Ayurveda The Basics
Sonam denotes Ayurveda as “yoga medicine” because it was born out of the same spiritual and devotional culture as was yoga, along with all the other ancient yogic sciences such as Mantra (sacred sounds), Jyotish (Vedic Astrology), and Vastu (Indian Feng Shui) to name a few. Since Westerners are more familiar with Asana (postures) practice and Pranayama (breath-work) it is a joy to inform the Yogic community of this healing dimension of Yoga.
As in Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda is predicated on a theory of five elements, corresponding to the five senses. We then need to understand how these five interact to create the three constitutional types: Vata (air) dosha, Pitta (fire) dosha and Kapha (water) dosha.
What happens when the body is too hot? Too cold? Too damp? Too dry?
Heat potentially comes along with inflammation, rashes, irritability, burning sensations.
Cold denotes a potential hypo-functioning of the body/mind possibly manifesting as anxiety, cold extremities, contraction, low libido, low thyroid, low appetite.
Damp gives way to weight-gain, mucous-membrane congestion/discharge and potentially even the creation of tumors or cysts. Emotionally, dampness is associated with sadness and melancholy.
Dryness as a bodily pattern is easy to see: dry nails, dry hair, dry mucosa, dry skin, dry joints, dry eyes, and emotionally may manifest as an inability to settle down or a feeling of restlessness or bitterness about life.
When ascertaining the cause of the disease process, we start with the most obvious possibility instead of looking for the least likely possibility.
Knowledge of one’s own constitutional type is a key to understanding oneself and others, as well as a key to success on the yogic path of spiritual development.