How does Ayurveda work?
The body has certain rhythms, similar to nature. When these rhythms are balanced the body is healthy; when they are imbalanced the body becomes sick - Dosha, biological force or humor, constitution, Prakriti or nature, governs this system. Dosha is the 'password' of your body; once you understand your unique password you will be able to understand how your body works and how to keep it.
Ayurveda is a holistic approach. It takes body, mind and soul into consideration, instead of focusing on physical body. Medicines given are prepared from herbs (natural plants). Therefore, they have no side effects. Seeing is believing!
What are the different types of Doshas?
Dosha is a Sanskrit word meaning the one which can pollute the body. There are three main types of Doshas and all three are needed to maintain balance in the body. If one is too high or too low, it causes imbalance. This aggravation is called Vikriti and the balance is called Prakriti.
The three Doshas are as follows:
- Vata | The air type - This means all movements in the body and mind, for example, breathing, heartbeat, elimination, pulsation, blood circulation and thinking. These are all due to air. Our body weight is due to air and the pressure it creates on our bodies. When the air element is too high all of the things listed above will increase and the person will become sick or mentally imbalanced.
- Pitta | The fire/heat type - This is responsible for the metabolism and digestion in the body. Without adequate heat, your food cannot be properly digested and will become toxic in your system. Pitta dosha is also responsible for keeping the body warm.
- Kapha | The water type - Our body is made up of 70% water and this is controlled by Kapha Dosha. It is also responsible for lubrication in the body and provides stability. Lubrication is needed in the joints, skin and mouth.
According to this people are called Vata type, Pitta type or Kapha type. Everybody is composed of all three doshas; if one of them is predominant the person is called mono-doshic. If two are predominant it is called bi-doshic and if all three are dominant then it is called tri-doshic or mixed.
What is ama (toxin as per Ayurveda)?
Ama is the by-product / waste material of metabolism that can be in any form: solid, liquid or gas. The body is like a factory, which manufactures a variety of things and produces a range of products. During the process of manufacturing waste products are naturally formed which should be eliminated. If they keep accumulating, disease process results.
When should an Ayurvedic Practitioner be consulted?
A person can consult a Practitioner at any time whether sick or not. If they are in a state of imbalance, medicine can be prescribed. If the person is healthy they can be advised on how to keep their body in a balanced state and according to their prakriti be told in what ways their body may react if the balance is not kept.
How long does it take to return to health?
This depends on the individual condition, severity of the illness and how long the person has had it. After dietary and herbal preparations have been given, feedback is needed to assess how long the whole process will take.
Are there any side effects to Ayurvedic medicine?
Generally it has been seen that there are no side effects, however if the dose is high some discomfort may be felt. Ayurvedic medicine has many positive effects; it can indirectly help with other conditions apart from the one being treated. This is because the herbs have been chosen due to fundamental principles of the body.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is restraining the mind-stuff (Citta) from taking various forms (Vrittis).
How safe and beneficial is it?
Practising Yoga is generally safe, but take it easy in your first few classes; there's no need to push beyond your limit. Also, if you have back, knee or any other physical problems, get the go-ahead from your doctor first, since some poses may aggravate the injuries. You are advised to inform your instructor beforehand about any limitations or concerns you have so that he/she can help you with alternate or modified poses.
Does it matter that I'm not very flexible?
Not at all! A good instructor can adapt the poses to fit any level of the student. Over time your flexibility will improve.
What is Sirodhara?
It is an adjuvant therapy of Panchkarma.