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What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is the ancient Indian science of life.

Much more than a system of medicines for ailments, it consists of a body of wisdom designed to help people stay healthy while living their life to its full potential.

Ayurvedic philosophy holds that the mind and the body are fundamentally connected, and that nothing has more power to heal than the mind. Ayurveda teaches us how to connect with and balance the life force within.

The essence of Ayurveda is a way of life, a holistic approach to health and well-being.  It is an ancient system of rejuvenation of both the body and mind.

Ayurveda is considered to be the sister science of yoga, and as we are also a Yoga Centre, we are well-placed to provide you with an overall program for your overall health and well-being.

Disease is born when the mind is constantly in flux between the past and the future, causing stress, anxiety and depression.  Ayurveda and yoga therapy help to bring the mind back to the present into a calm state, where healing can naturally occur.

The treatments that we offer are based on Ayurveda’s holistic views of the body, which covers lifestyle issues, diet, mental attitudes and a person’s individual constitution.  According to Ayurveda, your constitution is determined by your body type, or dosha.

There are three types of doshasvata, pitta and kapha, and it is the way in which they are combined in each individual that makes a person unique.  Our trained therapists can help to analyse your body type and determine appropriate treatments according to this.

Want to know your own constitution?  Read our next section on Self-diagnosis.

Determining your body type In order to determine your body-type you first need to understand the doshas. The universe and all its components are made up of a combination of the five great elements, or five states of matter:  earth, water, fire, air and space.  The Tridosha, or three energies, are made up of these five elements, and are an indication of the constitution of each person’s body type.  The table below shows the properties, functions and locations:  vata, pitta and kapha.  Every person is a combination of these three energies, with one being predominant.  The purpose of this table is to create an awareness and understanding the Ayurveda point of view of one’s fundamental health.
Vata (air + space) Pitta (fire + water) Kapha (water + earth)
Properties:  dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, minute, moving Properties:  slightly oily, light, hot, penetrating, unpleasant odour, spreading nature, liquid Properties:  oily, heavy, cold, slow acting, slimy, firm, smooth
Physical functions:  motion, breathing, natural urges, speech, tissue transformation, senses, secretions and excretions, blood circulation, pulsation, nervous system. Physical functions:  digestion, metabolism, hormones, enzymes, vision, hunger, thirst, colour complexion, temperature Physical functions:  solid body structure, organ coating, lubrication, strength, potency
Mental functions:  fear, anxiety, impulses, pain, enthusiasm, alertness Mental functions:  thinking, intelligence, understanding, perception, desire, courage, bravery, anger Mental functions:  enthusiasm, forbearance, sexual urges, forgiveness, attachment, courage, passion, stability, greed
Primary locations:  intestines and lower body Primary locations:  navel and stomach area Primary locations:  chest, head and neck area (above the heart)
Your inherent nature (prakriti) – You are unique! The Tridosha make up one’s constitution, or prakriti (inherent nature), which determines how to accept, process and absorb the food we eat, as well as how to respond to the environment around us.  Each individual physical and mental body is determined by the relative proportions of the three doshas at the time of fertilization.  When the embryo is formed, the constitution is determined. Unique constitutions mean that each person is different in their own way.  This is why a diet programme can work well for some and not at all for others; why some people get ill during certain seasons while others do not; why some eat a little and gain weight while others eat a lot and do not gain any; why some get tired after little physical work whereas others seem to be endowed with an inexhaustible store of energy; and so on. According to Ayurveda there are seven main constitutions with one or more predominant doshas:
  1. Vata predominant
  2. Pitta predominant
  3. Kapha predominant
  4. Vata-pitta predominant
  5. Pitta-kapha predominant
  6. Kapha-vata predominant
  7. Vata-pitta-kapha in equal balance (a rare occurrence).
Understand your prakriti Below is a list of the physical and mental traits of each dosha.
TRAITS Vata Pitta Kapha
Body frame/type Thin, lean Medium, athletic Large, stocky
Hair Curly, dry, thick Straight, grey, bald Silky, thick, oily
Eyes Small, unsteady Sharp, reddish Large, oval, clear
Lips Thin, dry, cracked Pink, medium, soft Full, smooth
Skin Thin, dry, rough, cold Smooth and warm Normal, cool
Body Temperature Cold when touched Hot when touched Norma, cool
Weight Lose easy, gain hard Steady, slow change Gain easy, lose hard
Hunger Unpredictable Strong every 4 hours Regular
Cravings Caffeine, sugar Spicy, intense foods Ice cream, cheese
Digestion/elimination Regular constipation Rare constipation Slow, steady, regular
Sleep Light, restless Sleep well 7-8 hours Deep, hard to wake
Exercise Run, dance, move Competitive sports Mild, gentle
Sweat Hard to sweat Sweat easily Regular
Movement Quick, light step Average, strong step Slow, steady steps
Temperament Lively, enthusiastic Motivated, intense Relaxed, accepting
Learning Breadth over depth Analytical, in-depth Common topics
Memory Quick grasp and loss Sharp, clear Slow grasp, not lost
Work Independent/creative Leads, likes to be boss Employee, guided
Projects Rarely completed Sets goals, executes Take time, completed
Emotion under stress Anxiety, fear, worry Angry, irritable, jealous Laziness, withdrawal
Decision-making Difficult, overthinking Quick, confident After contemplation
Communication Fast talker Direct, persuasive Calm, deep voice
Lifestyle Unattached, mobile Busy, well-structured Routine, constant
Weather Dislikes cold, winter Dislike heat, humidity Dislikes cool, rain
Faith and beliefs Ever changeable Strong, extremist Stable/set in stone
Interest/motivation Art, travel, experience Sport, business, politics Comfort, family, food

So, after having read this table


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