Principles of Ayurveda

Ayurveda aims at making a happy, healthy and peaceful society. The two most important aims of Ayurveda are:
*To maintain the health of healthy people.
*To cure the diseases of sick people.

A Person is seen in Ayurveda as a unique individual made up of five primary elements. These elements are ether (space), air, fire, water and earth. Just as in nature, we too have these five elements in us. When any of these elements are imbalanced in the environment, they will in turn have an influence on us. The foods we eat and the weather are just two examples of the influence of these elements. While we are a composite of these five primary elements, certain elements are seen to have an ability to combine to create various physiological functions.

The elements combine with Ether and Air in dominance to form that is known in Ayurveda as Vata Dosha. Vata governs the principle of movement and therefore can be seen as the force, which directs nerve impulses, circulation, respiration and elimination etc.

The elements with Fire and Water in dominance combine to form the Pitta Dosha. The Pitta Dosha is responsible for the process of transformation or metabolism. The transformation of foods into nutrients that our bodies can assimilate is an example of a Pitta function. Pitta is also responsible for metabolism in the organ and tissue systems as well as cellular metabolism.

Finally, it is predominantly the water and earth elements, which combine to form the Kapha Dosha. Kapha is responsible for growth, adding structure unit by unit. It also offers protection, for example, in form of the cerebral-spinal fluid, which protects the brain and spinal column. The mucosal lining of the stomach is another example of the function of Kapha Dosha protecting the tissues.

Other important basic principles of Ayurveda that are briefly mentioned here are:

1. Dhatus- These are the basic tissues, which maintain and nourish the body. They are seven in number namely- rasa (chyle), raktha (blood), mamsa (muscles), meda (fatty tissue), asthi (bone), majja (marrow) and sukla (reproductive tissue). Proper amount of each dhatu and their balanced function is very important for good health.

2. Mala- These are the waste materials produced because of various metabolic activities in the body. They are mainly urine, faces, sweat etc. Proper elimination of the malas is equally important for good health. Accumulation of malas causes many diseases in the body.

3. Srotas- These are different types of channels, which are responsible for transportation of food, dhatus, malas and doshas. Proper functioning of srotas is necessary for transporting different materials to the site of their requirement. Blockage of srotas causes many diseases.

4. Agni- These are different types of enzymes responsible for digestion and transforming one material to another.

All these factors should function in a proper balance for good health. They are inter-related and are directly or indirectly responsible for maintaining equilibrium of the tridoshas.

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