Ayurveda is recognized by the World Health Organization as the oldest system of natural medicine. Ayur is a Sanskrit word meaning life. Veda means knowledge, as in systematized knowledge. This term is the knowledge or science of living beings. It is an eternal knowledge but probably understood and practiced in its present theoretical form for around 3500 years.
Ayurveda aims to perfect the life and its components by maintaining a healthy body and happy mind. When one is happy and physically healthy one's purpose is fulfilled. Further, self-realization is possible when there is balance between body, mind and spirit.
We offer workshops, classes and educational private consultations in ayurveda with leading experts in our Continuing Education Series.
Through the oldest system of natural medicine:
There are many approaches used to improve health in ayurveda: diet, exercise, knowledge, meditation, behavior modification, herbal therapy and more. When we understand our unique health needs and mind/body type, we can begin to change while enjoying the process. Take time to attend our events and make an appointment afterwards for a private consultation with ayurvedic experts.
Learn your unique mind/body type to understand yourself..
According to ayurveda, knowing your mind/body type is essential to understanding yourself. When you find out what is actually going on inside, you will no longer be bound by society's notions of what you should be doing, saying, thinking, and feeling. The mind and body have natural rhythms. All ayurvedic teaching is to establish connection with our natural rhythms.
One of the delights of learning about Ayurveda is its insight into little things you probably dismiss as idiosyncrasies. On TV everybody is urged to drink a glass of orange juice in the morning, but some people get heartburn or an upset stomach from it. This is not abnormal, it is a sign that they fall into a specific body type for which the acid quality of orange juice is not ideal.
A person whose nerves are jangled by a cup of weak coffee is by nature different from someone who downs three cups of black espresso without feeling a thing. When you react to a cup of coffee, a cold draft, criticism from your boss, a love note, or rainy weather, your body type is sending you a signal. It is a very personal signal that you alone can tune in to. If you start to listen to all these signals that are sent to you day by day, minute by minute, you will notice that they affect your moods, behavior, perceptions, tastes, talents, attraction to other people, and much more.
The phrase "body type" is only a hint at what prakruti means: it is really your world, the personal reality you generate from the creative cord inside. More accurately, we might call your prakruti your "psycho-physiological constitutional type," a phrase that includes both mind (psyche) and body (physiology). We are avoiding this phrase for the sake of brevity, but it is worth remembering that your physical body type has a mental aspect as well.
According to ayurvedic theory, every cell sends it's own unique signal to the heart via the bloodstream. These separate signals are then compressed into a single "carrier frequency"- the pulse - which can be decoded to expose what is going on in the liver, or the stomach, the right ventricle of the heart or the left side of the thyroid. One radio wave is all it takes to broadcast an entire symphony; likewise, nature has figured out how to broadcast the entire body's activities via the pulse. A specialist trained in pulse diagnosis can touch your wrist and quickly detect imbalances in Vata, Pitta and Kapha, the doshas involved in promoting health.
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In Ayurveda, different people with the same disease sometimes receive different diets and herbal plans. Each person's constitution and the imbalance found in each individual is taken into account.
With Ayurveda, we acknowledge that beneficial daily habits are different for each person, because each person is a unique combination of the 3 fundamental biological principles, which are called doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Everybody has all 3 energies - although people experience each of them to a lesser or greater degree.
A Vata's frame is usually thin and low in weight with prominent bones and joints. They have thin skin, which is dry and rough with a tendency for prominent veins and cold to the touch. Vata usually will have curly, coarse, dry hair. Their teeth will usually be large, crooked and protrude. Both their head and eyes will be small, quick and unsteady. Vatas have variable and scanty appetites. They will be thin as children and have trouble gaining weight. Vatas like sweet, salty and sour foods like cake, crackers, and pickles. They find oily foods comforting and benefit from ghee, a form of clarified butter. Their thirst varies and they will nurse hot drinks to keep them warm. Their bowels are usually hard and dry, and they are prone to constipation. Vatas are hyperactive and can exhaust easily with restless minds that fantasize. They are extremely creative, artistic, with extreme moods of joyfulness and fear, accomplishment and insecurity, and are often anxious. Vatas are erratic and always unpredictable. They are light sleepers with scanty, interrupted sleep patterns.
Pitta stands with a medium build, height, and bone structure, with soft, oily skin that's warm to the touch. They have fair complexions and burn easily. Pitta's hair is soft and oily and will bald and gray early. They have moderate size, yellowish teeth with soft gums that bleed easily.
Pittas have strong appetites and need large meals to be satisfied, but will not snack. They like sweet, bitter and astringent foods, like candy, green salads and bananas. Pittas like cold drinks. They have frequent bowel movements with soft, oily, loose discharges. Pittas must evacuate immediately when they feel the urge. They are moderately active, but with intensely competitive spirits.
Pitta can be overly assertive and aggressive, highly organized and intelligent, with nearly photographic memories. They become teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, - and get angry when not fed on time! Pittas are easily irritated and can be dangerous when jealous, which happens often. Pittas are fanatical about their faith. Pittas generally sleep short and deep, with sometimes fiery dreams of war and violence. They are good orators, but can be sharp and cutting with their speech.
Kaphas are large, big boned, thick and strong. They stand not too tall, but often as the foundation of society. Kaphas have a tendency to be overweight and can become heavy by just looking at food. Their skin is thick, smooth, cool and oily with a tendency to be pale.
Kapha's hair is thick, wavy, oily with strong even white teeth. They seldom get a cavity. Kaphas have small appetites and eat slowly - many small meals a day - they are the big snackers of society. They like pungent, bitter, and astringent foods like spicy dishes and green salads. But Kaphas especially like dry, crispy things. They rarely drink, and have one full and heavy bowel movement daily.
Kaphas are not very active and must study repeatedly to understand, but will never forget once they learn. Therefore they often prefer repetitious jobs where little innovation is necessary. Kapha people in general are slow, steady and reliable. They are extremely compassionate, forgiving, loving, and patient, often becoming social workers, nurses, and the clergy of different religions. They have a deep, steady faith and highly developed spiritual feelings.
Kaphas sleep deep and long, often dreaming of romantic settings by lakes and rivers, or swimming. They speak slowly in a monotonous voice.
It is important to keep in mind that each of us is a combination of the 3 doshas. In Ayurveda, once you understand your body type or dosha, you can structure a diet for yourself, which will really, work to make you feel totally balanced and harmonized. Similarly you can design an exercise plan, which will benefit your dosha - Kaphas need more stimulation than Vatas, who get frazzled more easily, for example.
Ayurveda herbal formulas are not generic supplements based on the latest health craze. They have been helping people improve their health for thousands of years. One of the most important Ayurvedic herbal supplements is a free-radical-fighting, health-enhancing food supplement called Amrit Kalash.
Hari Sharma, M.D., professor emeritus and former director of cancer prevention and natural products research at the Ohio State University College of Medicine, who wrote 'Freedom from Disease: How to Control Free Radicals, a Major Cause of Aging and Disease' and 'The Answer to Cancer: Is Never Giving It a Chance to Start', put Amrit Kalash to the test. His team set out to compare Amrit Kalash with 3 individual anti-oxidants: Vitamin C, Vitamin E and the well-researched drug probucol. Their findings were dramatic. Weight for weight, the aqueous extracts of Amrit Kalash was several hundred times more potent as a free-radical scavenger than Vitamins C and E and probucol. The alcoholic extracts were even stronger: at least 1,000 times more potent.
The process of making Amrit Kalash hasn't changed since those ancient times when only a select few select knew the formula. Today, Amrit Kalash is still prepared in accordance with the instructions in the traditional texts and passed down by generations of ayurvedic physicians. It takes 250 meticulous steps to prepare Amrit Kalash. 22 pounds of raw ingredients are required to produce a single jar of the Amrit Nectar. The herbs are slow-cooked to protect vital nutrients from high temperatures.
Amrit Kalash is the antioxidant of choice if you can afford it. Studies have shown that Amrit Kalash increases the response of lymphocyte immune cells by 300% to 400%. The antioxidant properties of Amrit Kalash inhibit degenerative processes, including abnormal platelet aggregation (clotting, leading to cardiovascular disease) and the aging process. Among chemotherapy patients, research indicates that Amrit Kalash helps contain anorexia and vomiting.
This page is only meant as a brief overview of Ayurveda. Here are also a few good books, which we recommend to learn more about Ayurveda: