What Is Ayurveda?
This month we begin series of articles outlining some of the basic principles of Ayurveda, the ancient Vedic science of life and health. The writer, Dorothy Seeger, began her study of Ayurveda in 1987 with an eight-month course taught by Dr. Vasant Lad at the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, NM. Now living in Oakland, CA, she administers the correspondence course of the Ayurvedic Institute as well as having her own Self-Healing consulting practice.
Long ago the ancient sages of India discovered and developed a great science, Ayurveda–the science of life itself. What promotes life, longevity, happiness, and fulfillment, and conversely, what produces illness, pain, misery? These are the questions they asked themselves, and by observing nature and through their deep meditation they discovered the principles underlying a healthy and happy life and the means nature has given us to achieve it.
Ayurveda, concerned with the foundation of all spiritual practice as well as a healthy body and harmonious life, is part of a trilogy of physical, mental and spiritual practice. These three levels are in constant communication, each one influencing the others in an upward spiral of evolution toward health and enlightenment. To neglect the physical is to neglect the mental and spiritual also and to put the goal ever farther away. Knowledge of the body and its needs is essential for emotional and spiritual growth.
Ayurveda differs from modern medicine in that it goes to the root causes of illness rather than concerning itself with symptoms only. “Every disease has no name,” says Dr. Lad, meaning that Ayurveda goes beyond labeling and treating symptoms to deal with the basic imbalances which cause illness.
Today Ayurveda, this science of life, is being newly discovered in the West. In India people live Ayurveda as a part of the culture, but here in the West we have moved far from the Ayurvedic principles that bring harmony and balance to life and make spiritual practice natural and easy.
In future articles I would like to talk about what constitutes health and what causes ill health. What are the steps we can take in life to maintain the body’s harmony and little by little to increase it? How do we determine our physical type and how do we live according to the needs of our constitution? What role do herbs and spices play and how should we cook and eat? The list of topics is endless.
My hope is that I will be able to explain this wonderful science with clarity and humor so that you will all be intrigued and want to delve further.
In loving service,
Dhyanyoga Centers is offering two events on Ayurveda this year:
- Ayurveda Week, held at the Dhyanyoga Center in Antioch, CA will run from April 20– 27. It is a week of personal Ayurvedic treatments and healing. For more info, click here.
- On the weekend of May 10-12, Shri Anandi Ma, Dileepji, and Dr. Vasant Lad will offer a workshop titled, Ayurveda in Aging and Spiritual Practice at the Dhyanyoga Center in Antioch, CA. For more info, click here.