WHY WE GET SICK

What is health and what is disease? Good health is ease, poor health is dis-ease.

Ayurveda gives us ten distinct factors in health and illness. Each is an important reason for why we get sick. They are:

     1. Like Increases Like
     2. Food and Diet
     3. Seasons
     4. Exercise
     5. Age
     6. Mental and emotional factors
     7. Stress
     8. Overuse, under use, and wrong use of senses
     9. Poor judgement in making good choices
   10. Relationships

Viruses, bacteria, and other antigens are also a reason for why we get sick. However, Ayurveda says that 90% of illness is manufactured by the body due to imbalanced doshas, impaired digestive fire, and wrong diet & lifestyle - with 10% of illness caused by antigens. Western medicine believes 90% of illness is due to antigens and 10% due to diet & lifestyle.

Like Increases Like

Ayurveda places great importance on the concept of "like increases like." The doshas (vata, pitta, kapha) are increased by like qualities. Vata is aggravated by wind, dry, cold, rough, rushing, over-working, jumping, and jogging. Pitta is aggravated by hot spicy foods, hot humid weather, excess thinking, competition, summer, and arguing. Kapha is aggravated by excess water intake, heavy bulking foods like meat, wheat, cheese, and sweets. Cold and damp weather combined with sitting idle increases kapha. To counteract these qualities, Ayurveda says that "opposites cure." A daily routine with emphasis on these Ayurvedic concepts will help increase or decrease qualities as needed to maintain good doshic balance.

Food and Diet

Food is one of the main ways the doshas imbalance. Vata is imbalanced by foods that are dry, rough, light, cold, hard, uncooked, and that are pungent, bitter, and astringent in taste. Vata balancing foods are well cooked, heavy, creamy, sweet, salty, and sour. PItta aggravating foods are hot, spicy, sharp, oily, slimy, liquid, soft, and that are sour, salty, and pungent in taste. Pitta balancing foods are cooling, cooked, sweet, astringent, and bitter in taste. Kapha is imbalanced by foods that are sweet, sour, and salty, and are heavy, unctuous, hard, liquid, and cold. To balance Kapha, foods that are light, dry,  and sharp with pungent, bitter, and astringent taste. Wrong food combining is also a contributing factor to aggravating the doshas. 

Seasons

The seasons are a great influence on the doshas. Autumn disturbs vata, winter aggravates kapha, and summer causes heat imbalances for pitta. During each season, Ayurveda says to apply the concept of like increases like and opposites cure. In autumn, vata benefits from staying out of the wind, eating warm cooked meals, and living a calm daily lifestyle. During winter, kapha is aggravated by the cold, dark, heavy, and damp season. Kapha needs lots of stimulation, exercise, and light during the winter months. A diet low in sweet and heavy food will balance. Pitta is effected by the summer heat. Hot, spicy, sharp, and salty food increases pitta during this season. To balance pitta, eat cooling foods like coconut, dates, and basmati rice. 

Exercise

Exercise is medicinal! When we exercise, our entire body benefits. Right exercise brings balance, wrong exercise aggravates the doshas and causes undue fatigue. Vata is aggravated by running, jogging, jumping, and fast movements. To balance, vata exercises that help bulk the body such as moderate weight lifting. Pitta is aggravated by exercise that is competitive, over-exerting and over-heating. Swimming in a cool lake is very good for pitta, especially during summer. Kapha does not like to exercise, but benefits greatly from jogging, running, aerobics, and dancing. Kapha loves to swim, but water increases kapha so this is not good exercise for kapha. Yoga, especially Ayurvedic yoga, is balances all doshas when practiced according to one's main constitution.

Age

Ayurveda divides the human lifespan into three distinct stages. Kapha is the age of childhood (birth to 10), Pitta is the age of adolescence and middle age (11 to 50), old age is considered Vata age (50 onward). During kapha age, children need a lot of sleep to help their growing bodies. Colds and congestion are kapha disorders, and during kapha age children are more prone to these illnesses. Adolescents and adults are more competitive, goal driven, and energetic. During this time, pitta type disorders such as colitis, gastritis, and peptic ulcers are more prevalent. During vata age, elderly people tend to get arthritis, cracking and popping joints, Alzheimer's, and usually require much less sleep. Understanding the influences of these distinct life stages helps us to maintain doshic balance throughout our life by applying the concepts - like increases like and opposites cure - life stage.

Mental and emotional factors

Where the mind goes, the body follows. The entire body and doshas ares influenced by positive or negative emotions, thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. Fear, anxiety, insecurity, grief, confusion, sadness, and restlessness are all associated with aggravated vata. Anger, hate, rage, envy, ambition, competitiveness, judgement, criticism, and perfectionism are associated with increased pitta. Aggravated kapha brings greed, attachment, lethargy, laziness, boredom, possessiveness, attachment, jealousy, an sleepiness. When we have an understanding for how our thoughts and emotions bring imbalance to our doshas, we can make the necessary changes in our thinking and lifestyle to create positive thinking and balance our emotions.

Stress

Stress comes in many forms, and stress is one of the main causes of disease. The body, mind, and doshas are all imbalanced by stress. The ways which stress causes illnesses include staying up late at night, excessive traveling, over stimulation of the senses, poor good combining and wrong diet, repressing the emotions - especially negative like fear and anger, and wrong relationships. When vata people become stressed, they often develop anxiety or fearfulness. Pitta results in anger and burning type diseases like colitis as well as hypertension, peptic ulcer, and the expression of rage and anger. When kapha people become stressed, they tend to turn to chocolate and comfort food which leads to further health problems. Meditation, relaxation, Ayurvedic counseling, and a conscious effort to reducing the amount of stress in one's life is essential for maintaining good health.

Overuse, underuse, and wrong use of the senses

Over use of our senses - taste, touch, smell, sight, and hearing - places strain and stress on the nervous system. Laying out in the sun too long and listening to loud music are examples of over using our senses. Squinting the eyes to read small print, eating wrong foods, watching violent movies are examples of misuse of the senses. Staying indoors for long periods of time, ignoring our senses, and prolonged fasting are under-uses of our senses. All of these examples imbalance the body, mind, and doshas.

Poor judgement and wrong choices

When we make right choices, we feel happy. Wrong choices lead to misery. Similar to overuse, underuse, and wrong use of senses, making the wrong choices about our health has consequences. Over eating is an example poor judgement because this stresses the digestive system and leads to toxins in the GI tract. Doing things we know are wrong, when we know better, leads to suffering. Practice making good choices for your body, mind, and your doshas. 

Relationships

Everything and everyone we encounter in our life is considered a relationship. Food, drink, the earth, moon, sun, and air are all things we have relationships with in our lives. Friends, family, co-workers, pets, and your spouse are all part of our relationship life. Ayurveda teaches the importance of maintaining relationships rooted in love and compassion. Many people enter relationships for purposes of dominance or control of the other. This leads to a life in the relationship of struggle, arguing, and violence. Relationships such as these to not bring healing, but are destructive and desperate. Maintaining healthy relationships leads to a healthy and happy life.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended as medical advise, diagnosis, or to replace a one-on-one relationship with a licensed Doctor or health care professional.