What is Ayurveda? A Beginner’s Overview

Features Issue 185 Apr, 2017

Ayurveda is a science of life, a healing system, a culture-based health system.

Legend of Ayurveda

The root of Ayurveda dates back to the Vedic period. Vedas are the oldest recorded documents of human civilization. According to the CarakaSamhita, there were 52 eminent scholars, rishis, and experts who gathered in the Himalayas and meditated, afterwards discussing, developing, and documenting this science. The objective of Ayurveda is to achieve the highest goal of life, the inner and outer dynamic harmony. This knowledge of Ayurveda can be found in a number of manuscripts, books, healing practices, in cultural functions and ceremonies, and the teachings and practices of traditional healers. We can find the knowledge, aspiration, and health system evolving through the ages. 

Health in Ayurveda
Health in Ayurveda is a natural and deeper state of harmony and balance, i.e. Svarupe Avasthanam, which means “Be in own natural state”. This is a dynamic state that is maintained by our healthy awareness, which is as big as the ocean. To create health within us, we need opening of this ancient knowledge, which is a new kind of knowledge based on the deeper concept of life. This is inner joyfulness that should always be ours all the time, and is a state of positive wellbeing. Health is a subtle and dynamic process with the potential of continued transformation from physical to sensorial, and mental to spiritual. When we say health, it includes the four dimensions—spiritual, mental, sensorial, and physical (body). 

Objectives of Ayurveda
There are many objectives of Ayurveda, among which one is to achieve a state of transcendation, that is, desire-less-ness. We reach this state with the development and enhancement of awareness in ourselves. Ayurveda not only cures and promotes good health, but its teachings also help us in preventing disease. Besides, Ayurveda is engraved in our culture and is a part of our lifestyle.

Prakriti (Constitution)
There is something different between individuals. Each individual has his or her own identity and specialty. Prakriti is the constitution of a person which makes us different from each other. Every person is born with a definite genetic constitution determined by the dominant doshas,meaning three vital energies. This, and genetic and environmental factors, food and lifestyle of the mother, and the five elements, make us into what we are.
There are basically two types of constitution. One, according to the predominance of doshas in our body, and the other is according to our mental component. Both are inter-related, but we can differentiate them as bodily constitution and mental constitution. Each one of us should know our constitution, so, that we can select the food, seasonal routine, daily routine, and exercise that are good for our health.

Ayurveda in Nepal at present
Nepal is ranked as the 32nd hotspot for natural biodiversity. Our culture also plays an important role in protecting these different species of flora. Many plants and flowers are considered as holy incarnations of gods, and there are different events during which specific plants are planted and worshipped. For example, worshipping holy basil (tulasi) and using it as a holy medicine for many illnesses.
Although Ayurveda in Nepal has deep roots in history, it had not been able to gain much widespread recognition. However, times are changing, as people are now more into natural ways of healing and adopting a healthier lifestyle. So, people have been turning more towards natural ways to detoxify and nourish the body and soul. 
Pancha karma means five procedures that remove accumulated toxins in the body. It is done as curative, preventive, and promotive health treatment. There are many Ayurveda centers in Nepal that provide these programs. Ayurveda Health Home first started these health services in 2001. This program not only cleanses the toxins in the body, but nourishesit as well. People share their experience of pancha karma as a wonderful self-discovery course.
Ayurveda is a science of life, a healing system, a culture-based health system. The guidelines taught by Ayurveda principles, if adopted as a lifestyle, will let us achieve blissful health.