Basics of Ayurveda

        I have written this course from my own experience, and once you will have read this course, you'll be well acquainted with the basic principles of Ayurveda, and can understand the Diagnosis and Treatment part of Ayurveda easily. We an divide into 4 major parts of this course :

 Lesson 1: "Introduction to Ayurveda."

 Lesson 2: "Physiology of Ayurveda- Tridosha -Vata Pitta Kapha."

 Lesson 3: "Prakriti - Body constitution in Ayurveda"

 Lesson 4: "Samprapti - the Disease Process (Pathology) & Chikitsa -Treatment of Disease."


     Lesson 1.        Introduction to Ayurveda

 Ayurveda is a science of life so to know more about it, we must know what is life? Life according to Ayurveda is a Combination of senses, mind, body and soul. So it is clear from this definition of life that Ayurveda is not only limited to body or physical symptoms but also gives a comprehensive knowledge about spiritual, mental and social health.

 The modern society, education, culture and the television everything speaks about materialism. If this is everything why is it so that most of us are unhappy. There is unrest, anxiety, mental tension, fighting and terror every where despite best efforts being made to stop them. This is because some part of our body is not being nourished properly.

  Ayurveda (Sanskrit for "knowledge of life" or "knowledge of longevity") is a comprehensive system of traditional health care that emphasizes the relationship among body, mind, and spirit and is considered to be the traditional system of medicine of India.

 Ayurveda is a science in the sense that it is a complete system.  It is a qualitative, holistic science of health and longevity, a philosophy and system of healing the whole person, body and mind.  Historians have not pinpointed the exact time Ayurveda came into being.  Most agree that Ayurvedic classical texts were written in India between 3,500 and 5,000 years ago. At this time, philosophy and medicine were not separated. Therefore, philosophical views have strongly influenced the Ayurvedic way of thinking.

 There are several aspects to Ayurveda that are quite unique:

 Ayurveda offers reference points for managing treatment decisions specific to each case. Ayurvedic theory is profoundly useful in analyzing individual patient constitution and understanding variations in disease manifestation.

 The Ayurvedic framework can be used to structure working models of the unique state of each patient, and to project a vision or goal for a whole state of health, again unique to each case.

 Ayurveda offers specific recommendations to each individual on lifestyle, diet, exercise and yoga, herbal therapy, and even spiritual practices to restore and maintain balance in body and mind.

Ayurveda sees a strong connection between the mind and the body, a huge amount of information is available regarding this relationship.

 This understanding that we are all unique individuals enables Ayurveda to address not only specific health concerns but also offers explanation as to why one person responds differently than another.


         Lesson 2.        Physiology of Ayurveda:- 

                             Tridosha -Vata Pitta Kapha

 All matter is thought to he composed of five basic elements (panchamahabhutas) which exhibit the properties of earth (prithvi), water (jala), fire (tejas), wind (vayu) and space (akasha). These elements do not exist in isolated forms, but always in a combination,  in which one or more elements dominate. According to Ayurveda, the human body is composed of derivatives of these five basic elements,  in the form of doshas, tissues (dhatus) and waste products (malas). 

The most fundamental and characteristic principle of Ayurveda is called "tridosha" or the Three Humours. Doshas are the physiological factors of the body. They are to be seen as all pervasive, subtle entities, and are categorized into vata, pitta and kapha.

 Vata regulates movement and is represented by the nervous system. Pitta is the principle of biotransformation and is the cause of all metabolic processes in the body.

Kapha is the principle of cohesion and functions through the body fluids.

 Together, these three doshas determine the physiologic constitution of an individual. health is described as a balance of all three doshas (bodily Humors). 


The tissues are classified into seven categories: Rasa (plasma), Rakta (blood cells), Mansa ( muscular tissue),  Meda (adipose tissue), Asthi (bony tissue), Majja (bone marrow)  and the Shukra (reproductive tissue). 

Three main waste products are Mutra (urine), Purish (faeces) and Sweda (sweat).            


       Lesson 3        Prakriti - Body Constitution

Prakriti [ Body Constitution]

There are two types of Constitutions of our body

 1. Deha Prakriti (Body Constitution)

 Every individual has a unique combination of the three doshas- Vata, Pitta and Kapha. To understand individuality is the foundation of Diagnosis and Treatment in Ayurveda. Humans are endowed at birth with one of seven different body types,  depending on which dosha or combination of the three basic doshas  dominate. Body types can be dominated by a single humor (vata, pitta, or kapha), or they can be dominated by combinations: vata-kapha (when vata and kapha are present in almost equal amounts);  vata-pitta; pitta-kapha; and vata-pitta-kapha  (when all three doshas are present in almost equal amounts). 

Suppose you have a kapha (water) dominant constitution then you may have a tendency to overweight, over-emotional nature or suffer congestion in the chest. So you should modify your diet, life style, daily routine and other activities accordingly, for example, avoid sleeping too much in the day or eating too many sweets, to maintain your health and also to cure the diseases.

 2. Mana Prakriti (Mental Constitution)

 A person's dosha type is expressed emotionally as well .Vedic philosophy classifies human temperaments into three basic qualities: satva, rajas and tamas. Relative predominance of satva, rajas, or tamas is responsible for  individual psychological constitution.

 Ayurvedic physicians mainly take body type and imbalances among the doshas into consideration when treating a patient.


Lesson 4.      Samprapti - Disease Process  (Pathology)

                           & Chikitsa -Treatment of Disease.

 Samprapti - the Disease Process (Pathology)

 Under normal conditions, the doshas, dhatus and malas correspond to certain standards regarding their quantity, quality and function. However, this situation is not static, and due to several endogenous and exogenous factors, the doshas may become unbalanced, resulting in disease.

 Every disease is related to an imbalance of the doshas. Other coherent factors can be: the disturbance of the biological factors (agnis). The formation and accumulation

of undigested nutrients (ama). Obstruction of the body channels (shrotorodha), and  disturbed assimilation in the tissues.

 Chikitsa, Disease Management (Pharmacology and Treatment)

  There are four main classifications of management of disease in Ayurveda: shodan or cleansing; shaman or palliation; rasayana or rejuvenation; and satvajaya or mental hygiene.

 Ayurveda gives us a model to look at each individual as a unique makeup of the three doshas (Prakruti) and thereby design treatment protocols that specifically address a

persons health challenges. When any of the doshas ( Vata, Pitta or Kapha ) become imbalance, Ayurveda will suggest specific lifestyle and nutritional guidelines to assist the individual in reducing or increasing the doshas that has become imbalance.

 The materia medica of the Ayurveda, composed of the five basic elements, has been categorized according to the derivatives of these elements. They include: taste (rasa), potency (virya), taste of the digestion product (vipaka), properties (guna), specific properties (prabhava) and action (karman).

 The drugs used in Ayurveda are made by several processes from vegetable and mineral raw materials. Mostly plant alkaloids are the active ingredients. Obviously barring

 some chemical changes it is mostly natural deviates.

  If toxins in the body are abundant, then a cleansing process  known as "Pancha Karma" is recommended to eliminate these unwanted toxins. This "panchkarma" or Five internal cleansing  methods, is a most profound therapy in Ayurveda.