Ayurveda is a complete healing modality that deals with preventative health, health improvement, health maintenance and the treatment of disease. It teaches you how to care for your health at all levels of your being. It utilises herbal, dietary and lifestyle modifications to facilitate healing and wellbeing. Its speciality and strength lie in the individualised approach it offers, and it treats the individual by identifying and addressing the underlying causes of the disease, stimulating the body's natural tendency to heal itself.
The word Ayurveda means wisdom of life. Ayurveda is acknowledged by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and is trusted by millions of people all over the world. The Health Institute offers clinical health, preventative and dietary consultations, treatments and study courses in ayurveda.
Two elegant and practical features of Ayurveda are the concepts of prakruti, an individual's basic, unique, natural constitution and vikruti, which is the individual's current imbalance. Staying within the range of your natural, healthy constitution, your prakruti would be optimum health for you.
Vikruti: Your current imbalance
Vikruti is a sanskrit word that loosely translates as a 'changed condition of body, mind and consciousness'. In Ayurveda, it is often used to describe your current state of health (or ill-health) in relation to your prakruti, or natural health. While prakruti governs permanent characteristics, vikruti reflects temporary changes, such as gaining or losing weight, feeling nervous, angry or irritable, developing a cold or the flu, etc.
Arising from environmental, emotional or physical conditions and/or stress, the biological forces (doshas) of vata (wind), pitta (fire) and kapha (earth) can increase (or, less often, decrease) beyond its natural equilibrium and what is appropriate for your constitution. Vitiated doshas may cause imbalances in the body and/or mind. This imbalance or vikruti creates an environment that is more hospitable to disease than if the prakruti (constitution) is balanced and healthy.
Regardless of your constitution type, any of the three doshas can increase, however, your most dominant dosha often increases more quickly than the other doshas, because we tend to perpetuate what we know best. This is especially true for vata because it has a mobile quality that makes it quick to vitiate. Gratefully, it can be the easiest to bring back to balance, for the same reason.
For example increased vata may lead to anxiety or nervousness, increased pitta may lead to a skin rash and increased kapha may lead to an overweight condition. These are usually temporary conditions that can be addressed by bringing the doshas back into balance. Ayurvedic ways to bring an increased dosha back into balance are through diet, lifestyle, Ayurvedic herbal supplements and treatments.
Regular consultations from a trained Ayurvedic practitioner who provides an integrated approach to principles of lifestyle and health imbalance using diet, herbs, massage and treatments, with a regular self-care home program is excellent preventative and corrective medicine.
To find out if any of your doshas are currently increased, please answer the questionaire below based on your current condition rather than according to what is usually true, used to be true or you wish were true.
Ayurvedic Herbal Supplements
Ayurvedic herbal supplements can be used to reduce or pacify one or more of the doshas that have increased in your body. So, for instance, if you have too much pitta (fire) in your body, this may manifest as burning heat, redness, rash - then you would choose a herb, or combination of herbs that are cooling, and thereby reduce of pacify pitta. There are also some herbal formulations such as Triphala and Shilajit that are balancing for all doshas.
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