The Six Treasures of Ayurveda
Ayurveda is the oldest system of medicine in the world today. It is found at the root of Chinese Medicine, Tibetan Medicine and the Early Greek Medicine of Hippocrates. Here are six principles for understanding Ayurveda:
Anadi: literally means ‘not created’. It refers to the fact that Ayurveda was not originated, but was discovered from the observation of nature, to which humans belong; it has remained unchanged for at least 5,000 years and is applicable to our time because it is based on universal principles.
The Five Element Theory: Ayurveda observes in nature an intelligence that governs the functioning of the whole universe and explains that in the language of the five elements (ether, air, fire, water and earth); the building blocks of all creation.
The Three Doshas: When these elemental forces appear within the human physiology they are called doshas. The three doshas are vata, the principle that governs all movement, pitta, which governs all the processes of transformation and kapha which is responsible for cohesion, growth and lubrication.
Prakruti and Vikruti: Each of us is born with a unique combination of the five elements (or the three doshas) – this is our prakruti. When this inborn constitution becomes imbalanced it is called vikruti. By various forms of evaluation, including pulse reading, we can understand our own inborn constitution and we can better know how to balance our life and achieve our ideal state of health with proper diet, lifestyle and herbal supplements.
Agni: When our internal fire of digestion, or agni, is low, no matter what we eat, it will not be appropriately transformed. When food is not properly metabolized, it results in a toxic waste called aam. Ayurveda always seeks to awaken and support the internal fire or agni.
Parinam: This refers to the negative and ever changing effect of the seasons on our health. Ayurveda considers health to be a state of balance of body, mind, emotion and external environment. It is not possible to merely address the problem or sickness only. Imagine a tree whose leaves are discolored. Ayurveda tends to the root of the tree, as well as the leaf and the environment around the tree (or individual) to bring it back into balance.
Lord Dhanvantari, said to have given the knowledge of Ayurveda to the sages of ancient India.