The Foundations of Ayurveda

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Lessons

Chapter 1: The Roots of Ayurveda

The traditional healing system of India, Ayurveda is believed to be the oldest surviving complete system of knowledge in the world. It embodies an ancient philosophy based on a deep understanding of eternal truths about the human body, the mind and the spirit. As ancient as Ayurveda is, it is based on basic observations of life that have remained relatively unchanged and are still absolutely relevant today.

Chapter 2: The Role of Meditation

Meditation can be enormously helpful… it can gradually give us the awareness, focus and calm needed to study and absorb all the new material, and also helps us open and balance our minds so that we can realize the full potential of the amazing path of Ayurveda.

Chapter 3: The Five Elements

The five elements of ether, air, fire, water and earth (pancha mahabhuta) represent the different qualities or densities of energy. These elements are not seen or measured by Western science, and they are not to be interpreted literally but rather as metaphors which help us to understand the universe.

Chapter 4: The Three Doshas

There are three primary bio-energetic organizing principles derived from the five elements, known as doshas. Sometimes they are referred to as humours. They are known as vata, pitta and kapha, and they are present in everybody and everything.

Chapter 5: Prakruti & Vikruti

According to Ayurveda, the key to health lies in the knowledge and understanding of our basic constitution, (prakruti) and how to keep it in balance through diet and lifestyle. With the knowledge and understanding of how and why we become ill, we can live a way of life that enhances our chances of health and fulfilment.

Chapter 7: The Subdoshas

As you begin to go more deeply into the study of the doshas, you will learn that each dosha has five subdoshas. These subdoshas reside in a different place in the body, and are responsible for different vital functions.

Chapter 8: The Seven Tissues and the Srotas

Ayurveda classifies the body’s physical structure into seven tissue layers or dhatus. Dhatu means “that which holds or supports”. The dhatus are generally listed from the least to the most complex in structure, and each one is made out of the one that precedes it.

Chapter 9: Ayurveda, the Heart and the Mind

The aim of Ayurveda, as we have studied, is not limited solely to attaining a healthy and vital body; it is a deeply spiritual path to help us experience the awareness of who we truly are.

Chapter 10: Taste and the Healing Power of Food

Food is a great, life-giving medicine; what we eat, when we eat, in what state of mind we eat, all profoundly impact our health and quality of life. Our diet plays a vital role in a healthy lifestyle, and what we eat, digest, as well as absorb is a vital part of maintaining health, preventing disease, and treating imbalances and health problems when they arise.

Chapter 13: Health and Harmony Through Every Season

As we deepen our understanding of Ayurveda, we can begin to see that health is not merely freedom from disease, but more a state of ease and harmony in mind, body and spirit that gives us the ability to fulfil our dreams and responsibilities, our roles and potential in life known as our dharma, and ultimately to experience the happiness and bliss of liberation (moksha).

Chapter 14: Living the Sattvic Way

Living the sattvic way is about consciously learning to enjoy this beautiful, dynamic and fleeting life, and come closer to our true nature as spiritual beings.

Chapter 17: Detoxification for Health and Healing

Just as we regularly take showers, wash our hair, brush our teeth and tend to the outside of our bodies, the internal systems of our body, most importantly our digestive system, benefit from regular cleansing and care.

Chapter 19: Balancing the Doshas

The unique balance of our doshas give us an invaluable map of our tendencies, vulnerabilities and strengths, helping us to chart our path to health and happiness.