What is Ayurveda?

What is Ayurveda?  It’s a question I am frequently asked.

Ayurveda, meaning “the science of life,” is the sister science/medical side of Yoga and is considered the most complete system of natural healthcare in the world today. This 5,000-year-old model of medicine provides us with a unique opportunity to understand ourselves as a part of nature. Ayurveda encourages the concept that we each possess our own individual constitution based on 3 doshas. This allows us to take our well-being into our own hands using our unique traits.

Ayurveda gives us the practical tools to re-establishing ourselves and taking charge of not only our health but also our lives. It focuses on an individually based diet and lifestyle protocol to help achieve a level of balance. Herbs and other supplements, spirituality, psychology, rejuvenation and revitalization, breathing exercises (Pranayama), meditation, physical exercises (such as yoga asana’s, gym exercises, and other physical forms of activity) are some of the various tools recommended as part of this system to gain harmony and manage imbalances.

Knowing and living an Ayurveda lifestyle is essential to achieving your goals. We are all individual’s with a unique footprint. This unique footprint will tell you which foods create vitality for you and which foods will make you slow or dull. Ayurvedic practitioners use the terms “vata” “pitta” and “kapha” to describe your body type and determine a course of treatment. Vata types are said to be thin and bony with restless minds; pitta have a moderate build physique with muscular limbs and an alert mind; and kapha have broad frames, long limbs and are calm and patient.

In addition to dietary and lifestyle recommendations, an Ayurvedic practioner may suggest certain yoga poses (asanas) or breathing practices (pranayama) to assist you on your road to optimal health.

Ayurveda can:

• Provide a comprehensive means to detox and cleanse • Address weight loss
• Strengthen immunity
• Balance hormones
• Work with chronic illness
• Reduce or eliminate allergies of various types
• Resolve insomnia
• Support health and longevity
• Not only be about sick-care but also maintain healthcare overall
• Get to the root of skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, acne
• Strengthen the body externally via yoga and other exercise regimens; along with strengthen the body from theinside via herbs and diet
• Balance the mind through breathing techniques and meditation practices
• Work on healing trauma, psychologically, physically and emotionally/mentally

As we transition into the winter months, now is the perfect time to consider small shifts which incorporate our “sister science”.  Whenever possible, we suggest considering a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner.  Pair these insights from Kim with Jeff Perlman’s Ayurveda and the Five Elements at LA Yoga Magazine.


A special thanks to Kim Sardo of Ayurveda Wellness Healing for contributing to this article – and also to Kimberly D’Alelio for her editing.  The staff at Ayurveda Wellness Healing, LLC are proud graduates of Kerala Ayurveda Academy as well as Professional Members of NAMA (National Ayurveda Medical Association).  To learn more about the services they provide, consult their website.  Or, reach them by e-mail at: [email protected]