Ayurveda and Disease
Ayurveda and Disease
Ayurveda is over 2,000 years old and is the oldest system of heath and wellbeing. Ayurveda treats the whole body, soul and mind as one system and is more about keeping one well instead of curing one who is sick although it can do that of course. If we keep balance in the body, mind, and spirit we will not get sick as often or as sever. The western thought is pretty much if your sick we will find out what’s wrong and fix it. Ayurveda is two words Ayur which means life or longevity, and veda which means knowledge. This system as stated came from the Vedas, the Atharva Veda is the one that relates most to Ayurveda
In this time of disease, it is more important than ever to get back to health and find a way to stay there. We will look at the disease process and what to do if you feel a disease coming on and how to stay as healthy as you can.
First, we need to have a basic understanding of two things doshas and gunas. Both of these terms come from Kapila Samkyha philosophy which map out the cosmetology of the universe and beyond. We wont go into detail in this article but the core belief of Samkyha is the notion that there is two factors that rule everything Purusha and prakriti, Spirit and Nature. Spirit is said to be the male energy and is the seer, while Prakriti is the female energy of nature and is active. Nature is not permanent as it is always in flux while Purusha or spirit is permanent but never in flux. Out of nature comes creation and out of creation comes the three gunas and is the three great influences of nature. Tamas which is solid, darkness, and ignorance. Raja is energy, change, and moving, and Sattva which is harmony, virtue, and light in nature. These three gunas work more into the psychological aspects of the mind but also prevail through all creation and time. It is the Rajas and tamas gunas that is said to cause disease.
The three doshas are said to come from Rajas as they are kinds of mobile energies. The three doshas are key to understanding Ayurveda, and Ayurveda has been said to be a science of the doshas. Dosha means what spoils or blemish, doshas bring about disease, but the doshas also have a positive side to the workings of the mind and body, but they must be in balance to be most effective. The three doshas are Vatta (air) Pitta (fire) and Kapha (water). An excess or deficiency of any of the doshas brings issues in the body. If we see the qualities of the doshas we can see if we have to much air (vatta) then we would be dry because air is dry, and cold, our skin might be rough and our thoughts and body mobile. Too much pitta and we can be oily and hot, also light but sharp and penetrating. Kapha we would be wet and cold, Heavy, dull, sticky and fixed.
We all tend to be primarily dominated by one or two of the doshas but all have all the doshas in different parts of our body. The main locations of the doshas are Vatta in the large intestine, Ptta in the small intestines, and kapha in the stomach. When out of whack Vatta produces gas from the colon, Pitta produces bile and acids from the liver and small intestines, and kapha produces phlegm in the lungs and stomach.
The subtle energies of the doshas are Prana (vatta) Tejas (Pitta) and Ojas (kapha). Prana is the vital life force, tejas is vitality, and responsible for digestion, Ojas is the essence the is responsible for life, it bring vigor, longevity, and overall well-being. To bring good health we need all three of the vital essence but especially ojas to keep sickness away. You need life force for movement and to have life, you need tejas or fire for digestion, and you need ojas to help build the tissues.
Disease comes in stages there is accumulation, Aggravation, Overflow, Relocation, Manifestation, and Diversification. Aggravation is when there is a back up in one of the areas of the doshas This becomes an aggravation as it stops the natural flow, then overflow is when the dosha leaves the site of acumination, relocation is when it goes into the tissues, Manifestation is when the disease forms, and diversification is when the disease ends and flow is happening again. It is much easier to stop disease at the aggravation.
Many diseases start with Vatta which is the large intestine and the colon. Vatta makes us constipated which can be the start of accumulation. Vatta also plays havoc on our nervous system as it is moving making us not rest properly. Watching how our vatta is first step in preventing disease. We need to keep our central digestive tract clean so that we can absorb the nutrients from our food, we need to be able to rest and feel a sense of ease. The next thing to do is to increase our ojas, ojas help build tissue and give us support. We build Ojas by proper digestion of our foods which takes Tejas, we need a good amount of fire in our system, not too much, not too little. Foods that build Ojas are Avocados, bananas, Dates, Figs, Sweet Potatoes, Leafy Greens, Zucchini, nuts, Mung Beans, Tofu, Whole Grains. Foods to avoid would be things cooked in bad oil like French fries, processed foods, dry undercooked or overcooked foods, refined sugar, refined flour, and kind of stimulants.
So in this time of COVID-19 and other viruses to come we need to be as healthy as we can so that our natural immune system will help us to avoid disease and live a life of contentment , and have vigor to do our lives mission, what ever you and god have decided.