Ayurveda is the oldest system of medicine in the world, predating even Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is the sister medical side of yoga and Ayurveda translates to the "Science of Life", "Art of Living" and "Science of Longevity." It is rooted in the profound understanding that there are five elements that are Ether/Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. The combination of these elements are grouped into categories which are the three primary biological medical terns in this system. The three categories are Vata, comprised of Ether/Space and Air, Pitta, is made up of Fire and some Water and Kapha, made up of Water and Earth. Vata, is catabolic and governs the nervous system where 80% of diseases are a result of Vata. Pitta governs 20% of diseases, is metabolic and is the digestive/endocrine system. Kapha covers 10% of diseases, is anabolic and governs immunity, the secret hidden pillar of life.
When we are born, we take our first inhale and we take form configuring within the five elements and develop into who we know ourselves to be in this body. Earth forms the density of the body; Water is the liquidity of blood and other tissues such as synovial fluid and cerebrospinal fluid; Fire shows up in digestive enzymes and cellular transformation; Air is experienced through both ends of the body and Ether/Space is in the joints of the body along with the tubular structure beginning with mouth and ending in rectum.
Similarly, when we die, the final recycling of this body takes place. We take our last exhale, the body returns to the earth; water evaporates from us, the spark of consciousness and fire (heat of the body) releases and turns cold; the exhale is the release of air and we return to space as spiritual beings. This whole journey is a journey of balance and graceful perfection.
It is amazing to see how the spiral of life includes these five elements that permeate all across the universe and with a simple intention and thought we take on a body that represents the microcosm of the macrocosm. The sages have taught us that the entire universe is in this little body. The sages have also imparted wisdom of maintenance of the body and they have reminded us that stored in each strand of DNA tissue we can unlock the mystery of the universe and all that is needed to care for our vitality while in this precious multi-dimensional form. It is truly all happening right here and right now, all the time.
Possessing this knowledge affords us the divine right to an optimal quality of life. Our lifestyle is an expression and enthusiastic way of celebrating spirit within a body. Our quality of life depends on choice, on some level and perspective. Being in alignment with the breath of divinity reminds us how not to get caught up in the matrix of life and to get pulled into the drama and stories of life that the mind feeds off of. When we lose touch with this inherently built and designed pillar of consciousness and awareness then the turbulent waters of life that appear to be disharmonious actually becomes understood as grace. When we sacrifice our lives because of misguided choices and experience the ongoing backlash of life's strikes that can feel draining this is when we must step back and ask of this "is this absolutely true?" and "is this absolutely real?" but it's not a question for the mind to answer, rather, it's an inquiry that is summoning the inner wisdom to respond to in its own way. It's up to us to create the space so that not only can we be clear in our question but we can be even nore clear in the response from the divine within. As long as we seek answers from life, first we must recognize that it is the mind usually seeking answers from the world; we must also find a way to acknowledge that maybe the heart is questioning the matter of the situation because it knows that something is not in alignment with itself and the life that we truly deserve. The heart is the master and when we are loving, when we are living from the heart then the lifestyle will reflect this. If we feel a grinding experience with life, then most likely is the case that we aren't living in our hearts and have fed into the snowballing effect and collapsing of life upon us. We must find time through space and in space to re-evaluate where we are and ask if we are in our hearts. We can make excuses for our choices and complain about the consequences from these choices but that will only deepen our downward spiral of health. We can blame life but life simply responds to each and every thought. We can play victim but ultimately this is all not true and then we will at some point have to make another choice for a different outcome. There's no escaping it because there's no escaping ourselves. We can try as hard as we like but we always return somehow back to ourselves and now.
So often have I witnessed periods of my own life in the past, my patients that present with symptoms currently and the eaves dropping from others, in passing, sharing and lamenting about their "stories" and with this, how I perceive the overlapping of physical symptoms and mental unrest, which presents ultimately as a lack of peace. The lifestyle, which is out of touch with the deeper meaning of life because it is a precariously vicious cycle perpetuated by the ego and an undisciplined mind that naturally gravitates to the superficiality of life, lead by modern and ever evolving technologies, that inevitably and will always lead to confusion, chaos, unrest, disease, and losing oneself to the illusion of suffering.
By returning back to simplicity, Ayurveda shows us how the body is always in the now, regardless of the minds vacilation from the long gone past to the projected anticipatory unreal future. When health is complicated the proportion of life's complication is equal. The body suffers as the halfway point between the minds dictatorship and the fruits of this sour tree manifested into lifestyle. There's no avoiding it. In order to begin resolving health issues we must simplify lifestyle by simplifying our choices, simplifying diet to match the necessary demands of digestion. We must return to nature by following the biological rhythm that has been solidified in perfection for more than 140,000 years, for instance and not limited to eating during the main three times of day; understanding our constitution according to Ayurveda (since this is our "drivers manual" to our personal health; drinking clean water; sleeping adequately at night; exercising daily; honoring the seasons; following both the lunar and solar cycles; and finding our way to meditative conditions so that meditation can happen. This latter point addresses the mind by taming it and bringing more ease to our whole being. This will also further allow us to sink into the heart more deeply and permit us to the road of our lifestyle that becomes more paved. We can avoid this for sometime but while we are embodied we will always be called to the body through symptoms. This is how the body knows to communicate when all other road signs fail. In the immediate and in the long run nothing or no one is worth me sacrificing the health of my body and peace of my mind to.
We should not be in a place where our lifestyle is out of control and dictates the the quality of our life. This is fundamentally self-defeating. Our lifestyle should be a mirror image of the greatness we feel from the inside out. Our quality of health should be of utmost importance and if we should have to sacrifice what is contributing towards imbalances then so be it. We must weigh out our options but reach logical, realistic and practical conclusions when we see one option being the quality of our health/peace of mind and the other option being the momentum that life's chaos has picked up as a result of us being taken away by it. Essentially, in moment to moment awareness we get to choose. This is how Ayurveda/Yoga show us that these two sciences are preventative healthcare systems. Corrections in lifestyle has always shown how health can improve willingly. My patients come and Ayurvedic recommendations are made, that include small steps or a wide range of adjustments, in order to transform their lives amazingly. The time it takes depends on the investment. A little investment will produce a little productivity and slower. Similarly, a lot of investment will produce quicker responsiveness, usually, and more outcome. All it takes is the willingness to serious commit. But this commitment to Ayurveda is secondary where really the first commitment is to the self. Ayurveda is just a tool, but the most perfected tool, to help everyone. Ayurveda is for everyone but not everyone is ready for Ayurveda.
Ayurveda may not always be the quick fix everyone is usually looking for but it's worth it in the long run. It's worth the investment and so are you. You decide. I've made my decision 12 years ago and will always be living with Ayurveda and Ayurveda will always be with and in support of me. I am gratefully humbled and appreciative of being its representative through and through. There is no other healthcare like it in the world! It's out of this world!
I'd like to end with this quoted segment: ""However you describe "lifestyle", one thing is for certain: It's not all about material goods or even outward, tangible signs of lifestyle; it's about our behavioral patterns that reflect our attitudes, beliefs, innermost thoughts, and general approach toward life. It's also about the relationships we keep within ourselves and about ourselves...Ayurveda places prime importance on the connection between health and lifestyle, and the bond we continually have with nature. Health is not defined by numbers, measurements, and other metrics used by traditional Western medicine. Neither is the achievement of health relegated to counting calories, grams of fat, and time spent on a treadmill. Rather, health should be seen as a vastly more complex, intimate, and ever-changing experience that we enjoy when we're in balance with our inner constitution and the world at large. This is when our cells operate beautifully according to their inherent intelligence and we are able to tap that intrinsic wisdom to inform smart decisions about how to live.""- Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar?