Ayurveda – Understanding Your Constitution
Ayurveda literally means the knowledge of life. It is the worlds oldest holistic healing system still in use today. The ancient principles of Ayurveda originated in India more than 5000 years ago. They have been passed down as a sacred oral tradition and within the Vedas- the oldest scriptures known to humankind. The essence and practices of Ayurveda have no borders or boundaries. It is an art and science for all who wish to return to a state of internal and external harmony.
Prakruti and Vikruti
Each individual has a prakruti or inborn constitution, a unique composition of the three doshas. One’s current state is known as the vikruti or imbalance stemming from deviation from our innate nature. Once we establish our prakruti and vikruti, we can use the wisdom of Ayurveda to consciously make choices regarding food, lifestyle, yoga, exercise, career path, environment and every other aspect of our life to maintain balance, and therefore have the energy to fulfill our highest potential.
How to Establish Your Constitution
Go through the following dosha checklist twice. To establish your prakruti (essential nature/ constitution from conception), initially check the boxes that relate to your long-term tendencies or the way that things have been most of your life. The 2nd time through, check the boxes that relate to your vikruti (current state). The checklist is merely a guide- its accuracy is determined by the objectiveness of the individual. It is best to see an Ayurvedic Consultant or Practitioner to get a clear and accurate assessment of both your prakruti and vikruti.
Panchakarma: An Ayurvedic Cleansing Method
What is a Panchakarma?
The panchakarma is the crown jewel in Ayurveda’s treasure house. Ayurveda is a holistic system of medicine, with roots in Hinduism, that emphasizes preventative and healing therapies along with various purification techniques. In Ayurveda, the five basic elements — ether, air, fire, water and earth — are manifested in the body as three different predominant constitutions, or doshas. Each person has one dosha that dominates, except in the extremely rare case that the three doshas — vata, pitta, and kapha — are in equal balance.
The best metaphor for a panchakarma detox is that it’s like getting an oil change — for your body. It’s kondo-ing your diet, pruning it down to only the most nourishing foods — kitcheree and ghee. It’s detox on “steroids,” combining a restrictive diet with specific massage treatments, rest, yoga, meditation, enemas, and herbs. Think total reboot plus system upgrade.
The idea behind a panchakarma, also called PK, is to bring the body back to its natural order and restore doshic balance. Typically, if one’s predominant dosha is given free reign and its preferences allowed to dominate (in Ayruveda this is known as doshic derangement), it disturbs the harmony of one’s whole being. Consciousness, digestion, and elimination all become impacted, and a mild protest starts to foment in the body, laying the groundwork for chronic disease and ill health.
Slowly, toxins accumulate while digestion weakens, creating a perfect storm for toxin retention — ence the tenacity and thoroughness of the PK protocol. You channel your inner Macbeth to wage war on your deranged doshas and declare “out, damned [toxins].”