New Delhi: Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine and life science that originated in India, which considers life as an understanding of the body-mind-spirit complex and health as a balance between them. It forms part of the ‘Atharvaveda’ and offers a holistic approach to wellness. Ayurveda uses a variety of natural remedies including herbs, dietary changes, detoxification techniques and lifestyle recommendations to address the root cause of illnesses rather than just treating the symptoms.
In this regard, Coordinating Therapist and Naturopathic Specialist SC Sharma said, “As a physician, I have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of Ayurveda in improving people’s overall well-being. Ayurveda emphasizes balance between body, mind and spirit and recognizes that true health is achieved when these elements are in harmony. This holistic approach includes personalized treatment plans that take into account each individual’s constitution, lifestyle and environment.”
“By restoring balance and harmony to the body, Ayurveda not only relieves physical ailments, but also promotes mental clarity, emotional stability and spiritual growth.
According to Sharmilee Kapur, co-founder and director of Atmantan Wellness Centre, “An authentic and traditional Ayurveda treatment is one where the body’s personality type or ‘Prakruti’ (based on Dosha) along with the health problems or ‘Vikruti’ are analyzed and diagnosed.”
“Following this diagnosis, a detailed treatment protocol, along with a dosha-specific diet, is devised. This takes the body on a journey of balance that begins with the preparatory stage and progresses to the cleansing stage followed by the final stage of rejuvenation. This journey of discovery and the awakening of the natural healing energies within us is the kind of profound holistic well-being that Ayurveda benefits from,” she added.
Let’s know more about the doshas:
Panchamahabhuta and Doshas:
It states that all of nature, including our body, is made up of five elements – Earth (Prithvi), Water (Jal), Fire (Agni), Air (Vayu) and Space (Aakash) and that each individual has a unique body-mind constitution comprising the ‘Doshas’. Doshas are biochemical and physiological forces that combine these five elements and run throughout the body. These are ‘Vata’, ‘Pitta’ and ‘Kapha’.
‘Vata’ Dosha – A combination of Air (Vayu) and Space (Aakash) elements, it is responsible for any kind of movement within the body. Vata’s presence helps us to breathe, speak, move and excrete. An unbalanced ‘Vata’ results in a host of problems often associated with gas, flatulence, migraines, fatigue, nervousness or pain in any part of the body.
‘Pitta’ Dosha – A combination of Fire (Agni) and Water (Jal) elements, it is responsible for metabolism, digestion, blood purification and transformation within the body. An unbalanced ‘Pitta’ can lead to a build up of excess heat in the liver, leading to anger, aggression and frustration. It also causes acidity, liver and gallbladder disorders, inflammation and dryness in the hands.
Dosha ‘Kapha’ – A combination of the Water (Jal) and Earth (Prithvi) elements and is responsible for structural development and lubrication within the body and governs the growth of the ‘dhatus’ (body tissues) – blood, fat, muscle, bone, marrow and other fluids. An unbalanced Kapha leads to water retention in the body, sluggishness, drowsiness and lack of motivation to move.
According to Akshi Khandelwal, who is the founder, CEO of Butterfly Ayurveda, “These doshas are present in every cell of the body and determine the body structure, weight, structure, bone density, digestion, metabolism, likes and dislikes and disposition etc. Rakriti “enables one to make better decisions regarding all aspects of life.”
“Most health problems and lifestyle disorders today are a result of psychosomatic disorders. Treatment of psychosomatic disorders has always been a part of Ayurveda and practices such as Yoga (which is the ‘union’ of body and mind), meditation, ‘Pranayama’ (breathing exercises), marma therapy and herbal treatments prescribed in Ayurveda help to remove such disorders while aligning general health and wellness needs,” she added.
She also spoke about therapies that have been used for centuries to promote physical, mental and emotional well-being. Here are some listed by her:
- Dinacharya: Maintain a healthy daily routine that promotes self-care through different daily activities. It tunes us in with nature, making us more self-aware. Practices like ‘Yoga’ and meditation were prescribed to be part of one’s ‘dincharya’.
- Ritucharya: Balanced diet, routine and lifestyle are important aspects of Ayurveda. Eating fresh foods appropriate for the doshas aligned with the changing seasons allows our bodies and minds to cope with seasonal changes.
- Panchakarma: This includes biopurification methods to help eliminate waste from the body and induce relaxation.
- Rasayana Shastra: These mean rejuvenation therapies to boost immunity and develop healthy body tissues using herbal remedies including the use of metals.
- Pickles Rasayana: A part of ‘Rasayana’ therapy focusing on code of conduct and behavior to help with psychosomatic illnesses. The term ‘Psychosomatic’ implies the connection of the body with the mind.
Ayurveda and Wellness:
Throughout ancient times, wellness has always held a prominent position in India, especially due to our association with Ayurveda, Yoga and the Buddha. Ayurveda, known for its myriad benefits, strengthens the immune system, reduces stress, improves intestinal, cardiovascular and neurological health, prevents disease and restores balance to our bodily pathways.
To embark on a journey towards wellness, one can adopt simple Ayurvedic habits, suggested by Sharmilee Kapur, such as:
- Starting the day with oil pulling.
- Engage in cleansing kriyas.
- Allocate time for meditation and Yoga during the day (Ayurveda recommends easy 20-minute exercises daily).
- Incorporating seasonal and locally sourced produce infused with healing spices into the diet.
- Opt for a light dinner instead of a heavy meal before bed.
- Establish a regular sleep schedule for waking up early in the morning (strive for 7-8 hours of sleep between 10 pm and 4 am).