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Ayurveda

A holistic ancient Indian lifestyle is introduced to the West.

DEFINITION Start the Diet Now Advertisement

Even though Ayurveda has been around for thousands of years, it has only recently received recognition in the West. For most Western and industrialized countries, Ayurveda falls into the category of alternative or complementary health.

Ayurveda is an ancient system of healing that originated in India thousands of years ago. It is a holistic system of health that uses food and lifestyle principles with the primary goal of leading a disease-free life. The word itself is comprised of two Sanskrit terms: “ayur” meaning life and “veda” meaning knowledge.

According to Ayurveda, we are comprised of the same five elements that are found in nature. These five elements are ether (space), air, fire, water, and earth. When these elements are present in the environment, such as in food we eat or the climate we live, they will have an effect on how we feel, think and act.

Since we carry the same elements that are also found in nature, we are related to not just one another, but the universe as well. When any parts of these relationships are out of balance, disease results.

The primary intention of Ayurveda is to achieve a balanced state of mind, body and spirit.

THE DOSHAS

Ayurveda takes these five elements and combines them based upon their similar characteristics. In doing so, it creates three doshas or constitutions. It is believed that we are all comprised of three doshas, which are part of these five basic overriding elements. Your doshic constitution reveals a lot about you including your personality, your body and how you interact with the world around you.

  • Vata dosha: Ether and air combine to create this dosha. Vata dosha therefore has to do with circulation, nerves, movement, respiration and elimination. It is the impulse dosha.

  • Pitta dosha: Fire and water combine to create this dosha. Pitta dosha has to do with transformation and metabolism and how our body turns nutrients into energy. It is the energy dosha.

  • Kapha dosha: Earth and water combine to create this dosha. Kapha dosha has to do with structure and lubrication such as cerebral spinal fluid and mucus. It is the body fluid dosha.

These three doshas each contain characteristics that determine their function and location in the body. They operate in each of us and they vary in level of dominance in our bodies.

When the three doshas are balanced, a state of optimal health and well-being is achieved. Disease is therefore caused by an imbalance of these constitutions working in relation to one another.

TREATMENT

Ayurveda relies on herbs, nutrition, massage and a host of lifestyle choices as forms of its treatment. In the United States, Ayurvedic medications are regulated under the dietary category and therefore are not required to meet the rigorous standards for conventional medicines.

It is always important to tell your primary care physician about any alternative and complementary treatments you are taking.

A qualified and trained Ayurvedic doctor will conduct an exam by taking your pulse and asking you questions about your overall health including eating, sleeping, digestion, exercise patterns as well as your medical history. Many will also do a birth chart reading, which reveals necessary information on your constitution, personality and life events.

The doctor will then recommend a treatment plan for you, which will include dietary, exercise, lifestyle and herbal recommendations for you to follow for a set amount of time. The treatment plan is intended to restore the balance of one particular dosha.

If herbs are recommended for you to take, it is necessary that you receive information on where to purchase pure and high quality Ayurvedic products.

A follow-up visit is then necessary to monitor progress.

SEEKING TREATMENT

Many Ayurvedic doctors or practitioners in the West hold a Western medical degree and then receive extended Ayurvedic training at a Ayurveda school in the United States or in India. Be aware that the U.S. does not have any national standard to train or certify Ayurvedic doctors. It is therefore recommended that you ask your primary medical doctor for a referral to an Ayurvedic doctor.

Common Misspellings

Ayyurveda, Ayurvedda, Iyerveda, Iyurveda, Ayerveda, ayurvda, ayervedic diet, ayurveda diet, deepak chopra diet


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(Page 1 of 1, 11 total comments)

roopa nair

my weigh is 67 hight 5.2 pls any suggestions?

posted Dec 6th, 2012 9:25 am


rick roux

WOW. Great info! Thank you for sharing this wisdom with the world.

Om Shanti,

posted Jun 18th, 2010 7:27 pm



Yakbak

Awesome!

posted Jul 31st, 2009 9:09 pm


hashare

Outlining an Ayurvedic eating plan really depends upon your doshic composition. But once you have determined what your primary dosha is, eating in a way that pacifies or aggravates it can be pretty simple. I recommend, Eat-Taste-Heal, an Ayurvedic Cookbook for Modern Living by Thomas Yarema. Recipes are pretty easy to follow and can be modified for any dosha type and the book includes a questionnaire to help you determine your primary dosha.

posted Mar 1st, 2009 4:19 pm


Jeanene

I really like it all but would love to have a really great eating plan, any suggestions? This method is sometimes hard to understand.

posted Feb 27th, 2009 1:28 pm



Brandi

Thank you Mary. Correction made.

posted Feb 16th, 2009 11:27 am


Mary

In the 3rd paragraph of your definition of this diet, "either" should be "ether" -

posted Feb 15th, 2009 4:00 pm


suma

i would like to loose some weight can you sujjest me a good diet plan

posted Nov 4th, 2008 9:07 am


valerie b.

this is a great introduction to ayurveda! i've been doing research and this is one of the most succinct and knowledgeable explanations i've found.

posted Oct 5th, 2008 4:56 pm


sherry

I follow most of the ayurveda lifestyle in eating. I started by first reading Deepak Chopra's "Perfect Health." There's a questionnaire to take that will determine your doshas - you can be one dosha or, as is usually the case, a combination of 2. The book shows you what your dosha type should primarily eat. There's no magic or double-talk in this book about ayurvedic eating. It's sound and safe, you're not doing anything out of the ordinary except that you're eating more normally and more nutritionally. It's a common sense lifestyle that encourages eating fresh and organic foods before stuffing yourself with supplements and junk food. Anyway, I think we'd all be healthier if we all ate the way people did 75 years ago.

posted Jun 11th, 2008 10:03 pm


candess

this is actually really intresting. have heard some things about it. can't be anything wrong with a "natural" lifestyle i guess.

posted May 8th, 2008 4:12 pm



   
 

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