Ayurveda is a holistic system of medicine that is indigenous to and widely practiced in India. The word Ayurveda is a Sanskrit term meaning “Science of Life”. “Ayu” means life or daily living, and “Veda” means knowing. Ayurveda was first recorded in the Vedas the worlds oldest extant literature. This healing system has been practiced in daily life in India for more than 5000 years.
The Human Constitution
Ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth the five basic elements manifests in the human body as the three basic principles, or humors known as TRIDOSHA. From Ether and Air elements manifest together in the body as VATAdosha, from Fire and Water elements PITTA dosha, and the Earth and Water element manifests as KAPHA dosha.
These three dosha VATA-PITA-KAPHA governs all the biological, physiological, and psychological functions of the body mind and consciousness. They act as basic constituents and protective barriers for the body in its normal physiological condition, when out of balance they contribute to disease process.
They govern the creation, maintenance and destruction of bodily tissue and the elimination of waste products from the body. They are also responsible for psychological phenomena, including emotions such as fear, anger and greed as well as higher order emotions such as understanding, compassion and love. Thus, the TRIDOSHA are the foundation of the psychosomatic existence of human beings.
The basic constitution of each individual is determined at conception. At the time of conception, the single male unit the spermatozoon unites with the female element the ovum and at the moment of this union the constitution of the individual is determined by the permutation and combinations of bodily air, fire, and water that manifests in the parents’ body. This constitution is called PRAKRUTI, a Sanskrit term meaning nature or the first creation. In the body the first expression of the basic 5 elements is known as the constitution.
Throughout Life there is ceaseless interactions between the internal and external environments. A basic principle of healing in Ayurveda holds that one may create balance in the internal forces by altering the external diet and habits of living to counteract changes and imbalances of the doshas.
– EXCERPTS FROM AYURVEDA: THE SCIENCE OF LIFE BY DR. VASANT LAD.