Ayurveda is one of the oldest practiced medicine and lifestyle in the world. Ayurveda is a Sanskrit term of two words; Ayur means life, and Veda means knowledge or science. It encompasses the mind, body and spirit when bringing the person back into balance. It describes aspects of the universe such as atoms as the building blocks of life before they were even discovered by modern science. The knowledge of this ancient holistic practice is built upon the existence of the five elements, ether - air - fire - water - earth. All life contains these building blocks.
To maintain balance, body, mind and spirit or consciousness function together. Through eating healthy, practicing yoga, meditation and living a healthy lifestyle can allow the person to connect with his or her inner wisdom, promote healing, reduce stress, and potentially reduce risk to illness such as high blood pressure, anxiety and depression.
Tridosha or the Three Doshas
There are three doshas, and each consist of all of the five elements. Two elements predominate in each one.
Vata (Ether + Air)
Associated with movement, this subtle energy governs what moves in the body such as breathing, heart pulsating, muscle movement, movements in and between the cells, tissue movement. When this dosha is in balance it promotes creativity and flexibility. Out of balance it manifests into anxiety and fear.
Pitta Dosha (Fire + Water)
The energy is expressed through transformation in metabolism; it governs digestion, absorption, assimilation, temperature, and nutrition. Out of balance it manifests anger, jealousy, and hatred. It also manifests into inflammatory issues.
Kapha (Earth + Water)
Expressed through form and connection, it governs the structure of the body, organs, tissues and cells. It also provides cohesion between cells. It lubricates the bones, joints, organs and tissues, and moisturizes the skin. In balance it expresses calm, love, compassion and forgiveness. Out of balance it manifests into greed, laziness, attachment and possessiveness. It also manifests into congestive issues.
Imbalances in these doshas manifest as mild to severe diseases unique to the dosha and depending on the degree of excess of the dosha.
There is much more in-depth assessment than simply trying to identify in which dosha a person "fits" as each person is unique. To receive a proper assessment, visit a Vaidya (Ayurvedic Practitioner).
Articles on Ayurveda in the fields of physical and mental health:
Ayurvedic Management of Bipolar Disorder