Āyurveda is the system for empowerment, the system of freedom for a long and healthy life.
Āyurveda means "science of life" or "practices of longevity". It emphasises prevention of disease, rejuvenation of our body systems and extension of life span. The profound premise of Āyurveda is that through certain practices, not only can we prevent diseases, but we can also better understand ourselves and the world around us, live a long healthy life in balance and harmony, achieve our fullest potential and express our true inner nature on a daily basis.
Āyurveda was the system of health care conceived and developed by rishis (seers) and natural scientists through centuries of observations, experiments, discussions and meditations. For several thousand years their teachings were passed on orally from teacher to student. About the 5th to 6th century BC, detailed texts were written in Sanskrit. For many years Āyurveda flourished and was used by rich and poor alike in India and Southeast Asia.
Āyurveda has gone through several stages of development in its long history. It spread with Vedic and Hindu culture as far as Indonesia and it influenced Greeks' medicine and Buddhists. Āyurveda is a rich tradition, adaptable to many different times, cultures and climates. Āyurveda provides an integrated approach to preventing and treating illness through lifestyle interventions and natural therapies. It is based on the view that the elements, forces and principles that comprise all of nature are also seen in human beings . Āyurvedic philosophy and practices link us to every aspect of ourselves and remind us that we are in union with every aspect of nature, each other and the entire universe.
From Theory to Practice
A primary task of Āyurveda practitioners is education to help their patients live long and healthy lives and to "empower them". According to Āyurveda, because we each have a unique constitution, our health prescription must be unique to us. This means that in order to be healthy, we need to eat certain foods that are beneficial for our body type and stay away from others. Adopting a tailored plan will directly benefit our digestion and gut health. Our exercise program must be personally suitable as well. Our constitution determines very much about us. Understanding it lets us know what we need and how to achieve it.
On the spiritual level, Āyurveda teaches us that there exists in every person a place that is free from disease, which never feels pain, which cannot age or die and limitations which all of us accept ceases to exist. Āyurveda calls this place the silent witnesser, the promise of unlimited potential. This can only be achieved with spiritual practice.
Extracted from the book "Perfect health: The complete Body Mind Guide" by Deepak Chopra (2001)