An Introduction to Ayurveda and the Chakras
The Indisputable Connection Between Health and Self-Care Behavior
Begin to Understand the Role Natural Medicine Should Play in a Lifestyle of Healing, Relaxing, and Developing Holistically
You have probably come across the word “Ayurveda”, or the term “Ayurvedic Medicine” a few times, without having any reason to find out what they truly mean. You may have encountered Ayurveda in articles or stories, and based on its usage, you were able to figure out that it referred to the field of medicine – that would be right.
But Ayurveda contains many elements and facts that if known, will simply blow you away, leaving you no choice but to embrace it in many aspects of your life. This article will enlighten you with some of these facts. This article will also address the relationship between Ayurveda and the Chakras, and how a combination of both can bring great balance to the life of an individual.
What exactly is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a form of complementary or alternate medicine – at least in current day. Its origin can be traced back to ancient India and Nepal, as far back as 3000 years ago, when it certainly was no alternative medicine. It was in fact one of the major sources of good health and living at the time, and reports of its efficiency remains to this day. The word itself was formed from the combination of two Sanskrit words; Ayur (meaning life) and Veda (meaning science, or knowledge). The word Ayurveda can then safely be said to include the science of life, which, in essence, is everything it stands for.
It is a holistic healing system that emphasizes the importance of maintaining balance between the body, the mind, and the spirit. The practice of Ayurveda is more focused on healing and maintaining good health, than the treatment of diseases, although Ayurvedic treatments exist for some ailments.
Ayurveda is a form of medicine, practised in many parts of the world. In its areas of origin, up to 80% of the population still practice it till this day. Besides maintaining internal balance and purification, Ayurveda as a practice of medicine also includes herbal remedies, massage therapies, meditation, yoga, and special diets.
How Does Ayurveda Affect Health and Wellness?
Ayurvedic medicine generally believes in the internal purity of an individual, and how much it affects the outer projection by a person. When everything is balanced internally, the outer surface functions properly, and is more resistant to harm.
Ayurveda is a practice that strongly believes in the interconnectedness of the entire universe and its components. Similarly, all components of the individual – the mind, body, and spirit – are also connected, and any imbalance in one can be directly traced to a problem with the other, which will likely manifest in health problems.
Part of the beliefs in Ayurvedic medicine is the uniqueness of each body, referred to as the dosha. Your dosha specifically refers to the unique spiritual personality you possess as a result of your mind and body combination. Your dosha is you, and you are your dosha.
The three main elements of your dosha (vata, pitta and kapha) are to be kept balanced at all times, in order to prevent diseases and health problems. Ayurvedic knowledge can intimate us with the proper physical and mental activities that will help bring balance to our dosha, helping us maintain a better state of general well being.
What is the Relationship Between Ayurveda and the Chakras?
Now that we have covered the basics of Ayurvedic medicine, where does the chakra system come in? What aspect of Ayurvedic medicine is relevant to the chakra system and how?
Similar to Ayurveda, the studies and theories on the chakra system were also developed in India. While they may both be separate concepts on their own, with one being more encompassing than the other, Ayurveda and the Chakras can be seen as complementary to one another.
Basically, the Ayurvedic type of medicine prioritizes internal purification as the major pathway to achieving wellness. The Chakra system is a combination of energy pathways in the body, which needs to be kept open and balanced in order to live a healthy and fulfilling life. Engaging in Ayurvedic practices like meditation and yoga are ways by which the chakra system can be balanced and kept flowing through our mind and body.
Ayurveda is a science concerned with life. It teaches the importance of balancing the elements: water, earth, fire, air and ether. These elements are in our natural environments and physical components but are also within us. Ayurvedic science teaches that a combination of two of these elements within us is what really makes up our dosha. The combination of earth and water makes up the kapha, while the combination of fire and water elements constitutes the pitta. The vata is a combination of air and ether. Having the excess of one dosha over the other in our vessels is imbalance, and majorly leads to diseases and other health defects. This is why we must bring balance to our dosha, by recognising the most dominant elements in our system, and balancing it out by invoking the others.
For example, a dosha that is more dominant with the earth and water elements is said to have a kapha imbalance. The disadvantages that come with this include feeling stuck, lethargic, and being overly emotional. Bringing balance and healing can be achieved by actively seeking more of the fire element (pitta) to burn away the feeling of heaviness and spark our creativity once again.
The Chakra system is hugely similar to this concept and practice. Each chakra point is also related to a particular element, which has its significance in what the chakra represents, and its importance to the body and mind. For example, the root chakra is associated with the earth element, and keeps us grounded and safe within our environment. The navel chakra is also associated with an element (fire) and represents our self esteem and the fire that keeps us going.
Your Inner and Outer Wellness
As a point of clarification, Ayurveda is not the same as Chakra. Ayurveda is a science related with the study of life, and the different ways to life a healthy and fulfilling life. Chakras refer to different energy points within the body, flowing as one system, to give physical and mental wellness to the body and mind.
But the similarities between both concepts are too abundant to ignore. Both Ayurvedic medicine and the chakra system prioritize maintaining internal balance in order to manifest physical and emotional health. They both also associate with physical and environmental elements, using them as anchors for different parts of mental being, and symbols to help us in maintaining balance. Finally, they both involve the practice of physical activities like yoga and meditation, to open up points within ourselves that truly make us one with the universe.