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Valuable Vocabulary

agni –  fire; one of the Five Great Elements of Samkhya philosophy [Sanskrit] 

ahamkara sense of ‘I’, identification with the repeated thought – ‘I’ [Sanskrit] 

Ayurveda – ayur – life, veda – science, knowledge;  the Science of Life [Sanskrit]
An ancient, holistic approach to health and longevity, originating in India, using sensory qualities applied to all the senses and the mind to maintain and/or restore balanced function. Recognized as a system of medicine by the World Health Organization, a licensed form of medicine in India and popular in various forms globally. Considered to be the oldest system of medicine on the planet, and thus, the “Mother of Medicine.”

Ayurveda – A Language of Life [Niika’s definition]
An ancient, indigenous life wisdom demonstrating and articulating principles for living so Nature–and one’s own nature–function optimally and in simultaneous harmony, offering a valuable reference matrix for any endeavors on the spectrum of therapeutic, educational and creative endeavors now, when our people, places and planet are in need of revival.
Niika thinks of Ayurveda as the “Mothering of Medicine,” because of the attention to the needs of each unique individual and situation, the repetitive application of qualities to the senses for beneficial affect, and the sense of affection and delight between the “mother” (Nature) and “child” (each living being and system) engaged in this life-sustaining relationship.

dis-ease   a state of being “ill at ease”; a dis-order in the physical or mental structure or function of a living person, animal, plant or natural system

dosha – literal meaning is “fault” (a dosha isn’t typically noticed unless there is too much dosha accumulated, the effect resulting in symptoms of imbalance)
dosha –
Niika’s definition: a force of life

gunas universal attributes, qualities, especially energetic or sensory, ie. tri-guna (sattva, rajas, tamas), sensory qualities of the elements which comprise the material world, 10 pairs of opposites [Sanskrit]

jnanindriyas  –  the five sense organs through which we perceive our Earthly experience  – ears, eyes, nose, tongue, skin/proprioceptors [Sanskrit]

jyotish – Vedic astrology


kapha  – the force of Nature made up of the elements water and earth governing structure and protection [Sanskrit]

karmas – actions, and their results [Sanskrit]

karmendriyas   –
the five organs of action through which we effect ourselves and our surroundings  – feet, hands, rectum, genitals, mouth

Pancha Maha Bhuta – the Five Great Elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether (Space)

Prakruti – Nature  –  Mother Nature ie., “I want to spend time in Nature this weekend.”

prakruti – nature  –  the characteristics that altogether make up the uniqueness of a person, a place, a situation, etc. ie., “It is her nature to run fast.

pitta  – the force of Nature made up of the elements fire and water which heats, penetrates, loosens bonds of form, governs transformation  [Sanskrit]

rajas  – one of the “three gunas” which permeate all manifestation. Literally “colored.” Rajas is characterized by movement, ambition, agitation and irritation. [Sanskrit] 

rasayana  –– treatment, substance or practice designed to revive, renew, nourish and rejuvenate [Sanskrit] 

sattva – one of the “three gunas” permeating all manifestation. No English word adequately defines sattva, however it is characterized by stillness, openness, peace, clarity, balance and consciousness. [Sanskrit] 

Self  – the eternal and essential “I” devoid of personal characteristics

self  –  the personal self with characteristics, situations, a history, etc.

Shad Darshan – 6 systems of Indian philosophy.  “Darshan” means ‘sight, ‘vision, direct perception’, so you can think of these as 6 world views.
Three are mainly concerned with the material, manifest world: Saankhya, Nyaaya, Vaisheshika
Three are mainly concerned with the inner world and philosophy: Yoga, Mimaamsa, Vedaanta
Ayurveda draws from all these, foundationally from Samkhya.

‘health,’ also ‘to be established/steady in oneself’ [Sanskrit]

tamas  – one of the “three gunas” permeating all manifestation. Literally – “darkness.” Tamas is characterized by torpor, greed, heaviness, lack of awareness. [Sanskrit]

tanmatras – subtle elements, the objects of the senses: odor/smell, taste, light/form, feel/touch, sound, each manifest of one of the Five Great Elements  [Sanskrit]

tat  – “That,” the “amness” that always is

tattva  –  ‘thatness’, ‘principle’, ‘reality’ or ‘truth;  an element or aspect of reality  [Sanskrit]

vikruti  – one’s current state of imbalance, described in terms of doshic excess and involvement  [Sanskrit]

Yoga – employing a wide variety of physical asanas and vinyasas, meditation and breathing practices, Yoga is a “sister science” to Ayurveda. Traditionally, the purpose of Ayurveda is health, vitality and longevity, whereas the purpose of Yoga is to prepare the body, mind and subtle body for the rigors of the kundalini process and reaching enlightement.

– the force of Nature made up of the elements air and space governing movement  [Sanskrit]