Ayurveda takes into account the various organs, body energies – Prana – and individual characteristics. The Gunas – the individual tendencies classified as Tamas, Rajas, and Sattva – together with Karma, the result of our actions, determine how we are: our physical, mental, psychological and spiritual predispositions.
Each body and its contents (Jiva) are classified into three groups, Kapha, Pitta and Vata, to which each of us belongs in a different way.
This is our starting point, which will change according to our behaviour. In essence, nothing is definitive. We become what we do and eat.
The areas of the Vedic tradition, which refer for example to philosophy (Samkia) and theology (Mimansa), are linked to one another. Ayurveda, the science of life, is one of these and follows the same logic. Its purpose, as is also the case with the other life sciences, is to sustain, in addition to physical wellbeing, the practice of yoga, which is communion between creation, living creatures and the Creator.
We live to evolve and eating, as well as each of our practices, should be preparatory to this purpose.
Yoga, which could be associated with psychology and significantly affects how our mind performs, embraces different types of schools. There is Karma Yoga, for instance, for achieving a life in contact with the external world, Jnana Yoga that emphasises the path of knowledge, and Bhakti Yoga, whose focus is more on meditation and one’s inner self. Like food, they too must be adapted to one’s inherent tendencies.
Nutrition helps yoga, which in turn fosters good health. Everything we do when meditating and eating allows us to reach higher levels of understanding and to increase our consciousness.
The recommended diets are almost the same as those proposed by Chinese dietetics, except for an important aspect: vegetarian nutrition is almost always recommended in China. In India, vegetarian diets are an age-old tradition, providing precious knowledge that has been acquired over a period of 7,000 years.