‘Ayur’ means life and ‘Veda’ means science. Ayurveda is the science of creating and maintaining a healthy life naturally, i.e. by living in sync with nature. The origins of this deep system of knowledge from ancient India dates back almost 2000- 5000 years. Over the centuries it was further organized, systematically arranged, and written down so that it continues to be accessible to the world today.
One may ask how this ancient system is relevant in the modern world. As doctors who have spent more than half of our lives in the study and practice of Western medicine, you may wonder why we are intrigued by Ayurveda! However, the more you look around at humanity today and how we have moved farther and farther away from mother nature, it does not take long to realize that we have forgotten our identity as a part of nature itself. We have made enormous scientific progress and made our lives more comfortable than ever before. We can adjust the temperature of our surroundings, purchase fruits and vegetables grown in another corner of the world irrespective of the season, travel across the world within a day, accurately predict the weather to protect ourselves from natural disasters, perform robotic surgeries and treat life threatening conditions with advanced medical equipment.
Nevertheless, in the process of making spectacular scientific breakthroughs, we have inadvertently polluted our environment. Food additives, genetically modified produce, greenhouse gases, and harmful pesticides that we engineered have started affecting our health as a species. Lack of exercise and processed foods have resulted in a rise of chronic conditions such as diabetes and prediabetes, obesity, and certain cancers. While there is no easy solution, we believe that a return to nature for foods, rediscovering the use of ancient grains, and a healthy lifestyle will play a huge role in prevention of disease and preservation of health. Ayurveda can be a supplement to Western medicine in this regard. Understanding the age-old principles of Ayurveda can help renew balance and harmony in our lives while we explore, discover, and continue on the path of scientific advancements.
What is the core of Ayurveda? The fundamental basis of an Ayurvedic way of living is in recognizing that each individual has a unique body composition and psychological personality. We are essentially made of different permutations and combinations of the elements and energies of nature. While modern medicine has only recently started adopting genetics and precision medicine for personalized targeted treatment approaches, the science of Ayurveda is essentially based on this individuality of each person. It sets personal guidelines for what to eat, when to eat, how to create internal balance with changing seasons and environmental fluctuations. Furthermore, it extends its dimensions beyond the physical and psychological boundaries to encompass a person’s emotional, intellectual and spiritual wellbeing.
Ayurveda teaches, “life is a combination of body, mind, senses and soul.” Thus, its purpose is to provide guiding principles to make you healthy, happy, balanced, harmonious and peaceful.
The Five Elements of Ayurveda
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