Explaining Ayurveda (very fundamental)
This is not a quote from any shastra (ancient text) as iI have been trying to stick to in my blogs. This was born of a email conversation with a student from one of my cooking classes and the summary of the knowledge she got from it.
The formless (nothing) manifests itself as form (everything). This is done through the five elements ether, air, fire, water, earth.
Vata, Pitta, Kapha (dosha) are a combination of these elements that then are like buffers in our system that take the brunt of what we do wrong to it that would otherwise kill us. They also are reactive to nature or another way to see it is that the elements are always changing their balance in nature by way of the day, and the season. This then affects those buffers through the elements they are made of. Working with the seasonal flow of elements (rtucharya) allows you to be healthy in nature. Doing the opposite manifests in qualities; clogged up, dried out, too hot, too wet, to dry, or however it manifests within the elements of ones make up, moving them away from their original healthy balance (prakriti) into disease or unhealthy (vikriti). It also affects the mind as it is also part of the bodily system. Too dry = high anxiety…creating rajas, ungroundedness; too wet = emotional, not clear, cloudy, unstill mind creating rajas and tamas; too hot = anger, rage, passionate again creating rajas and tamas. You can see the idea.
After understanding that, you understand why it is more important to eat focussing on the seasons rather than eating to the person original balance. This would be my guess why the texts speak of seasons and balancing them but no VPK diet plans as the Western ayurveda has created, touted, and taught.
Each of the elements have qualities (gunas) that are also shown in the doshas which are made of the elements. This is the best lens of the world to look through. Elements. Not only qualities but the elements. They are how you can deeply diagnose a disease and treat it correctly and effectively. Obviously this is just superficial and there is much, much, much more added on to that. Western ayurveda teaches diagnose by the doshas. We already went thru why this is wrong. Pitta and kapha share water as an element. Treat one dosha and you can create an imbalance in the other. Vata and Kapha share cold as a quality. Vata and Pitta share salty and sour tastes.
Ayurveda is the science of balancing the seven kosha.
Yes, it involves all seven sheaths. obviously it works with Annamaya Kosha, the food sheath. Mahagunas are the Doshas of the mind. There are two “out of balance” and one “in balance”. You might know them from yoga as Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. This is just stepping it up to Manomaya Kosha, the mind sheath. Eating proper Ayurveda based will obviously give you better Prana as well as the lifestyle and morning ritual is based upon it, Pranamaya Kosha. Eating, living and experiencing Ayurveda will clear your body and mind. This will allow you better discernment as the experience opens you deeper into feeling your self in the body sense as well as the inner self sense. You start to think better because the Rajas and Tamas are cleared and more understanding of how you work as well as how the universe works. This increases intellegence. Memory is improved because of the same, food and lifestyle. The fogginess, heavy, clogged mind functions better after the daily rituals of cleansing the system according to Prana and the energies of the day time. Waking up at the right time is probably the most important part of all of it. Dhi, dritti, and smriti are the functions of the mind. Intelligence, resolution, and memory. The work upon each other and when the food or lifestyle effects the elements it also moves the balance of the minds functioning also disturbing the mahagunas, which is another level outside of the functioning but interconnected with them.
At it’s most basic, we eat what we are (or at least what we digest as if it is not digested properly it become ama or toxic metabolic morbid waste), what we become. We are the manifestation of what we consume. We eat, we digest (or not in most cases), it turns into us. Good or bad. It has the effect. Karma.
Since there is nothing outside of existence – Life itself, we are not just connected to nature and it’s rhythms, but we are a manifestation of those same rhythms.
There is a rtu charya or an annual earth cycle of seasons as an example of ways in which our body is effected by the ongoing phenomena. i.e. All of winter being a time of strength but the early half of winter is cold and wet, turning to cold and dry in the second half of winter – moving into spring when the dryness increases as does the heat. This is just a part of the seasons, one layer of the eternal cycles. The moon has cycles, the days have cycles, and each of us has our own life and karmic etc, etc. All of which can be balanced through the conscious balanced ingestion of the three gunas in the form of food, lifestyle, thought, speech and action.
Having the seasons to work with as a starting point with learning Ayurveda would at least get the grossest imbalances of the being settled, then the refinement of each individual “disposition” could begin to be evaluated. This is most likely why the ancient texts of Ayurveda (the main three) all have rtucharya (seasonal routine) in the beginning of the texts. As the person gets healthier and more sensitive to life and living. they also become wiser, are more compliant in doing and eating what is beneficial and staying away from what is non beneficial (because of dhi, dhrtti and smrtti all functioning better), quicker to balance and easier to see the imbalance to treat it even more precisely. The being also feels it more as their perception is much more sensitive.
Ayurveda is an act of benevolence to the body and life and not just another demand to conform. Finding concise words to describe an infinite playground is not ever going to be complete but it’s interesting trying.