Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine that originated in India approximately 5000 years ago and was traditionally practiced along with yoga. It is a holistic approach to health designed to help people live long, healthy, and well-balanced lives.
The term Ayurveda is taken from the Sanskrit words ayus, meaning life or lifespan, and veda, meaning knowledge. Therefore, it is the "science of longevity". Ayurveda does not view health as merely an absence of disease.
This is the definition of health from Susruta Samhita Sutrasthanam 15.38 (written 12th Century AD): "He, being established in Self, who has balanced doshas, balanced appetite and digestion, properly formed tissues, proper elimination of wastes, proper functioning of the bodily processes, and whose mind, soul, and senses are full of bliss is known as a healthy person."
Achieving and maintaining good health isn't just about eating right or exercising. It's knowing yourself so well, you know what you need in the moment so you can maintain balance. It's a combination of doing the right things at the right time; eating seasonally, building up and rejuvenating, detoxing and nourishing. Ayurveda arms us with the tools to recognize the signs and symptoms of when we begin to go out of balance and what we need to do to adapt to stay in balance.
The basic principle of Ayurveda is to prevent and treat illness by maintaining balance in the body, mind, and consciousness through proper drinking, diet, and lifestyle, as well as herbal remedies.