What is Ayurveda


Ayurveda is a spiritual/therapeutic science and  medical system from the vedic period. To this day, It is known and revered as the medicine of yogis and it requires a commitment towards a lifestyle change. This 5000+ year old medicinal system provides guidance, therapies and practicesin regards to lifestyle choices and it treats the mind, body and spirit as one unit.  Ayurveda and yoga go together so much so that it hard to differentiate which came first.

This science is founded upon the basic principal that all matter in the universe is made up of 5 elements: Fire, Air, Ether, Water and Earth.  It goes further to say that three primary forces of prana or life force are comprised of a combination of the above 5; Vata (air + ether), Pitta (Fire + Water) and Kapha (Water + Earth).


We are all also made up of these elements and life force, at birth we are set to what is the norm for ourselves.  What might be an excess, deficit or imbalance for one may not be so for another.  This natural balance is effected by food, friends, sounds, perceptions, sights, temperature, humidity, thoughts, activities – pretty much everything we interact with.

We can provide ourselves with self help tools such as meditation, yoga, sleep, diet, etc… but when these tools are not working then it is time to see a WELL TRAINED Ayurvedic Practioner who is going to support the prevention long term imbalances, eventually leading to disease.

The patient doctor relationship is one where the physician is there to support the patient in returning to their natural constitution and provide measures to maintain optimal health through out ones life.  This is a team effort and thus requires that the patient be committed to their own healing as well as open to the advice and prescriptions of the practitioner.

How do we chose a good Practitioner?

An Ayurvedic practitioner is one that goes through a formal education much like a western doctor, in regards to years of study, clinical experience, research knowledge and most importantly experience under a long time practicing Ayurvedic Physician.

A practitioner is someone who knows there limits, meaning they are humble enough to make recommendations within their specialties and personal experiences.  There should always be honesty and transparency when dealing with a professional physician, including there education, experience and source of knowledge.

In my experience of the west, many practitioners are feeling over confidence in prescribing herbs and therapies that they are new to understanding themselves.  The courses available are short and hold little practicum, I have personally witnessed a practitioner being introduced to the benefits of a herb by myself and then within a month willing to use it as a therapy for a client.

My suggestion is, when searching for an ayurvedic physician, one must first reflect upon them self.  What is your goal?  What are you willing to change in yourself to attain this goal? What is important to you in a therapist?  Where would you like to see yourself at the end of your treatment?

Next a practitioner MUST have an excellent, above excellent, knowledge on ayurvedic herbs, but more importantly about local herbs.  Since Ayurveda is the science of Balancing ones inner constitution with the outer environment, the use of local herbs is most effective and safe.  If you are on a cocktail of medications, its IMPORTANT that the practitioner understand the medications but also provide information for all the doctors that are in your life.  I suggest someone who has a balanced understanding of traditional medicines and understand the importance and place of western medicine.

What to expect when you go to a consultation?

Be ready to do alot of talking and opening up about yourself.  Ayurveda works on the Limbic System, this is the deep subconscious part of the brain where traumas are mostly held.  You will be asked questions about your emotions, thoughts, bowl movements, etc.  In the first appointment the physician will be asking you more about yourself than about your condition.  The second appointment is where you start to get into the disorders and current prescriptions.

Some doctors will check your pulse, eyes, tongue and nails which is a standard practice.  The first time a physican does this it must be early morning, within 30 minutes of rising, empty stomach and minimal activity.  I have been to markets and such where the practitioner is offering pulse reading and tongue assessments, know that this assessment will provide only a general idea of your illness, example you have a liver condition.

Ayurvedic Therapies, PanchKarma, Kayakalps, Siddhi, Rasayanas etc.

There are many different therapies offered in Ayurveda, however ALL of them require a diet change and pre cleanse and stabilization of the energies within our bodies.  Many times I have seen Srirodara on a service list with a price and the description is listed as the ultimate stress reducer.  Yes this is true, however this particular treatment works directly with the nerves in the spine and thus we need to clear ourselves well prior.  Ayurveda is not a quick fix and just like ailments take time to build up so does healing them in a balanced fashion.   Be ready to work on yourself with prescribed mudras, yogas, pranayam, mantras etc… they are all used along with the herbal prescription.


This article is a very generalized overview of Ayurveda.  It has been written with the intention to educate the lay person who may be interested in this modality of healing.  The purpose is to give a general understanding of how this system works and how to choose a practitioner.  I have been practicing ayurveda from my family lineage and ancestry and still ontop of this have been trained further by a yogi in a remote parts of India and yet there are illnesses that I will not treat for lack of direct experience.  The reason I share this information is because life is valuable and the importance of knowing the person that you will be working with and who they are is greatly, if not one of the most important part, of the journey towards better health.


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