Ayurveda is an ancient system of health care that is native to the Indian subcontinent. The word ’ayur’ literally means life and ’veda’ the science of knowledge. It implies to connected ideas, the science of life and art of living. Pioneered by renowned sages – Susrutha, Charaka and Vagbhata, Ayurveda encompasses a world view that is ecological and eco-centric in spirit. It emphasizes on the preventive rather than the curative aspect of therapy and orients itself towards a healthy and enlightened lifestyle. Harmony, Balance, Integrity, Simplicity, Well-being these are concepts fundamental to the system of Ayurveda. Ayurveda uses very simple, easy to understand principles, to determine individual constitution and the imbalances in it. It considers the individual as a whole connected with the world.
In India, knowledge is believed to be sacred, for all knowledge originated from the Gods. According to the Hindu mythologies, rhapsody of the universe is maintained by ’Trimurtis’ – Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer. At the time of creation, Ayurveda dawned as a ray of enlightenment in the consciousness of Brahma the Eternal Creator. ’Brahma’, the self-existent and the creator composed ayurveda as a branch of Atharva veda. A hundred thousand verses in a thousand chapters divided by him into eight limbs or parts.
The ’Prakruti’ or basic constitutional nature of each individual is determined at the time of conception. The human body is made up of the five great elements earth, water, fire, air and space or the ’Pancha bhoothas’. At this stage, the constitution of the individual is determined by the permutations and combinations of the five basic elements that manifest in the parents ’Sukra’ and ’Arthava’ – Male and Female gametes. Once birth has made its elemental imprint, we cannot alter it to suit our needs.
The various combinations of these elements form the three Doshas – Vatha, Pitha, and Kapha which are forces in the body produced by normal metabolic processes and not physical substances. Ayurveda propounds that when these Doshas are in equilibrium, the body enjoys perfect health. It is their state of this equilibrium that leads to ill health.
Vatha – a combination of air and space. The Vatha is responsible for the movement and sensory functions. It has the power of mobility. Though it pervades the whole body its chief seats according to Charaka are large intestine, urinary bladder, pelvis, legs and bones.
Pitha – is mostly fire with some water. This dosha controls the energy of digestion or metabolism.
Kapha – is mostly water with some earth. This dosha controls the energy of lubrication and structure.
A person can be of any one Prakruti, combination of two Prakruti (Sanisaragaj) or combination of all three (Sannipataj). According to Ayurveda there are seven Prakrutis:
1. Vatha Type
2. Pitha Type
3. Kapha Type
4. Vatha Pitha Type
5. Vatha Kapha Type
6. Pitha Kapha Type
7. Vatha Pitha Kapha Type