Is Ignorance The Root Cause Of All Disease?
Man is a trinity of body, mind, and Soul and life as a whole is designed to promote human happiness, health, and growth. That said, the question naturally arises – what is the root cause of disease? According to Ayurveda, disease is often the end result of a long process and can actually be detected and addressed at the early stage of development; hence prevention being better than a cure. More simply, disease is an imbalance. Ayurveda explains that the disease process begins with disturbances in the balance of the doshas; i.e. bodily humors.
“Health results from the natural, balanced state of the doshas.
Therefore, the wise try to keep them in their balanced state.” – Charak Samhita
“Ignorance Is Not Bliss.”
We email. We google. We tweet. And of course, we facebook. In this incredible age of technology, our senses have been taken over by constant sensory stimulation. According to Ayurveda, excessive indulgence in any physical or mental activity results in excess vata which may then ] create an imbalance in the release of neurotransmitters thereby overtaxing both the central nervous and endocrine systems. As a result, this can be considered the underlying cause of certain vata imbalances such as insomnia, anxiety, irregular digestion, constipation, etc.
Lifestyle Medicine: Treating The Causes Of Disease
Three Major Causes Of Disease
- wrong use of the senses
- mistake of the intellect
- environmental, climate & age
1. Wrong Use Of The Senses
Thousands of years ago, the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda has explained the Sanskrit term “asatmyendriyartha samyoga” which simply implies the wrong use or misuse of the senses. For example, excessive indulgence (ati yoga), misuse (hina yoga), and perverse use (mithya yoga) of the senses are considered the major causes of disease.
The Moving Mind
The concept of vata originates from the Sanskrit word “vyv” [vaya] which implies ‘that which moves things’ The science of Ayurveda speaks of vata as being the basis of all movement of the body and mind. When vata is in excess [within the mind] it can result in anxiety, nervousness, depression, insomnia and many other forms of difficulty handling stress. With nearly eighty percent of all diseases in the west being attributed to stress, it is no wonder why Shirodhara has been considered one of the most popular Ayurvedic treatments of modern day.
Stress Free Emotions
Stress Free Emotions supports natural resistance to emotional stress and fatigue. Diet, daily habits and ongoing stress are key factors that can contribute to imbalances in mind and body, leading to feelings of sadness and physical fatigue.
Calms the mind and emotions; supports clarity of mind and deeper sleep; natural support for everyday stress and tension.
Ayurveda describes in great detail the benefits of daily oil massage. Not only is massage comforting to the body but essential for overall health and well-being. A dry stick easily breaks but if you soak the same stick in oil it soon becomes flexible. The same happens to the human body. The influence of vata makes the body dry, brittle, and achy via the aging process. Therefore, daily oil massage helps maintain proper functions of the body and ultimately helps to reduce the effects of aging. Shirodhara is a classical and a well-established ayurvedic procedure of slowly and steadily streaming medicated oil on the center of the forehead while resting quietly on a comfortable bed. Other liquids like coconut water, buttermilk, milk, etc. are also used depending on the individual need of the patient. Ultimately, this procedure helps to induce a relaxed state of awareness, mental clarity, and even thought to help produce improved “psychoneuroimmunology”; the ability to handle stress.
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The Benefits Of Meditation
It seems that research centered around the benefits of meditation have now been rolling in steadily validating the ancient wisdom common to both Ayurveda and Yoga. Ayurveda is an ancient science which literally means ‘the science of life’. A basic fundamental premise to both Ayurveda and Yoga is that – both a sound mind and sound body are integral to one’s overall health and well-being.
Just Some Of The Potential Benefits Of Meditation:
– greater clarity and inner calmness
– increased creativity and happiness
– improved sense of emotional stability
– reduced level of anxiety and depression
– improved brain function and memory
– reduced level of stress
… the list can go on and on …
2. Mistake Of The Intellect
Ayurveda explains “prajnaparadha” as being a mistake of the intellect and is considered the root cause of all diseases. For example, one may choose to indulge in behaviors such as eating too much, consuming unhealthy food, and working too much which will naturally contribute to the root cause of disease. In essence, the root cause of disease originates by making one’s lifestyle choices only in terms of the five senses, rather than considering life as a whole – considering the body, mind, and Soul. The ancient wisdom of Ayurveda helps to reveal natural principles in order to help determine lifestyle choices that influence health and wellbeing. In other words, helping to live according to natural principles which support the innate intelligence of the body.
Promotes natural intelligence; rejuvenates mental processes; supports attention span and concentration; promotes positive emotions and self-confidence.
3. Environmental, Climate & Age
Once again, according to the science of Ayurveda, disease is considered to be an imbalanced state of the doshas and changes in the environment, climate, and age can all affect the doshas. For example, Ayurveda nicely describes the three phases of life — as being kapha, pitta, the vata stages of life.
The first phase begins with Kapha, the “Spring Type.” We all begin in the womb, a womb of sorts, and this environment is very watery. We establish the solidity of earth known as immunity. This happens from in utero and until the onset of puberty — traditionally from birth and until 15. The word “kapha” means to grow, to create form. It is anabolic. “Mother’s milk” is the primary substance that nurtures the body and mind, establishing immunity. Kapha governs immunity.
The next phase is Pitta, the “Summer Type.” Pitta begins with puberty, where testosterone and estrogen further transform the body and mind. Pitta means “that which transforms and digests.” The average age used to be 15, but now is much earlier and lasts until between 45-50. Testosterone is high in men and estrogen is prominent in women, and appetites and metabolism increase. Pitta is about metabolism and governs the endocrine system and digestive system. Sex drive increases. Pitta phase is about establishing and exerting oneself in the world through identity, like the sun wanting to be seen more.
The last stage is Vata, the “Fall Type.” Vata begins when the processes andropause and menopause initiate. Andropause is the decline of testosterone in men, with an increase in estrogen, and menopause is the decrease of estrogen and an increase in testosterone in women. The poles reverse here. Sex drive slows down. Appetite diminishes. Vata governs the nervous system and sleep quantity and quality changes. This is a more delicate and sensitive time. This time ends when the last breath is taken.
Environmental – ex. GMOs
More and more studies reveal more evidence that GMOs should have been banned before they were even allowed on the market.
“. . . glyphosate disrupts the ability of animals, including humans, to detoxify xenobiotics. This means that exposures to the numerous chemicals in food and the environment, such as endocrine disrupting chemicals and carcinogens, could be causing levels of damage that would not occur if the body were able to detoxify them.”
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Finally, one of the most common cause of disease according to Ayurveda is due to “vegavarodh” which is the suppression of ‘natural urges’ such as micturition, defecation, hunger, and sleep, etc. Interestingly, both the wrong use of the senses [“asatmyendriyartha samyoga”] and the mistake of the intellect [“prajnaparadha”] creates “vegavarodh” – being the suppression of natural urges and creating obstructions to proper flow of the body.
“Life is a series of natural and spontaenous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
– Lao Tzu
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.