Health is usually given to us from birth. As the basis of life, it opens the world to us. Illness, on the other hand, means massive impairment and costs a lot of energy. But what exactly does health mean in detail? How is illness presented? What can we do ourselves to restore the original state of health or to avoid disease?
Conventional medicine often makes it too easy for itself. The phrase “You should exercise more, eat better and avoid excessive stress” has been part of the repertoire of well-intentioned medical advice for decades.
Once a disease has broken out, it is often only the symptoms that are treated here. The actual causes, however, remain in the dark.
It is not that difficult to look at each person individually and to question why a certain illness could manifest itself in him.
This is how holistic medical professionals proceed and in Ayurveda, too, the individual is viewed in their entirety and not primarily the illness or the symptoms that occur.
For more than 5,000 years Ayurveda has dealt with the questions asked at the beginning about the meaning of the terms "Health and sickness". So much in advance:
Ayurveda is a health medicine and therefore a joyful medicine.
Ayurveda has answers to many questions about health
Ayurveda's answers come from a multitude of deep insights and practical experiences - the sum of many generations. Countless people have already been able to prevent diseases from developing or even cure them if the outbreak has already occurred with the help of this ancient - yet current - Indian healing art.
In this article we will first deal with the Ayurvedic understanding of health, which may differ from the general one.
Then you will learn more about ten potential causes of illness and what options are available to you to counter them.
Because: First that awareness The factors that maintain and restore health (or that which makes us sick) enable us to design a life that is beneficial to the health balance (homeostasis).
The Ayurvedic view, which deals with the development of diseases, will also be part of this article. In Ayurveda, health is not to be equated with the absence of illness. Rather, we are talking about a balance between body, mind and consciousness - for optimal energy and an inimitable attitude to life. On closer inspection, it is a balanced state between
- the three doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha)
- the seven tissues (Dhatus)
- the three excretion products (Malas) as
- the so-called digestive fire (Agni)
- Rasa (plasma or cytoplasm): Nutrients obtained from digested food in turn supply all tissues, organs and organ systems
- Rakta (blood): The vital sap supplies all organs and tissues with the oxygen they need to maintain vital functions
- Mamsa (muscles): On the one hand a cover for the sensitive, vital organs, but the muscles also enable the movement of the joints. In addition, physical strength lies in them
- Meda (fat): Fat protects the organism from overheating, but at the same time maintains the suppleness of the individual body tissues
- Asthi (bones and cartilage): Support of the body structure for an upright gait
- Majja (bone marrow and nerves): Majja fills the cavities of the bones and transmits motor and sensory impulses at the same time. This ensures vital communication between the cells and the body's organs
- Shukra and Artava (male and female reproductive organs): seat of the pure essence of all body tissues; they are able to create new life.
A person's state of health is only good when all seven dhatus are optimal eare developed and they can function properly.
Each dhatu is dependent on the previous one. Nutrients in their raw form are still unsuitable for the organism. Failure to adhere to the order mentioned would result in an insufficient supply of the dhatus, which would lead to deficiencies in tissues and organ systems.
The Malas stand for the three body waste products stool, urine and sweat. Due to the food supplied - including liquids - they have to be produced in the metabolism in appropriate quantities and disposed of through the known channels.
Agni stands for the biological, d. H. the digestive fire - also called heat energy. Determining the metabolism, Agni in Ayurveda is associated with digestive enzymes and metabolic processes (breaking down, digesting, absorbing and assimilating food).
On the one hand responsible for the supply of nutrients to the tissues, the digestive fire also watches over the immune system. It destroys microorganisms such as toxins or bacteria that have entered the digestive system from outside.
Life and vitality are only possible through Agni. A good digestive fire is representative of a long life in the best of health.
On the other hand, impairments - the imbalance of the doshas - have negative effects on the metabolism. Resilience and immune defenses decline and those affected feel sick.
In addition to physical factors, mental and emotional factors also play an important role in health. Your equilibrium gives rise to a state which Ayurveda defines as "completely happy in yourself" - swastha for short.
This state can be achieved through a way of life that is in harmony with nature, but also takes into account the requirements of one's own constitution. That means: adequate nutrition, enriching interpersonal relationships and a regular lifestyle. Otherwise the root of all evil will spread here and lead to disease.
Note from the western world
All of this sounds familiar to us: short nights, long working days, stress, lack of exercise or strenuous exercise, unhealthy diet, lack of interpersonal relationships due to lack of time, loneliness, energetic blockages from trauma, etc.
The only thing missing from our western vocabulary is the appropriate, sonorous but apt names for the health effects.
Conventional medicine, with its sober language of expression, is no longer a mystery when it comes to the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle.
Nevertheless, it often only presents those affected with a symptom-oriented solution in the form of medication.
Ayurveda takes on a role model function at this point, as it looks at the whole person.
10 principles governing health or disease
Dr. Vasant Lad - orthodox medicine and Ayurveda doctor in India - writes: "The cause is the hidden effect and the effect is the revealed cause."
A little confusing, but be aware that diseases are by no means sudden. Rather, they follow a development process.
The connection between the factors that influence us and the effects that they cause cannot be overlooked. If one takes the seed of a tree for a better understanding of the last section, from which a powerful and healthy tree develops, one can assume a healthy environment and a similar way of life.
The potential of the seed ultimately shows in the result of a healthy tree. Illness, on the other hand, visualizes the potential of a damaged and powerless seed.
The 'tree of life' is based on unhealthy habits and thus on weakness and susceptibility. The Charaka-samhita explains the holistic approach of Ayurvedic medicine.
Accordingly, in addition to the sick person, their surroundings should also be examined. Only then can the disease and its causes be understood. The origin and environment in which the person concerned grew up, the climate, customs and traditions, typical local diseases, diet, habits, likes and dislikes are also taken into account.
His strength, his mental state and everything that defines him as an individual are also included.
Health factor 1 - the same reinforces the same
A Dosha experiences reinforcement by means of similar influences / experiences, e.g. B. Food, weather or even the seasons. Vata, for example, is reinforced by dry food, including dried fruits, as well as by running, jumping, jogging, hurrying and excessive workload.
Spicy foods, citrus fruits, fermented foods and hot and humid weather are responsible for overburdening Pitta.
Kapha, on the other hand, increases with cold, cloudy and damp weather, as well as with the consumption of dairy products, wheat and meat. Sitting around for long periods of time also only benefits Kapha.
You will certainly easily understand that there is only one antidote to the principle “like strengthens like”: the opposite.
Opposing properties balance and weaken. This is how you get back to your own constitution. For Ayurveda, this is the key to healing.
Health factor 2 - eating habits and foods
With a healthy diet adapted to your personal constitution, you take another step towards health. Correspondingly, improper nutrition inevitably leads to a range of potential health problems, such as poor digestion and increased susceptibility to disease.
Avoid unsuitable food combinations. An example: milk does not go well with bananas, yogurt, melons, fish, sour fruit, Kitchari (Mung dal combined with basmati rice) and bread with yeast.
The same applies to hasty or late evening meals, foods that are too old or foods that contain chemical additives. The combination of
This chapter gives only a little insight into the influence of food on the balance of the doshas. Be sensitive to your own and real needs. Find out what your innate constitution looks like.
Health factor 3 - suitable for the seasons = suitable for dosha
A dosha is specifically assigned to each season. For example, the Vata character predominates in windy, cool and dry autumn. Winter is typical of Kapha and is associated with darkness, heaviness, moisture and cloud formation. The beginning of spring also counts.
As soon as the days get longer and the temperatures rise, the Pitta properties come to the fore, which are fully developed in summer. However, every season also brings typical health hazards with it. A currently prevailing Dosha is then additionally strengthened, which can lead to an excess in people with a corresponding constitution.
If you behave carefully, you can prevent such conditions from developing. An example: autumn and winter reinforce Vata. People whose constitution is cited by this Dosha should wear warm clothing during this time and also eat warming food, while it is better to avoid cold food. Otherwise it can lead to typical Vata complaints or illnesses, which are expressed, for example, in insomnia, pain in the lower back, constipation, etc.
Pitta people who expose themselves to intense heat in summer, do intensive physical training and eat spicy foods, have to reckon with increased feelings of anger, rashes and diarrhea.
Colds, coughs, allergies and sinus infections are typical consequences for Kapha people in winter up to the beginning of spring.
Health factor 4 - adequate physical training
Exercise can have both positive and negative effects on health. Surely you know about the positive effects on the heart, lungs, relaxation, sleep, strength, endurance and digestion.
It also helps to reduce or maintain body weight. The mind also reacts with clarity and alertness. Too much or too little sport can cause just as much damage as a sport that is not suitable for a person's constitution. In this case, illness can be the corollary.
If you do without it, however, you will find the ideal breeding ground for diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and various heart diseases.
Yoga and some aerobic exercises are basically suitable for all body types, but should be adapted in duration and intensity according to the respective constitution.
While Kapha people can really work out, Pittas should be satisfied with moderately strenuous exercises.
Vatas are better off taking a step back and using light training. These are just a few of the many tips for exercising.
Those who act contrary to their constitution must reckon with illness and malaise.
Health factor 5 - take age into account
A person's lifetime is divided into three phases, and in each of them a Dosha takes the lead:
- Childhood = Kapha time
- Adult age = Pitta time
- Age = Vata time
The child's body is supple and soft, which are typical Kapha properties. The smallest human expenditure is susceptible to Kapha diseases such as colds.
As you reach adulthood, the Pitta properties come to the fore, which becomes clear, for example, with increasing professional ambition and aggression. Hard work, little sleep, and a lot of stress are often followed by diseases such as gastrointestinal ulcers, gastritis, and colitis.
When old age is reached, sleep is often interrupted and / or the duration of sleep is reduced. Physically, constipation and degenerative diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's) like to break the ground.
Here it becomes clear that we have to take measures appropriate to our age in order to have a positive influence on our doshas.
What increases in years should also be reduced in exertion. Exhausting physical exercises or traveling around the world are not for the elderly or for the Vata time.
Pay attention to balanced food, which should consist mainly of warm, moist and oily food. Dry food and salads, on the other hand, are only rarely part of the menu.
Health factor 6 - mind and psyche
Health and illness can have both physical and psychological causes. Illnesses can also develop in the mind and emotions.
Physically protruding, conventional medicine speaks of psychosomatics here. The mental imbalance also upsets the physical balance.
Taking all this into account, Ayurvedic medicine is holistic, for which body and mind form a unity. All emotions and thoughts evoke a biochemical reaction and influence the doshas. This influence in turn affects organs, tissues and cells.
Anger, fear, sadness, envy, hatred, greed and other negative feelings disturb the delicate dosha balance. The following properties / feelings are assigned to the individual doshas:
- The vata overhang is associated with fear, insecurity, nervousness, fear, confusion, restlessness, and sadness
- Too much Pitta leads to anger, envy, ambition, hatred, criticism, perfectionism, judgment and the need for control
- Greed, possessiveness, boredom, laziness, lethargy and clinging to people and things are typical of excess Kapha.
In Ayurveda we know that emotions have a very specific effect on certain organs. Sadness affects the heart and lungs, anger hits the liver and hatred disrupts the functioning of the gallbladder.
The fear is in the kidneys and the nervousness is felt in the large intestine; Excitement and temptation inhabit and disturb the epigastric region.
Emotions are nothing more than - reactions - to certain situations!
If an emotion is not perceived from the beginning and is eventually resolved, this has negative consequences for our organs. The consequence: stress and weaknesses produce khavaigunya (“insufficient space”), i. H. a disease could manifest itself.
Health factor 7 - stress management
The conventional medical and Ayurvedic understanding of stress differ considerably from one another.
While modern medicine associates the term with overwork, emotional trauma and the like, Ayurveda does not understand it as a state or result of anything.
Rather, stress is perceived as a possible factor that can cause illness. The degree of strength and health is nourished by following certain health rules that always keep the doshas in mind.
These rules include an appropriate diet, positive feelings, and good / loving relationships.
Food that is unsuitable for the constitution, staying up late in the evening, traveling around frequently, overstraining the senses, suppressing negative emotions and maintaining bad, loveless relationships are not good for us and generate stress.
Toxins from food and water, air pollution, excessive noise and many other environmental factors also tend to join in. We suffer!
Stress can trigger allergies, asthma, herpes, heart disease and much more and can therefore be regarded as one of the most important causes of illness (not only in Ayurveda).
An imbalance of the doshas is then the logical consequence. It is not uncommon for Vata people to develop typical Vata disorders such as anxiety and fearfulness.
The stress reaction of Pitta people often manifests itself in anger and thus unfortunately all too often in high blood pressure, gastrointestinal ulcers, etc.
Stress-ridden Kapha people can often be recognized by their excess weight, as they can devour large amounts of food.
Health factor 9 - questioning the impulse of the moment
Often a disease can develop because we act against our better judgment.
Knowledge of our own, individual psychobiological constitution provides us with important health parameters. If we know which foods are beneficial to the balance of our doshas and which are more harmful, we should always take this into account in our diet. However, following the impulse of the moment, we sometimes do the opposite of what is beneficial to our constitution.
We consume food and do things that cause problems out of sheer lust.
Dr. Vasant Lad writes about this in his Ayurveda book “Self-healing with Ayurveda” (quote): “As individuals, we are all part of the cosmic consciousness, that universal intelligence that organizes all of nature so wonderfully. This intelligence is in us, and by following the principles of Ayurveda that have been tried and tested for thousands of years and taking to heart what our intuition and inner wisdom suggest, we can shape our lives in harmony with these principles. "
Health factor 10 - good and loving relationships
Relationships aren't just between people. We all have a certain relationship to the earth, to the sun, to the moon, to the air, to the water, to food, to our own body, to our thoughts and feelings, etc. Not to be forgotten are the relationships with other people, such as parents , Children, spouses / life partners, work colleagues. Our everyday life continuously reflects our relationships.
Whether good or bad, intentional or unintentional, initially only plays a subordinate role. If coercion comes into play in a relationship, then a poor breeding ground develops. Those who use personal relationships to impose their own ideas on others arouse aversion.
The consequences (on both sides): resentment, anger, fear, etc. Put your relationships to the test. Where do injuries take place? What are your thoughts and feelings saying at the moment?
Be honest and don't gloss over anything. Only then can a picture of clarity emerge from this. Suppressed feelings and dwindling communication are a clear sign that there is a lack of clarity. The result: stress - the trailblazer for many diseases.
The biochemical body processes get out of balance and with them the doshas. All relationships should be based on clarity. Then compassion - with love in its wake - has a chance to develop.
You know: Love is the secret key to fulfilling relationships. Love leads me to success in all things!
Review of 10 health factors
Have you found yourself in one or more places? Did you realize that the 10 health factors have a significant influence on the balance or imbalance of the doshas? Even something as unimportant and unavoidable as the weather or the seasons are of great importance for the health of all of us.
These 10 health factors offer solutions that are all too understandable in retrospect. If it is cold, you can dress warmly, if it is hot, for example, avoid the sun and greater exertion, etc.
Further information can also be found at: Ayurveda Association: health and sickness
As everywhere in life, mindfulness is an important key in health and in avoiding illness, which we should not lose!