For 5,000 years Ayurveda has prevailed as a timeless system of natural healing that originated in the Vedic culture of India. Although its history spans this far back, it has withstood the test of time, through many cultures, and is recently experiencing a resurgence in popularity, even in the Western world.
According to Ayurvedic Healing, Ayurveda is defined in the following way:
More than a mere system of treating illness, Ayurveda is a science of life (Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge). It offers a body of wisdom designed to help people stay vital while realizing their full human potential. Providing guidelines on ideal daily and seasonal routines, diet, behavior and the proper use of our senses, Ayurveda reminds us that health is the balanced and dynamic integration between our environment, body, mind, and spirit.
The knowledge of Ayurveda and its mind-body-spirit approach has been passed down via oral tradition from generation to generation, in cultures around the world. Though its principles were established long before modern medicine came around, Ayurveda applies basic principles to many disciplines of health that are still aptly used in present day. Even in the West, the National Institutes of Health recognizes Ayurveda as a Complementary and Alternative Health System, and it continues to influence many other educational institutions.
Ayurveda is founded on the principle that we are governed by energies, or doshas, because we are a part of nature. These energies influence both our internal and external environments through movement, transformation, and structure. They are known as Vata (or wind), Pitta (or fire), and Kapha (or earth).
Each individual has a unique composition of each of these energies, the goal being to have a symbiotic balance of all. When looking at issues that may arise, they are symptomatic of an imbalance of one or more of the doshas.