What Is Ayurveda?

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Developed over centuries in what is now known as India, Ayurveda is a holistic healing framework that encompasses all of life. The ancient texts state that everything can be used as medicine or a poison, it’s just a matter of context.  Ayurveda is about aligning with Nature or Reality. Through this alignment, we experience health and happiness. This alignment or orientation with Nature is what many people feel is missing most in our hectic, technology-driven lives. Ayurveda addresses this from many different angles.

Ayurveda’s chief aim is two-fold:

  • To prolong life and promote health.
  • To completely eradicate the disease and dysfunction of the body.

You’ll notice that the first bullet is to promote the health of the already healthy. That’s at the core of Ayurveda: to maintain good health. If health is not so good, its aim is to completely eradicate disease and bring back a state of health.

Ayurveda achieves this aim with the help of the Three Pillars:

  • Diet (Āhāra)
  • Lifestyle (Vihāra)
  • Herbs (Auṣadha)


Through diet, we affect the way that the body digests and assimilates food. By applying conscious food eating habits and aligning with the proper rhythms (i.e. eating seasonally and for our constitution) we allow our body’s digestive fire to work at full efficiency, thus nourishing our tissues, building our immunity and warding off disease to the best of our ability.


Lifestyle practices are an essential part of aligning our body’s energy and mind with nature. This alignment brings health and proper nutrition and assimilation.

Simply waking up at the same time every day and eating at the same time will have a profound effect on the health of your body and mind. Adding daily exercise, abhyanga (oil massage), meditation, pranayama (breathing exercises) will all help the body maintain a healthy structure as well as help the mind and emotions settle into a more calm state.


Before herbs can become appropriate and efficacious, all of my teachers have told me, the diet and lifestyle must first be addressed. Herbs can help one to align more with a healthy diet and lifestyle through alleviating particular ailments, however, for long-term health, diet and lifestyle are the keys to sustainability.

I have received some basic herbal training. However, I rely heavily on diet and lifestyle recommendations and only suggest herbs when absolutely necessary. With prescribing herbs also comes an ecological impact as the growing, harvesting, transport, processing, and distribution of herbs should be considered.