Day One: Introduction to Ayurveda
Ayurveda, a 5,000-year-old system of natural healing that has its origins in the Vedic culture of India, is enjoying a major resurgence in both its native land and throughout the world. Tibetan medicine and traditional Chinese medicine both have their roots in Ayurveda and early Greek medicine also embraced many concepts originally described in the classical Ayurvedic medical texts. In sanskrit, Ayus = life, and Veda = science, or knowledge. A more precise translation of Ayurveda, however, would be “the knowledge of the lifespan.” Using practical tools and insights for living in balance and health without interference from illness, Ayurveda offers a body of wisdom designed to help people stay vital while realizing their full human potential.
A form of holistic medicine, Ayurveda is a healing system that treats the whole person—the integration of body, mind, and spirit—rather than simply treating individual symptoms. Providing guidelines on ideal daily and seasonal routines, diet, behavior, and the proper use of our senses, Ayurveda reminds us that health is the balanced and dynamic integration between our environment, body, mind, and spirit.
For instance, we know that ongoing stress damages our immune system, and when the immune system is weakened, we are more vulnerable to disease and illness. We also know that when our mind experiences pleasure, our brain releases healing chemicals to our entire body, creating feelings of happiness and well-being in addition to promoting health.
Ayurveda takes holistic medicine a step further, treating people not as isolated individuals but as an inextricable part of the entire universe. In India’s ancient Vedic tradition, there is an underlying intelligence that flows through and connects everyone and everything. Ayurveda sees life as the exchange of energy and information between individuals and their extended body—the environment. If our environment is nourishing, we thrive; if our environment is toxic, we may become sick. Therefore, learning how to eliminate toxicity and surround ourselves with a healing environment is the key to health.
This five-day primer is designed to help you understand and experience some of the basics of Ayurveda, with the intent of encouraging you to continue your own investigation in the days and years to come. Here’s what you can expect to learn.
This information is being shared courtesy of The Chopra Center. Find more of its valuable offerings here.