Ayurveda is based on the Samkhya philosophy of creation, which translates from Sanskrit as 'to know the truth' (sam means 'truth', and khya means 'to know'). Therefore, the philosophy is centered on discovering and knowing the truth of life.
The ancient rishis of the time discovered such truth through practice in their daily lives; the key realization being that the source of all existence is Cosmic Consciousness which creates through male and female energy (known as Shiva and Shakti).
All things living and non-living are a manifestation of such consciousness.
One of the seers, Kapila, noted 24 principles in the manifestation of the universe; of which the energy of creativity (Prakruti) is most basic. Prakruti is responsible for all the form in the universe and is the Divine Will or awareness with choice, for it is said that she is the Divine Mother who birthed the universe from her womb. Purusha is the male energy, a passive awareness witnessing the creation of the universe and containing primordial physical energy. Therefore, there is energy without matter but there cannot be matter without energy. The Samkhya philosophy of creation provides useful in contextualizing some of the experiences’ students have during their scared medicine journey.
Ayurveda lifestyle and nutrition
This 5,000-year-old holistic system of healing originated from ancient India. Today, it is thought to be the oldest healing system on Earth. Translated from Sanskrit, Ayurveda means the 'knowledge of life' (Ayur means life and veda means knowledge). The premise of Ayurveda is that one is not separate from the Cosmos, in fact each person is a microcosm of the universe and therefore holds within oneself the ability to self-heal by balancing the energies to create a state of good health, happiness and creative fulfilment. It is truly a life science and disease can significantly be reduced and/ or eliminated if lifestyle and nutrition is understood and practiced within this context.
A key difference between this ancient system and the current western medical field is that Ayurveda treats an individual as a whole while the latter focuses on the individual as a patient. A holistic approach allows us to recognize that there is not a one size fits all cure or medicine for the same dis-ease or issue in two different people; there is no lifestyle or diet that works for all as every individual is unique. The process involves the diagnosis of an individual’s constitution, of which there are three types (doshas) consisting of a dual elemental composition (the five great elements are defined by earth, fire, air, water, ether). When one or more of these elements are not balanced within the body, sickness can occur. Ayurveda therefore focuses on rebalancing and strengthening the elements within the body, through nutrition and lifestyle, in line with its natural state to overcome dis-ease.
Take the quiz – know your divine energy!
One of the fundamental concepts of Ayurveda is the three doshas - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha - which are believed to be the building blocks of our physical and emotional constitution. According to Ayurveda, each person has a unique combination of three doshas, or energies, which govern their physical and mental characteristics. Knowing your dominant dosha can help you make choices about diet, lifestyle, and self-care that can support your overall health and well-being. Understanding your dosha can help you make choices that promote good health and wellbeing.
Take the Ayurveda dosha quiz below to help you determine your dominant dosha and discover a personalized roadmap to a healthier and more balanced life, starting today!
What is your body type?
a) Thin and lanky
b) Medium build with well-defined muscles
c) Large, broad and solid
What is your skin type?
a) Dry and rough
b) Sensitive and prone to rashes
c) Oily and prone to acne
How is your digestion?
a) Irregular and often slow
b) Strong and efficient
c) Fast, with a tendency towards indigestion
What is your sleep pattern?
a) Light and often interrupted
b) Deep and restful
c) Heavy and prolonged
How do you handle stress?
a) Easily overwhelmed and anxious
b) Confident and calm under pressure
c) Tend to be irritable and short-tempered
What is your preferred climate?
a) Warm and dry
b) Moderate and cool
c) Cold and dry
What is your appetite like?
a) Variable, often skipping meals
b) Regular and strong
c) Large and constant
How is your energy level throughout the day?
a) Low in the morning, picking up in the afternoon
b) Steady throughout the day
c) High in the morning, but dropping off in the afternoon
Mostly A's: Your dominant dosha is Vata, which is associated with the elements of air and space. You are likely creative, adaptable, and prone to anxiety and restlessness. To balance your dosha, focus on regular routines and calming practices like yoga and meditation.
Mostly B's: Your dominant dosha is Pitta, which is associated with the elements of fire and water. You are likely energetic, ambitious, and prone to irritability and inflammation. To balance your dosha, focus on cooling practices like swimming and avoiding spicy and acidic foods.
Mostly C's: Your dominant dosha is Kapha, which is associated with the elements of earth and water. You are likely strong, stable, and prone to sluggishness and weight gain. To balance your dosha, focus on regular exercise and incorporating more spicy and pungent foods into your diet.
Knowing your dosha can help you make choices that promote balance and wellbeing in your life. By understanding your unique combination of energies, you can tailor your diet, exercise routine, and self-care practices to suit your needs and avoid imbalances. Consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner for personalized recommendations based on your dosha.