Ayurveda approaches the astounding world of the psyche (mind) being in sync with the age-old cliché — We are all unique in our own distinct ways. Courtesy its holistic approach, Ayurvedic psychology serves us with a unique way to understand mind! The entwined combination of nature and nurture duly determines your physical and psychological constitution, your doshas. Each dosha (vatta, pitta, kapha) has certain characteristics and the dominance of one over the other dictates your health, your behaviour, your psychology!
The wise ancient sages have all regarded Ayurveda as a psychological system as much as it is dawned as a physical system. Thus, Ayurveda is incomplete without its view of the mind and consciousness. The examination of the mind and psychological diseases in Ayurveda is potentially as complex as the examination of the body and physical diseases. It takes into account the doshas and the gunas (Sattva, Rajas, Tamas). Traditional Ayurveda recognizes the main cause of disease as the Doshic Imbalance. It rests upon excess of rajas or tamas. To counter this, Ayurveda sheds light on a twofold treatment.
1) Rational Therapy to counter doshas. (Inducing a lifestyle dominant with appropriate food and ayurvedic herbs)
2) Yoga therapy to counter rajas and tamas. (Turning to asanas, pranayama, mantra, and meditation)
The toxic accumulation of doshas form grounds for emotional/psychological components like Vatta as fear, Pitta as anger, and Kapha as attachment.
The strongest psychological ramifications are induced by Vatta dosha as mind is also composed mainly of the same air and ether elements as that of vatta. Stress leads to an imbalanced vatta. Pain, physical and emotional, can quite easily imbalance Vatta dosha thus, paving way for a strong component of anti-vatta considerations. Yet the other two doshas have their own key psychological components and considerations as well. The most prevalent and feared mental disease, depression, is the root cause of imbalanced vatta dosha.
The three gunas are no alien to psychological factors. Rajas has ego-driven impulses and tamas has deeper emotional blockages, insensitivity or addictions. The excess mounting of these gunas make the doshas nearly impossible to deal with as they may create attitudes that completely neglect the treatment even on the level of diet & herbs.
Thus, Ayurveda is a firm believer in cross-referencing and parallel treatment of doshas & gunas. For instance, the presence of some degree of tamas, which often translates as trauma, pain or debility, is inevitable in deep-seated doshic imbalances and consequently, parallel treatment of doshas & gunas form a good foundation to approach Ayurvedic Psychology. Ayurvedic practice recognizes the psychology of doshas & guna. In this schema, the mind plays the protagonist while body is just a supporting actor where the imbalances get lodged.
SUFFERING: Physical & psychological
Psychological conditions like depression are almost epidemic today. A drug-based medication approached is used to treat these conditions, though such powerful drugs are problem-inducing and come with various side effects. The problem with these drugs is that they may only suppress vatta dosha and not correct it. Here, Ayurveda is a great alternative. Ayurveda is a mind-body medicine. Embracing Ayurveda empowers you to handle emotional issues and not just treat them on a physical level. Of course, the treatment rides on the two apt shoulders — Herbs & Yoga.
Models of the Mind
Ayurveda usually employs the Samkhya-Vedanta model of the mind.
1) Chitta – Conditioned consciousness
2) Buddhi – Intelligent judgment
3) Manas – Mind, capacity of imagination
4) Ahamkara – Ego
Chitta is the generic field of mental disturbances (vrittis & kleshas) that need to be calmed or removed. Buddhi is the intelligence we must develop in order to remove disturbances and gain peace of mind. Manas is the sensory activity that keeps these distrubances in motion and thus, needs to be controlled. Ahamkara is the ego that must be let go off!
Ayurvedic Psychology focuses on calming the chitta, developing the buddhi, controlling the manas, and reducing ahamkara. It does not isolate mind from the body but induces a path to use body, prana & senses to treat mind and psychology.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and Bhagavad Gita describe yoga as a means of working on the mind or calming the chitta, which is the basis for removing suffering. The Ayurvedic therapy of increasing sattva guna is mainly a yoga therapy. Yoga Acharyas have addressed the psychological application of Yoga and create a new psychological model of Yoga. Yoga psychology requires Ayurvedic psychology to flourish and develop and the same holds true for Ayurvedic Psychology as well!
Mind & Prana
Ayurveda and yoga treat mind and prana as two sides of the same coin. The mind is the power of knowledge (gyana-shakti) and Prana is the power of action (prana-shakti). We cannot treat the mind without treating prana. This requires yogic practices of pranayama & pratyahara. And we cannot treat prana without looking after the doshic imbalances of vatta, pitta & kapha. This includes correcting your diet according to the ayurvedic guidelines and consumption of helpful herbs having miraculous properties.
Ayurvedic Psychology & Herbs
Manas Vikruti in Ayurvedic psychology is attributable to various factors including a diet that induces more vikruti, incompatible food consumption, stress, trauma, and poor lifestyle habits. Manas vikruti may be balanced through eating a balanced diet, meditation, following a daily routine to balance your doshas, and consumption of ayurvedic herbs. The herbal remedies that Ayurveda has on offer can be used to calm chitta. Some herbs traditionally used for the mind are Brahmi (nourishes neurological system), Shankhapushpi (regulates production of stress hormones), Gotu Kola (Energises central nervous system), Bringraj (controls blood pressure), Bacopa (prevents anxiety & stress).
Drawing inspiration from the twofold ayurvedic treatment (yoga and herbs), AURIC brings to you the goodness of herbs wrapped in a bottle. The underlying aim of AURIC is to inspire you to embrace Ayurveda, embrace Yoga, embrace Herbs!
Auric has got you covered with the goodness of herbs. The other fold, Yoga, well . . . . we believe you will embrace it if you haven’t already!