Definition of Ayurveda:
The name “Ayurveda” is derived from two words in Sanskrit, “ayuh” meaning “life” or “longevity” and “veda” meaning “science” or “sacred knowledge.” Ayurveda’s definition therefore roughly translates as “the science of longevity” or “the sacred knowledge of life.”
What is Ayurveda?
The traditional Hindu system of medicine (incorporated in Atharva Veda, the last of the four Vedas), which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing.
At its root, Ayurveda is a holistic tradition and way of living that can help each of us to claim and celebrate our capacity for wellness. Ayurveda can support us:
- Tune in with our truest personal nature
- Respect and develop our strengths
- Improve in on our challenge areas
- Diffuse harmful tendencies
- Maintain balance in the face of difficulty
In other words, Ayurveda is not simply about taking an herbal formula and waiting for the results. Instead, Ayurveda encourages you to be an active participant and involves you in your own journey toward healing. This involves learning about your relationship with the elements and the unique combinations they create called doshas (vata, pitta &kapha).
A brief history of Ayurveda
Ayurveda is considered the “mother of all healing sciences.” It is the profound, vast, ancient wisdom that teaches us how to live lives of balance. In the Indus Valley an advanced culture flourish. It is from this region that the Vedas emerges. It is from the Vedas that the wisdom of Ayurveda is born.
Ayurveda has long been acknowledged as an integral part of India’s health system and as an important part of its national heritage. Medical systems such as Ayurveda that are rooted in knowledge and availability of medicinal plants and herbs are a significant component of modern alternative medicine and play an increasingly crucial role in modern cultures. This understanding of medical processes has been passed down from generation to generation and has been modified along the way with the emergence of scientific research.
Ayurveda’s Relevance to Modern Society
Since Ayurveda is deeply rooted in spirituality and prescribes a holistically healthy lifestyle, there has been an increase in people practicing its principles around the world. Yoga and meditation have become widely popular globally. Ayurveda-based massages are offered in spas and many people benefit from such services. Ayurveda’s influence is steadily seeping into societies internationally. Not only does Ayurveda provide health benefits but it also offers a positive economic impact.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recognised Ayurveda’s relevance and importance to the modern medical field within the context of India during the International Conference on Primary Health Care (also known as the Alma-Ata Declaration of 1978). The WHO acknowledged the role of traditional, alternative and complementary systems of medicine in health sectors for both developed and developing countries. With the slogan “Health For All”, WHO outlined the Traditional Medicine Program, which is defined as “the knowledge, skills, and practices of holistic healthcare, recognized and accepted for its role in the maintenance of health and the treatment of diseases. It is based on indigenous theories, beliefs, and experiences that are passed on from generation to generation.” WHO continues to encourage the preservation and promotion of the traditional medicine of each country.