An Introduction to Ayurveda

by Delight Yoga

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is the sacred and fantastic ancient system of medicine and healing from India, yet throughout regions of the East, there are variations of it such as Tibetan Ayurveda. It is the first-ever recorded system of healing of the physical, mental and energetic body. It offers a profound understanding of each person’s unique body, thereby making the healing process gentle yet incredibly effective. Because it's a gentle approach, the person will not feel worse during the healing phase while removing the toxins, as many other systems of health do. Thereby making it an entire healing process.

The word 'Ayur' comes from the Sanskrit word 'Ayuh' which means life and the word 'Veda' means wisdom or knowledge. Therefore, Āyurveda can be translated into “the science/ understanding of life” or “the art of living wisely”. It is thought by many scholars to be the oldest healing system on our planet. The knowledge contained in Āyurveda deals with the nature, scope and purpose of life. It includes its metaphysical and physical aspects - health and disease, happiness and sorrow, pain and pleasure. Āyurveda defines life as the conjunction of body, mind and spirit found in Cosmic Consciousness and embracing all of Creation. Āyurveda states that the purpose of life is to know or realize the Creator, both within and without, and to express this Divinity in one’s daily life. According to Āyurveda, every individual life is a microcosm of the Cosmos.

 

Ayurveda is a medical science and its purpose is to heal and to maintain the quality and longevity of life. It is an art of daily living that has evolved from practical, philosophical and spiritual illumination, rooted in the understanding of Creation. It offers a profound understanding of each person’s unique body, mind and consciousness, which is the foundation of health and happiness.” 

- Textbook of Ayurveda, Fundmental Principles, Dr. Vasant Lad

 

What has Ayurveda to do with Yoga?

Hatha yoga and Āyurveda come from the same fountain of sacred wisdom of understanding the body. They each are a side of the same coin. Ayurveda gives us the tools for preventative self-care and self-healing by using tools from our outer world to affect and control our inner world. Yoga allows us to create healing from the inside out.

 

The scope of Ayurveda from the classical Ayurvedic text, Caraka, Sū 1:

hitāhitam sukham duhkham āyus tasya hitāhitam, mānam ca tac ca yatroktam āyurvedah sa ucyate. (41)

Āyurveda is said to be that sciene where what is useful and detrimental (to health/life); the happy and unhappy (states of) life; what is good and bad for life, its measurement (span/length); and life itself are described.