Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old system of wellness and natural healing that originated in India. The word Ayurveda derives from Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge so it is commonly thought of as the science of life. Unlike your high school and college biology classes that competed with this "Science of Life" title, Ayurveda offers a body of wisdom that through its practice helps you realize your full human potential.
How does Ayurveda help you realize your full human potential? Good question and I'm glad you asked: through daily and seasonal routines that effect all aspects of your life, including: diet, exercise, behavior, relationships, etc. Ayurvedic routines remind us that health is the fragile balance and dynamic integration between the environment and ourselves: body, mind, and spirit.
Prior to reading on about the fundamentals of Ayurveda, I would encourage you to take this Ayurveda quiz. Once you complete the quiz and write down the results, please return to this blog post and continue to learn about the fundamentals of Ayurveda.
Take a moment and picture a deep mountain lake. Visualize the surface of the lake - still and quiet. Picture a rock tossed into the lake and the small ripples that amplify across the surface. Picture nature acting upon the lake - the wind from a spring storm, the heat from a summer day, the ice from a cold winter night. The surface of the lake is always reacting to the environment. Yet the water at the bottom of the lake is unaffected by what happens at the surface of the lake.
Just like the surface of the lake, you are affected by your environment: family, friends, work, play, weather, etc. In Ayurveda, your current state of balance (or imbalance) is known as Vikriti. Just like the water at the surface of the lake, your vikriti can change on a short-term basis: daily, seasonally, etc. The water at the bottom of the lake in Ayurveda that is unaffected by what happens at the surface of the lake is analogous to your natural state of balance. Your natural state of balance is constant throughout your life - from birth to death. This natural state of balance is known as Prakriti.
Now that we know our vikriti is your current state of balance and your prakriti is your state of balance determined at birth, you may wonder - how can we better align the sometimes turbulent water at the surface of the lake with the peaceful water deep at the bottom of the lake?
In order to build daily and seasonal routines in our lives to help you live in balance (i.e., better align your vikriti with your prakriti) and realize your full human potential, we need to look at the Ayurveda quiz results.
Your vikriti and prakriti are made up of certain elements - and no, I don't mean carbon, calcium, etc. These are Ayurveda elements and there's only five: (1) Ether, (2) Air, (3) Fire, (4) Water, and (5) Earth. The combination of these elements give rise to the three Ayurveda constitutions which is known as your Dosha. And yes, every living being has a dosha - including your dog, cat, horse, chicken, etc.
The Ayruveda quiz you took provides you with insight into the combination of the five elements that make up your dosha. If you answered the questions in the quiz while contemplating yourself over the course of your life - you now have a good understanding of your prakriti (i.e., birth constitution). If you answered the questions in the quiz while contemplating a current situation in your life - you now have a good understanding of your vikriti (i.e., current state of balance). Generally, the results of this particular quiz give you insight into your prakriti.
No that you know your dosha, we can discuss what it means to be predominately Vata, Pitta or Kapha and how to stay balanced through daily and seasonal routines to live your best life. And this will be the subject of an upcoming blog post!