Ayurveda is an ancient science with origins dating back to 3,000 BC. It begins with the Harappan who occupied the Indus Valley until about 1,500 BC. According to Svobeda (2006), at that time when nomadic Aryans from Central Asia moved into the area, they brought with them an early form of the Vedas, ancient books of wisdom.
During the second millennium BC, the Vedas evolved into their present form and was maintained by the Brahman priests until modern times. These ancient books represent the living habits of the ancient peoples of India, reflecting the problems and remedies.
Ayurveda simply means “the science of life” and is a practical approach to daily living, for
reducing risk factors for chronic disease, and for the maintenance of good health. In
Ayurveda, mind, body, emotions, and spirit are connected; therefore, everything we think
or do affects our health. Ayurvedic principles also take into account the different stages
of life and our specific needs during each stage.
Ayurveda is based on the theory of constitutional body types or doshas. Composed of the five elements — fire, water, earth, air, and ether — doshas are only noticeable when out of balance. When in balance, the doshas are not noticed. The five elements combine in pairs to produce the three doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha. Vata is the combination of ether and air, pitta is the combination of water and fire, and kapha is the combination of earth and water.
According to the principles of Ayurveda, each constitution is unique and a combination of elements that reflect the qualities that are attributed to the elements. When a dosha is out found out of balance, a combination of foods, herbs, exercise, massage, or mineral therapy may be used to bring the dosha back into balance. In addition, color, light, and sound therapies may be used along with specific hygienic recommendations and meditation.
A response to a question from readers:
What are the functions of the three elements in ayurveda and how are disorders detected?
The functions of the three elements vata, pitta and kapha in Ayurveda are to create, maintain, and destruct all the psychological, biological and physiopathological of our body, mind and consciousness. When they are in balance they protect the body, and when out of balance they contribute to the disease. They also maintain the emotions such as love, anger, fear, empathy, understanding, hate, greed etc.
During a urine examination an Ayurvedic practitioner may observe different colors depending on which dosha disorder is dominating. If pitta disorder is present the urine is darkish yellow or brownish. If a vata disorder is present the color of the urine is blackish-brown, If there is a kapha disorder the urine is cloudy.
Dropping a sesame oil drop in the urine will indicate whether the disorder can be easily cured or not. If the drop immediately sinks the disorder is easy to cure. If it drops to the middle of the urine sample, the disorder is difficult to cure. If it drops to the bottom, the illness is very difficult to cure.
The dispersion of the sesame oil indicated a specific dosha disorder, wave like movements indicate Vata disorder, surface dispersion with multiple colors, such as a rainbow, indicate pitta disorder, pearl-like surface breakup indicates kapha disorder.
Svoboda, R. (2006) Ayurveda, Life, Health and Longevity. Ayurvedic Press. ISBN: 1883725097