Ayurveda's long history dates back 5,000 years, the time when the Vedas were composed. Some beliefs hold that Ayurveda is over 10,000 years old. Veda in Sanskrit means knowledge or wisdom. The Vedas are the same texts that contain India's original system of yoga and meditation. This system of yoga and meditation is practiced all over the world today. When the Vedas were composed, philosophy and medicine were not segregated from each other, and these sacred texts contain the wisdom to bring mind, body, and spirit into balance and achieve true health.
A literal translation from Sanskrit, Ayurveda means "knowledge of life" (ayus is life while Veda is knowledge). Ayurveda believes that the human is a part of the Universe and is therefore composed of the same elements.
These five elements in the Universe are Prithvi (earth), Tej (fire), Jala (water), Vayu (air), and Akash (space or ether). Forces in nature and within us are called Doshas that contain the same elements.
The three Doshas are Vata (air and space), Pitta (fire and water), and Kapha (water and earth).
Each human contains a varying mixture of elements and Doshas - some are born dominant in either one or two Doshas, while some have an even distribution of all three Doshas (Tridoshic). The mixture we bring at birth is called our Prakriti. Through erratic lifestyles and diet, our Doshas get vitiated and unbalanced. This unbalanced state is called Kikruti (misbalance). Ayurveda brings principles, techniques, and practices to balance our Doshas and, in turn, helps us balance our health.