Ayurveda is an elegant system of healing, first described around 5,000 years ago in ancient Vedic texts as comprehen- sive teachings on preserving and maintaining health. The fact that this ancient medicine is still in use today is a testament to the wisdom it holds when it comes to understanding the human potential to achieve a happy and wholesome life.
Primordial in essence, Ayurveda serves to awaken your body’s ability to restore balance using principles that are seemingly basic and yet profound. These same principles are mirrored in many indigenous cultures today, especially when it comes to the importance of restoring harmony or balance to cultivate good health. In addition, woven into Ayurvedic teachings is a sense of love and compassion for each person’s healing jour- ney and a reminder to regard yourself in the same way.
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One of the first things you will learn about or experience when starting to delve into the world of Ayurveda is the cleansing and rejuvenation process called panchakarma, where you quite literally clean the slate and start anew.
AYURVEDIC DEFINITION OF GOOD HEALTH
What is the definition of good health? Ask on an individual basis and you’ll find many definitions based on such things as life experiences, culture, and health history. With any good journey, it’s helpful to know where you are going—what the goal is. Then, steps can be taken to seek out ayurvedic healing accordingly.
Here is the Ayurvedic definition of good health in Sanskrit, followed by the general translation:
Sama dosha, sama agnischa Sama dhatu mala kriyah Prasanna atma indriya manah Swastha iti abhidhiyate
One whose doshas are balanced, whose digestive fire is balanced, whose bodily tissues and elimination processes are functioning normally,
and whose senses, mind, and self are filled with bliss;
such a one is called a healthy person.
Ayurveda teaches that your natural state is one of health, happiness, and an inner sense of well-being. As the above definition confirms, this can be achieved when your body is clear of toxins, your mind is at peace, your emotions are calm and happy, your wastes are efficiently eliminated, and your organs are functioning normally.
This sounds great, but how do you not only get to this point but also maintain it? This is where Ayurveda shines.
THE IMPORTANCE OF DETOXIFICATION
According to Ayurveda, good health depends on your body and mind’s ability to metabolize all of life’s experiences, both good and bad. This is why digestion, or agni, is important as it relates to the metabolization of life on all levels. Agni means gastric fire, enzymes, and metabolism and determines how efficiently you are able to convert information in the form of food, emotions, and experiences into nourishment. When agni, and the gastrointestinal tract (or GI tract for short), is strong, everything is broken down and absorbed into your mind-body physiology as appropriate. Anything that is not useful is eliminated from your body and mind. Start to notice how you personally metabolize the world around you and how it affects you.
When agni is weak, it leads to improper digestion of food, experiences, and emotions and results in an accumulation of undesired impurities usually referred to as toxins. Ayurveda refers to these incompletely metabolized materials as ama and is viewed as toxic residue. The presence of ama clogs the channels in the body that are in charge of waste removal and circulation. Thus, proper assimilation and nourishment are denied to the mind-body physiology.
Ama is described as: Heavy, Thick, Cold, Foul
Agni is described as: Light, Clear, Hot, Pure
Which one describes how you feel?
When ama has accumulated over a period of time, mental and physical functioning is diminished and it feels like it takes a lot of energy to get anything done. The body is working overtime to perform what it usually does with ease. It is difficult to restore balance and harmony until the impurities have been eliminated. Once ama is reduced and agni is strong, you can tackle life a lot easier.
In the world is busy, stressful, and toxic that places a huge strain on
your physical and mental systems, especially over time.
While you may not see it with your eyes, you most assuredly feel it. Stress is a huge problem and is the cause of many ailments. How can you focus on creating a happy life that Ayurveda promotes when you feel like crap? The first step is clearing out the gunk, or ama, through panchakarma and then learning tools to maintain good health.