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Ayurveda: Basic Principles

Ayurveda (ay-your-vay-duh) literally means “the wisdom (or science) of life.” It is an ancient Indian way of life that uses natural methods for healing, including yoga, meditation, herbs, acupuncture, and diet.

What Is Ayurveda?

The goal of Ayurvedic practice is to prevent illness and when it occurs, treat it gently and holistically. One of the main principles of Ayurveda is that health is the result of a balance of the mind, body, and spirit. This is primarily expressed through the doshas.

What Are Doshas?

Ayurvedic principles include the understanding that people are made up of five elements: ether, air, water, fire, and earth. When any of these elements is out of balance, illness may occur.

These five elements can combine so that one or two are more prominent or excessive in an individual. This can influence the person’s body type and specific health issues. These combinations are called doshas. The three dosahs are: vata (a dominance of ether and air), pitta (a dominance of fire and water), and kapha (a dominance of water and earth).

A person’s dominant dosha is determined at birth and modified through life experience. Each individual has a dominance of one of these types, and there is frequently a little cross-over. For example, one might be a pitta with a tendency to kapha, or a vata with a tendency to pitta. Each dosha type has dietary and behavioral needs that are unique and necessary for optimum health of the individual. Below are the general characteristics of a person with each dosha type.

  • Vata types are usually thin, energetic, very short or very tall, and tend to tire easily.
  • Pitta types are fiery, of medium and sturdy build, and are ambitious with a medium amount of energy.
  • Kapha types are heavier and slower and hold a good reserve of energy and stamina. They are calm and deliberate.

If you don’t know your dosha, you can use this dosha identifier tool to determine it:

Depression and Ayurveda

Depression, according to Ayurvedic principles, is likely caused by an imbalance in the doshas as well as a lack of awareness of one’s profound inner self. Treating depression with Ayurveda does not preclude Western style treatment. It does, however, approach depression with a gentle, natural methodology and strives for a long-lasting balanced state. There are no negative side effects from treatment with Ayurveda.

Here at we take an Ayurvedic approach to dealing with depression, using natural healing methods, behavioral suggestions, yoga, and lots of love and hope!

You can search for an Ayurvedic practitioner in your area here:

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Disclaimer is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed professional. If you require any medical-related advice, contact your physician promptly. Information at is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard medical advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information on this website or any external links provided on the website. is not a counseling or crisis service. The diagnosis and treatment of depression and other psychiatric disorders should be performed by health care professionals. If you are suicidal, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), provides access to trained telephone counselors, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week