private Yoga Therapy classes.

There are 8 limbs of Ayurveda (Aṣtanga Cikitsa) including Kaya Cikitsa (Body Therapy = General Medicine). It is a holistic (purna) system: A=B. We are a part of our natural environment and it is part of us! All disease is caused by seeing ourselves as separate from the whole, like a cancer cell which takes care of itself and steals resources from the whole natural environment.

Ayurveda’s goal is to heal the body by dealing with these negative effects of prakrti. It seeks to balance the 5 elements of the body (bhutas): ether (akasha), air (vayu), fire (tejas), water (jalam), and earth (prithivi). These correspond to the 5 senses (tanmatras) respectively: sound, touch, sight, taste, and smell. These are then related to the 5 sense organs and their actions: ears, skin, eyes, tongue, and nose.

See image created by Todd Caldecott

Human Constitution (Prakrti) – The 5 Elements manifest as the 3 Doas of the Body

↑Vata (↑ether and air), ↑Pitta (↑fire and hot water), and ↑Kapha (↑earth and cold water)

5 Elements (Panca Maha Bhutas) - Form 5 Senses -Vibrational 5 Senses Organs (Input) 5 Motor Organs and their Actions (Output)
Ether (Akasha) Vata Sound Ears Mouth, tongue, and vocal cords: Speech
Air (Vayu) Vata Touch Skin Hands: Holding
Fire (Tejas) ↑Pitta Sight Eyes Feet: Walking
Water (Jalam) ↑Pitta and ↑Kapha Taste Tongue Genitals: Sex
Earth (Prithivi) ↑Kapha Smell Nose Anus: Excretion

10 Pairs of Opposite Attributes (Gunas) of the 3 Doas

Attribute Sanskrit Name Doshic Effect Opposite Attribute Sanskrit Name Doshic Effect
1.Heavy Guru ↑Kapha  Light Laghu Vata + Pitta
2.Slow Manda ↑Kapha Sharp/Quick Tiksna Vata + Pitta
3.Cool Sita ↑Kapha +Vata Hot Usna ↑Pitta
4.Lubricant Snigdha ↑Kapha+Pitta Dry Ruksa Vata
5.Smooth Ślaksna ↑Kapha+Pitta Rough Khara Vata
6.Thick Sandra ↑Kapha Liquid Drava ↑Kapha +Pitta
7.Soft Mrdu ↑Kapha+Pitta Hard Kathina ↑Kapha +Vata
8.Stable Sthira ↑Kapha Flowing Sara Vata + Pitta
9.Subtle Suksma Vata + Pitta Corpulent Sthula ↑Kapha
10.Lucid Viśada Vata + Pitta Slimy/Cloudy Picchila ↑Kapha