In recent times, Ayurveda has been becoming more and more popular not only in India but worldwide. With the popularity of Ayurveda came money and chances of commercialization, this obviously resulted in various marketing gimmicks used by the so-called proponents of Ayurveda, which has created a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions amongst the users. In this two-part series, “Ayurveda Myth Debunked” I will attempt to clear up some of the confusion.
Ayurveda Myth 1: Ayurveda is a 5000-year-old science so not relevant today.
This is one of the biggest myths about this science which is indeed more than 5000 years old. Ayurveda focuses on Prevention and Maintenance of health more than curing the health problems. So, we can clearly say Ayurveda is predominantly a Preventative science. Ayurveda does this by clearly laying down the various basic principles like Three Doshas, Five Elements, Body Constitution, etc. which are absolutely relevant today and will be relevant even after another 5000 years also. Ayurveda has also laid down tips on how to maintain health and prevent diseases like Daily Regimen, Seasonal Regimen, Rules about Nutrition, etc. which stand relevant to the core even today.
Ayurveda Myth 2: Ayurveda is an Indian science that is relevant to Indians only.
Just like explained in the first point, Ayurveda focuses on Basic principles and concepts which are applicable to everybody born and living on this planet because the human bodies don’t vary from country to country in basic composition or physiologies. There certainly will be differences in the body types of people living in different parts of the world are based on their nutrition, seasons, weather, lifestyles but still, these differences won’t be anything out of the purview of the Concepts explained in Ayurveda. So even though Ayurveda originates in India it is a global science as every concept, every principle explained in Ayurveda is applicable across the globe.
Ayurveda Myth 3: Ayurveda is a Hindu Science
This is an absolutely flawed myth. Ayurveda has nothing to do with any religion or belief as it is ‘ Science of Life’ and hence applicable to every human being following any religion or belief. Ayurveda is a Preventative Healthcare modality and nothing to do to promote Hinduism or any other belief.
Ayurveda Myth 4: Ayurveda means Vegetarianism
I am always asked this question being Ayurveda Practitioner, I must be a Vegetarian or sometimes people even ask me, if one has to follow Ayurveda you need to turn vegetarian. Again this is a big Ayurveda myth, Ayurveda as mentioned earlier is a ‘Science of Life’ and it focuses on Health maintenance and Disease Prevention (which both come under Care) and if you get any diseases then curing that condition (this comes under Cure). Ayurveda doesn’t discriminate between Vegetarian or Non-Vegetarian foods as long as it helps to serve the purpose – Care and Cure. In fact, it will be interesting for the reader to know that you will find recipes of various Non-Vegetarian preparations from eggs, various animal proteins mentioned in the Ayurveda Classics written more than 5000 years ago. You will find different recipes for various animal meat preparations to cure various health conditions. Ayurveda believes Health is Prime, there is nothing like Vegetarian or Non-Vegetarian whilst trying to maintain the health, preventing any disease or curing any disease.
Being Vegetarian or Non-Vegetarian is a personal choice and nothing to do with Ayurveda.
Ayurveda Myth 5: Yoga is a part of Ayurveda or Vice versa
This is again a big myth mostly coming from the fact that people who believe in Ayurveda tend to believe in Yoga and vice versa. But both these are individual sciences and are not a part of each other. In fact, you will find various differences in the way both these sciences speak about Doshas and their functions, in Ayurveda, you will find Panchakarma (5 cleansing processes) and in Yoga, there are Shatkriya (6 cleansing processes) and many such other differences. But because both these sciences help achieve the same objectives in life and are aimed at prevention and maintenance of health, they have been misunderstood as being part of each other.