Ayurveda: The Science of Life
From tongue scraping to Golden Milk, Ayurveda has everyone talking at the moment. Elena, currently teaching at Villa Surya is a certified Ayurvedic masseuse,
so it seems like a good time to learn more about it.
Ayurveda is an intricate system of healthcare that originated in India over 5,000 years ago. It is believed to be the oldest healing science in existence, forming the foundation of all others. The direct sanskrit translation is “Science of Life”, and as the sister science of yoga, which balances the mind, Ayurveda balances the body.
The basic premise of Ayurveda is that the entire universe is part of one singular absolute - everything that exists in the universe also appears in the human body. The ancient Ayurvedic text, the Charaka says: ‘man is the epitome of the universe. Within man, there is as much diversity as in the world outside. Similarly, the outside world is as diverse as human being themselves’. So Ayurveda aims to align our internal natures with the larger cycles of nature, creating balance in ourselves, and with the world around us.
Ayurveda emphasises the prevention of disease, the rejuvenation of our body systems, and the extension of our life spans, using therapies typically based on complex herbal compounds, minerals and metals.
In Ayurveda, symptoms and diseases that could be categorised 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 one’s natural balance - mentally and physically. In Ayurveda your whole life and style must be in harmony with nature before you can enjoy wellbeing. Lifestyle interventions are a major part of Ayurveda’s preventative and therapeutic approach. To be able to bring that balance, you must be able to understand your own nature, which Ayurveda tells us is based on three doshas.
The doshas are biological energies found throughout the human body and mind; they govern all physical and mental processes and provide every living being with an individual blueprint for health. Just as every individual is unique, so their needs to maintain wellbeing will be different. The doshas derive from the five elements and each person is made up of all three doshas, but usually one or two dominate. Vata is composed of space and air.
- Vata energy controls bodily functions associated with motion, including blood circulation, breathing, blinking and your heartbeat.
- Pitta is composed of fire and water. Pitta energy controls the body’s metabolic systems, including digestion, absorption, nutrition
and your body’s temperature.
- Kapha is earth and water. Kapha energy that controls growth in the body. It supplies water to all body parts, moisturises the skin,
and maintains the immune system.
Understanding your personal dosha constitution (‘Prakriti’) is essential to making Ayurveda work for you. Take this Ayurveda test to find out more.
Modern scientific research is fast proving that Ayurveda, the science of life, and Yoga, the science of the body, can have a far-reaching impact on both the physiological and psychological causes of many health complaints. Published studies have documented reductions in cardiovascular disease risk factors, including blood pressure, cholesterol, and reaction to stress in individuals who practice Ayurvedic treatment and lifestyle methods.
So how can you easily incorporate Ayurveda into your daily routine? Massage is a key part of Ayurvedic therapy. Just as a machine needs to be oiled, the body loves to have its largest organ, the skin, soothed. Elena swears by a daily 15 min self massage with oil for a bit of self care. Elena is with us at Villa Surya until the end of April for Ayurvedic massage treatments and private and group yoga classes.