Ayurveda 101

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What is Ayurveda and why does it matter

Shall I not have intelligence with the earth?  
Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself ? – Henry David Thoreau

Have you ever been under so much pressure you felt like you were going to explode? Have you noticed in those moments that gazing out a window, going for a walk, or simply throwing water on your face eases the tension and even promotes peace?
Have you ever started the day so groggy and sluggish you wonder how you will make it through the day – but then you dragged yourself out for exercise and suddenly felt awake, clear-minded and ready for anything? Have you noticed the tendency to dive under cover when the winds are fierce or how much more rest you need in the winter?
If any of these experiences are familiar, then you have observed the science of Ayurveda and are already putting its practices to work for you.
Ayurveda is the science of “Know Thyself.” The more we know about the uniqueness of ourselves, the more we can create the balance that is necessary for any healing to occur while also enjoying vitality, ease, contentment and abundance in our lives.
Knowing yourself begins with knowing your constitution and the lifelong tendencies it expresses. In Ayurveda we call this Prakriti, meaning your nature, your mind-body-spirit complex. Because the only constant in nature is change, Vikriti looks at your state of being now, and all the factors contributing, to restore you to your Prakriti. Both Prakriti and Vikriti arise from the five elements.

To articulate our individual tendencies, Ayurveda explains that we are each microcosms of the macrocosm – that the universe is within each being. The universe is seen as comprised of five prime elements ~ space, air, fire, water, earth, and some combination of these elements is found everywhere in nature, including in each human being as an expression of nature. 

These elements, in their biological form, create Doshas, or tendencies toward imbalance. There are three Doshas: Vata, a combination of air and space; Pitta, a combination of fire and water; and Kapha, water and earth. 

Each of us has all five elements in our being, but every individual is born with a unique combination of these elements that gives a tendency towards one dosha – Vata, Pitta or Kapha – throughout our lives.

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