The study of Ayurveda is over 5000 years old. Its main goal is longevity through awareness, life enhancement, disease prevention, and lastly, treatment. It is a deeply nature based system built from the foundational elements of earth, air, fire, water and ether. Ayurveda’s tri-dosha energetic system is founded on the interaction of the 3 active elements of air, fire, and water which Ayurveda refers to respectively as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Through the understanding of a person’s dosha (constitution, based on their combination of Vata, Pitta and Kapha), a practitioner or individual can learn how to maintain their health through balancing these three active energies. Ayurveda lays out clear instructions around choices of lifestyle, diet, and medicine based on one’s individual dosha. Ayurveda can be as simple as a Pitta (fire) being overheated by the sun, and then cooling the excess heat by taking a cold shower. Pitta can easily become aggravated by excess heat and any symptoms they have will probably be amplified. Or it can be as complex as a five year formal study that covers everything from internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, toxicology, and spiritual healing.
Ayurveda also covers the study of herbs and their effects on the doshas, therefore it is a wonderful complimentary accompaniment to the study of western herbalism. Being a sensory paradigm based on the six tastes and the elements it fits in beautifully with experiential learning as laid out in my book Pathways to Healing, A Guide to Herbs, Ayurveda, Dreambody, and Shamanism. This is important for the reader to understand in the development of my curriculum. My goal in teaching is to awaken the teacher within through direct experience. For example, students tune directly into the elements and observe how they interact which then informs them of the energetics of Ayurveda.
I have created an easy to follow chart that guides a student through the many interactions of the 6 qualities of hot, cold, wet, dry, heavy, and light along with the 5 elements and how this relates to the seasons, life cycles, times of day, etc. Once you understand the chart you can make better decisions based on your dosha.