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What Is Ayurveda?

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By Kelly Murphy, AHC

Ayurveda is the oldest system of medicine in the world, Yoga’s sister science and the world’s most sophisticated and powerful mind-body health systems. 


More than a system of treating illness, Ayurveda is literally a science of life (Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge). The path of healing through Ayurveda empowers us to take back control of our own health and live a life that supports our mind, body and soul.


To create a healthy body and mind, Ayurveda looks at breathing and eating as the two most important bodily functions. When you meditate, the mind is able to relax and restore balance. Similarly, when you learn how and what to eat, you begin nourishing your unique mind-body constitution.


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Doshas or Mind-Body Types

Ayurveda defines physiology in terms of three forces called doshas:

Vata (Air & Ether) - Governs motion and circulation in the body. 


Pitta (Fire & Water) - Governs metabolism and digestion.


Kapha (Earth & Water) - Governs structure and fluid balance. 


Each person has all three of these doshas within them. The balance of these doshas at the moment of conception defines what Ayurveda calls one’s constitution or “prakruti”. That is our true nature and optimal moment of health. As we grow and take in our environment through our five senses, the doshas fluctuate and cause different imbalances in the body and mind. This is called “vikruti”. The goal of Ayurveda is to restore the proper balance of the doshas.