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Definition of Ayurveda and Doshas – Deepak Chopra

Posted on Nov 26, 2016 |

Definition of Ayurveda and Doshas – Deepak Chopra

Ayurveda is the science of life and it has a very basic, simple kind of approach, which is that we are part of the universe and the universe is intelligent and the human body is part of the cosmic body, and the human mind is part of the cosmic mind, and the atom and the universe are exactly the same thing but with different form, and the more we are in touch with this deeper reality, from where everything comes, the more we will be able to heal ourselves and at the same time heal our planet. —Deepak Chopra

Ayurvedic medicine, is an “alternative” medical practice that claims it is based on the traditional medicine of India.  Ayurveda is derived from two Sanskrit terms: ayu meaning life and veda meaning knowledge or science. Since the practice is said to be some 5,000 years old in India, what it considers to be knowledge or science may not coincide with the most updated information available to Western medicine.

Deepak Chopra has done more than anyone else to spread the good word globally about the wonders of Ayurveda.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine:

Many Ayurvedic practices were handed down by word of mouth and were used before there were written records. Two ancient books, written in Sanskrit on palm leaves more than 2,000 years ago, are thought to be the first texts on Ayurveda–Caraka Samhita andSusruta Samhita….

Ayurveda has long been the main system of health care in India, although conventional (Western) medicine is becoming more widespread there, especially in urban areas. About 70 percent of India’s population lives in rural areas; about two-thirds of rural people still use Ayurveda and medicinal plants to meet their primary health care needs. In addition, most major cities have an Ayurvedic college and hospital. Ayurveda and variations of it have also been practiced for centuries in Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Tibet. The professional practice of Ayurveda in the United States began to grow and became more visible in the late 20th century.


Patients are classified by body types, or prakriti, which are determined by proportions of the three doshas. The doshas allegedly regulate mind-body harmony. Illness and disease are considered to be a matter of imbalance in the doshas. Treatment is aimed at restoring harmony or balance to the mind-body system. 


Vatacomposed of air and space, allegedly governs all movement in the mind and body and must be kept in good balance. Too much Vata leads to “worries, insomnia, cramps and constipation….Vata controls blood flow, elimination of wastes, breathing and the movement of thoughts across the mind.” Vata also controls the other two principles, Pitta and Kapha

Pitta is said to be composed of fire and water; it allegedly governs “all heat, metabolism and transformation in the mind and body. It controls how we digest food, how we metabolize our sensory perceptions, and how we discriminate between right and wrong.” Pitta must be kept in balance, too. “Too much [Pitta] can lead to anger, criticism, ulcers, rashes and thinning hair.” 

Kapha consists of earth and water. “Kapha cements the elements in the body, providing the material for physical structure. This dosha maintains body resistance….Kapha lubricates the joints; provides moisture to the skin; helps to heal wounds; fills the spaces in the body; gives biological strength, vigor and stability; supports memory retention; gives energy to the heart and lungs and maintains immunity…Kapha is responsible for emotions of attachment, greed and long-standing envy; it is also expressed in tendencies toward calmness, forgiveness and love.” Too much Kapha leads to lethargy and weight gain, as well as congestion and allergies.

On the basis of the above metaphysical physiology, Ayurveda recommends such things as: to pacify Kapha eat spicy foods and avoid sweet foods, except for honey but don’t heat the honey. Avoid tomatoes and nuts. Turkey is fine but avoid rabbit and pheasant.  If you’ve got too much Pitta then try this: eat sweet foods and avoid the spicy. Eat nuts. To reduce Vata: eat sweet, sour and salty foods; avoid spicy foods. Nuts are good and so are dairy products.

These herbal and dietary practices are thought to be necessary for good health in Ayurveda because they are believed to have the power to restore harmony and balance to mind, body, and spirit. This alleged harmony and balance is said to be the key to health.

Take the Dosha Quiz to find out if you are Kapha, Pitta or Vata – Click HERE

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