Ayurveda is one of the 14 sciences (vidyās). Literally, “the science of life,” it relates to understanding and healing humans, plants, animals and the earth. It is said to originate from the ṛg veda and atharva veda. It is a comprehensive paradigm of health, including anatomy, physiology, pathology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, treatment, healthy daily routines and diets, and therapeutic strategies.

There are eight limbs of Ayurveda for humans, plus three branches that relate to animals, plants and farming. General medicine (kāyacikitsā), is one of the eight limbs and provides prerequisite, essential information to learn and practice the other limbs and branches. It is also generally the only limb studied in any depth outside of India. An Ayurvedic physician in India must undergo a 5 ½ year post-graduate degree program (Bachelor’s of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery, or BAMS) to become qualified as an entry-level practitioner. One could continue to study for a lifetime beyond that, to learn all the branches and limbs and probably never reach the end of what there is to study in this vast ocean.

We can study Ayurveda with an aim to support healing in others or ourselves. We can study it for an hour or a lifetime. Our Embodied Ayurveda & Yoga online course is an in-depth exploration of foundational elements of general medicine (kāyacikitsā), with live guidance and community. It is designed to be valuable whether you want to learn Ayurveda to apply to yourself or your family, or whether you wish to have a solid foundation from which to continue your studies in order to become a practitioner.

Foundational ancient, Sanskrit texts:

Bṛhat Trayī: literally, “the three greats”; three ancient texts:

  • Aṣṭāṅga Hṛdayam, authored by Vāgbhaṭa
  • Caraka Saṃhitā, authored by Caraka
  • Suśruta Saṃhitā, authored by Suśruta

Laghu Trayī: literally, “the lesser or lighter three”; three ancient texts:

  • Mādhavanidāna, authored by ācārya Mādhavakara
  • Śārṅgadhara Saṃhitā, authored by ācārya Śārṅgadhara
  • Bhāva Prakāśa, authored by ācārya Bhāvamiśra

This video provides an orientation to where Ayurveda lives within the context of Vedic knowledge systems and to what we learn in most foundational Ayurveda courses, including Satsangam’s Embodied Ayurveda & Yoga online course.