Ayurveda is India’s traditional, natural system of medicine that has been practiced for more than 5,000 years.
Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word that literally translated means "science of life" or "practices of longevity." Ayurveda was the system of health care conceived and developed by the seers (rishis) and natural scientists through centuries of observations, experiments, discussions, and meditations. For several thousand years their teachings were passed on orally from teacher to student; about the fifth to sixth century BC, elaborately detailed texts were written in Sanskrit, the ancient language of India.
Most of the formal systems of Ayurveda were codified in two texts, the Charaka Samhita and the Sushruta Samhita around 600 BC.According to Charaka, "The three-body, mind and soul - are like a tripod, the world stands by their combination; in them everything abides. It is the subject matter of ayurveda for which the teachings of ayurveda have been revealed."
For many years Ayurveda flourished and was used by rich and poor alike in India and Southeast Asia.
Ayurveda emphasizes prevention of disease, rejuvenation of our body systems, and extension of life span. The profound premise and promise of Ayurveda is that through certain practices, not only can we prevent heart disease and make our headaches go away, but we can also better understand ourselves and the world around us, live a long healthy life in balance and harmony, achieve our fullest potential, and express our true inner nature on a daily basis.
Ayurveda provides an integrated approach to preventing and treating illness through lifestyle interventions and natural therapies. It is based on the view that the elements, forces, and principles that comprise all of nature - and that holds it together and make it function - are also seen in human beings. In Ayurveda, the mind (or consciousness) and the body (or physical mass) not only influence each other - they are each other. Together they form the mind-body. The universal consciousness is an intelligent, aware ocean of energy that gives rise to the physical world we perceive through our five senses. Ayurvedic philosophy and practices link us to every aspect of ourselves and remind us that we are in union with every aspect of nature, each other, and the entire universe.
There can be no mental health without physical health, and vice versa. In Ayurveda, symptoms and diseases that could be categorized as mental thoughts or feelings are just as important as symptoms and diseases of the physical body. Both are due to imbalances within a person, and both are treated by restoring the natural balance mentally and physically. In Ayurveda your whole life and lifestyle must be in harmony before you can enjoy true well being. Lifestyle interventions are a major Ayurvedic preventive and therapeutic approach.
In Ayurveda, all bodily processes are believed to be governed by a balance of three elements called the doshas.The three main doshas (medical humours) are:
Vata (resembling the classical element air), Pitta (fire), and Kapha (water). Each is present in every individual, but the extent varies, creating hundreds of differing constitutions.
Whichever dosha appears to dominate a person's behavior and physique is called his constitution type. Each constitution type has particular strengths and susceptibilities.
Vata, composed of air, governs all movement in the mind and body and must be kept in good balance. Too much vata leads to worries, insomnia, cramps and constipation.
Vata controls blood flow, elimination of wastes, breathing and the movement of thoughts across the mind. Vata activates the nervous system, hearing and speech and expresses
as enthusiasm and creativity. Vata also controls the other two principles, Pitta and Kapha, and is usually the first cause of disease.
Pitta is said to be composed of fire and water; it governs all heat, metabolism and transformation in the mind and body. It controls how we digest food, how we metabolize our sensory perceptions, and how we discriminate between right and wrong. Pitta must be kept in balance, too. Too much Pitta can lead to anger, criticism, ulcers, rashes and thinning hair. A balanced Pitta mind makes one a good leader with a warm personality.
Kapha is the watery humour. Kapha cements the elements in the body, providing the material for physical structure. This dosha maintains body resistance and lubricates the joints.
It provides moisture to the skin; it helps to heal wounds and fills the spaces in the body; it gives biological strength, vigor and stability; it supports memory retention; it gives energy to the heart and lungs and maintains immunity. Kapha is responsible for emotions of attachment, greed and long-standing envy; it is also expressed in tendencies toward calmness, forgiveness and love." Too much Kapha leads to lethargy and weight gain, as well as congestion and allergies.
The most comprehensive Ayurvedic facilities in the are to be found at Kalari Kovilakom Palace, and Somatheeram, two destinations for full Ayurvedic treatments. These cover anti-stress, weight loss, beauty and anti-ageing, complete with authentic kitchens, diet and other therapies, accompanied with Yoga and meditation..