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Basics Of Ayurveda

ayurveda basics, meaning and elements

Ayurveda is an ancient Indian science, which contains medical knowledge that is relevant even today. Its origin can be traced back to the Vedas, universally accepted as the oldest available texts. 
Ayurveda comprises of two words, ayus and veda. The english interpretation of ayus is life. In the Vedic context, the definition of life is the union of the mind, body, senses and soul. It is the energy and the vitality and is eternal. 
"Ayurveda is the knowledge of the entire span of life, including beneficial and detrimental ways of living, how to achieve happiness, and how unhappiness is created." (Caraka Sutra Sthana, 1:41

There are two basic principles of ayurveda:  

  • To maintain the health of a healthy person 
  • To cure the sick or ill person  
To maintain the health of the healthy entails adherence to specific diet and nutrition, hygiene, living habits, exercises and techniques of relaxation. The second aspect, curing the sick, relates to various diseases, their causes, diagnosis, remedies and therapies to cure and prevent the relapse of illness. 

Ayurveda is divided into eight specialized branches:    

  • General medicine / Kaya Chikitsa 
  • Pediatrics / Kaumara Bhritya 
  • Eye, ear, nose, throat and its surgery / Shalakya Tantra 
  • General surgery / Shalya Tantra 
  • Toxicology / Agada Tantra 
  • Rejuvenation therapies / Rasayana Chikitsa 
  • Psychiatry / Graha Chikitsa 
  • Fertility and virility / Vrisha Chikitsa  
Acording to ayurveda everything in this universe is a combination of five basic elements called Panchmahabhutas. The five basic elements are:  
  • Earth / Prithvi 
  • Water / Jal 
  • Fire / Agni 
  • Air / Vayu 
  • Ether / Aakash  
These eternal elements manifest in human body as Tridosha – three basic principles or subtle energies: Vata, Pitta and Kapha dosha
The air and the ether elements combine together to form the Vata dosha. The fire element constitutes the Pitta dosha. Earth and water elements combine to form Kapha dosha. They are the primary and essential factors of the human body that govern our entire physical structure and function, and they are responsible for all the physiological and psychological processes, physical characteristic, mental capacity and the emotional tendencies. 
Read more about doshas HERE.

Author: Ayurveda Tutorials

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