What is Ayurveda? How can it help me?

Overview
Ayurveda is a holistic approach to health that leads up to wellness. It originated in India thousands of years ago and differs from traditional medicine as many of the Ayurvedic herbs, treatments, and practices heal the body before disease arises, rather than after. Ayurvedic medicine aims to prevent and treat illness by keeping the mind, body, and consciousness in balance. This can be achieved through proper nutrition, lifestyle and herbal remedies.
 
Each of us is unique. In Ayurveda, we each have different combinations of the doshas which represent our physical, mental and emotional characteristics. There are three doshas:
 
Pitta:
Pitta is rooted in fire and is primarily related to digestion. When in balance, pittas exhibit intelligence and vitality. Out of balance pitta can result in anger and agitation.
 
Vata:
The primary elements of vata are air and ether. When vata is in balance, there is creativity. When out of balance, there is fear and anxiety.
 
Kapha:
Considered the water element, kaphas express love and forgiveness when in balance, and insecurity when out of balance.
 
The doshas can get out of balance when we experience stress, strained relationships or have an unhealthy diet. In Ayurveda, the goal is to bring you back into balance.
 
Where to begin
 
If you’re interested in exploring Ayurveda and what it can do for you, find an Ayurvedic practitioner in your area. In Ayurveda, information is gathered about you by reading your pulse, examining your nails and tongue and so on. To locate someone near you, visit the National Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine at http://www.niam.com
 
If working with an Ayurvedic practitioner is not an option for you, then you can try the basics, such as practicing yoga, meditating, and eating a vegetarian diet (or at simply eliminating red meat) and reducing the amount of toxins you consume by choosing fresh, organic foods when possible. To learn more, visit The Ayurvedic Institute at http://ayurveda.com