What is Ayurveda?

Ayu and Veda

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is a holistic healing science which comprises of two words, Ayu and Veda. Ayu means ‘life’ and Veda means ‘knowledge’ or ‘science’. So the literal meaning of the word Ayurveda is the science of life. Ayurveda is a science dealing not only with treatment of some diseases but is a complete way of life.

 Ayurveda combines physical, psychological and spiritual therapies in an approach to health that has addressed itself to the fundamental principles of good health and longevity. It has developed a tradition of medicine and a system of treatment based on the inherent ability of the human body to rejuvenate, to heal and to restore its natural balance.



Vata frame is usually thin and low in weight with prominent bones and joints.

  • have thin skin which is dry and rough with a tendency for prominent veins and cold to the touch.
  • will have curly, coarse, dry hair and teeth will usually be large, crooked and protrude.
  • head and eyes will be small, quick and unsteady.
  • Vata have variable and scanty appetites and they will be thin as children and have trouble gaining weight.
  • Vata like sweet, salty and sour foods like cake, crackers, and pickles. They find oily foods comforting and benefit from ghee, a form of clarified butter.
  • Their thirst varies and they will nurse hot drinks to keep them warm.
  • Their bowels are usually hard and dry, and they are prone to constipation.
  • Vata are hyperactive and can exhaust easily with restless minds that fantasize.
  • They are extremely creative, artistic with extreme moods of joyfulness and fear, accomplishment and insecurity, and are often anxious.

Vata Diet (Anxiety Relieving and Nervous System Nourishing)

Dairy: all dairy products nourish the nervous system. Always boil milk before you drink it, mix with cardamom seeds and drink it warm. Don’t take milk with a full meal or with fruit. Use organic milk. If allergic substitute with almond or rice milk. Avoid ice cream, powdered milks and soya milk.

Sweeteners: all sweet flavours are good for nourishing the nervous system. Reduce refined white sugar. Avoid all sugars if bloating is present.

Oils: all oils reduce dryness and nourish the nervous system. Emphasise Flax, hemp, sesame, ghee, olive, sunflower, evening primrose, borage and fish oils. Use these internally and externally.

Grains: rice (basmati, brown, wild), wheat, oats (cooked) and quinoa are very good for nourishing the nervous system. Amaranth is ok. Reduce intake of barley, corn, millet, buckwheat and rye as these are a bit drying and can be difficult to digest creating wind.

Fruits: favour sweet, sour or heavy fruits, such as berries, bananas, avocados, grapes, cherries, lemons, limes, fresh figs, peaches, melons, plums, pineapples, mangoes, and papayas. Cooked apples and pears are ok. Soaked prunes and raisins are ok. Avoid dried fruits, uncooked apples, pears, pomegranates, cranberries as these can create wind.

Vegetables: asparagus, beets, cucumbers, carrots, and sweet potatoes are the best. Peas, green leafy vegetables, celery, summer squash, winter squash, and potatoes are best well cooked in oil or ghee with mild spices. Seaweeds are very beneficial. It’s best to avoid the Brassica family; Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. Also avoid Solanaceae family; peppers, aubergines, potatoes and tomatoes. Raw vegetables, especially onions are banned as these all create wind.

Spices: Most of them, especially; asafoetida, cardamom, cumin, coriander, ginger, fennel, dill, cinnamon, salt, cloves, mustard seed, black pepper all help reduce gas and spasms in the digestive system.

Nuts: all nuts and seeds are good in moderation, especially soaked.

Beans: avoid all beans, except for marinated tofu and mung lentils and occasionally red lentils.

Meat and fish: chicken, turkey, eggs and seafood are fine; beef should be avoided.


Pita stands with a medium build, height, and bone structure with soft, oily skin that’s warm to the touch.

  • have fair complexions and burn easily.
  • Hair is soft and oily and will bald and gray early.
  • moderate size, yellowish teeth with soft gums that bleed easily
  • has strong appetites and need large meals to be satisfied, but will not snack.
  • like sweet, bitter and astringent foods, like candy, green salads and bananas.
  • like cold drinks and have frequent bowel movements with soft, oily, loose discharges. They must evacuate immediately when they feel the urge.
  • Pita can be overly assertive and aggressive, highly organized and intelligent, with nearly photographic memories. Pita is easily irritated and can be dangerous when jealous, which happens often.
  • Pita sleep short and deep, with fiery dreams of war and violence. They are good orators, but can be sharp and cutting with their speech.

Pita Diet (Heat and Inflammation Reducing)

Dairy: Milk, butter, and ghee are good for pacifying heat. Avoid yogurt, cheese, sour cream, and cultured buttermilk; these sour tastes aggravate inflammation.

Sweeteners: All sweeteners are good except for honey and molasses.

Oils: Flax, hemp, borage, evening primrose, olive, sunflower, and coconut oils are best. Reduce sesame, almond, and corn oil, all of which increase heat.

Grains: Wheat, basmati rice, barley and oats are anti-inflammatory. Reduce corn, rye, millet, and brown rice as they are a little heating.

Fruits: Favour sweet fruits such as grapes, limes, cherries, melons, avocado, coconut, pomegranates, mangoes, apples, berries, sweet and fully ripened oranges, pineapples, and plums. Reduce sour fruits such as grapefruits, lemons, olives, papayas and sour, not-yet-ripened oranges, pineapples, and plums as they can increase heat and acidity.

Vegetables: Favour asparagus, cucumber, cooked beetroots, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, pumpkins, summer squash, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, okra, lettuce, sprouted beans, peas, green beans. Avoid Solanaceae nightshade family; hot peppers, bell peppers, tomatoes, aubergines, potato (some are ok). Also avoid Alliums family; especially raw onions, garlic, radishes. Also avoid and raw beetroots, raw spinach and mustard greens as these all increase heat and acidity.

Beans: Avoid all beans except for tofu and mung lentils. Especially avoid peanuts as these can create inflammation.

Spices: Cinnamon, coriander, dill, aniseed, cardamom, fennel, turmeric, fresh ginger and small amounts of black pepper are good, but the following spices strongly increase heat and should be taken in moderation: Asafoetida, dry ginger, cumin, fenugreek, clove, celery seed, salt, and mustard seed. Chilli peppers and cayenne should be avoided.

Meat and Fish: Chicken, pheasant, and turkey are preferable; but beef, seafood, and egg yolk increase inflammation.

Super foods: Chlorella, Spirulina, Wheat grass, Barley grass, Kalamath lake algae, seaweeds all help to cool the system and clear inflammation.


Kapha person is large, big boned, thick and strong. They stand not too tall, but often as the foundation of society.

  • Kapha have a tendency to be overweight and can become heavy by just looking at food.
  • Their skin is thick, smooth, cool and oily with a tendency to be pale.
  • Hair is thick, wavy and oily with strong even white teeth. They seldom get a cavity.
  • Kapha have small appetites and eat slowly – many small meals a day – they are the big snackers of society. They like pungent, bitter, and astringent foods like spicy dishes and green salads. But Kapha especially like dry, crispy things. They rarely drink, and have one full and heavy bowel movement daily.
  • Kapha is not very active and must study repeatedly to understand, but will never forget once they learn. Therefore they often prefer repetitious jobs where little innovation is necessary.
  • Kapha people in general are slow, steady and reliable. They are extremely compassionate, forgiving, loving and patient, often becoming social workers, nurses and the clergy of different religions. They have a deep, steady faith and highly developed spiritual feelings.
  • Kapha is sleep deep and long, often dreaming of romantic settings by lakes and rivers, or swimming. They speak slowly in a monotonous voice.

Kapha Diet (Fluid Reducing and Mucus Clearing)

Dairy: Low-fat milk is better. Always boil milk before you drink it (making it easier to digest) and take it warm. Do not take milk with a full meal, or with sour or salty food. Add some cardamom or ginger to whole milk before boiling it to help reduce any mucus generating properties. Use goat’s milk or water milk down 50/50. A little ghee (clarified butter) is fine. Avoid eggs, cheese, yoghurt and buffalo milk.

Fruits: Lighter fruits, such as apples and pears, are better. Reduce sweet, heavy or sour fruits such as oranges, bananas, pineapples, figs, dates, avocados, coconuts, and melons, as these fruits increase mucus.

Sweeteners: Use a little honey (2 tsp/day) as it helps to reduce mucus. Reduce all other sugar products.

Beans: All beans are fine, except tofu as it is very cold.

Nuts: Reduce all nuts as they are too oily.

Oils: Reduce all oils but flax, corn and sunflower is ok.

Grains: Increase barley, corn, buckwheat, quinoa and millet as these are slightly drying or warming. Avoid or do not take too much wheat, rice, or oats, as they increase heaviness and mucus.

Spices: Include all spices except for salt. Salt increases water retention and mucus whereas spices increase warmth in the body.

Vegetables: Increase asparagus, aubergine, beetroots, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, garlic, ginger, green leaves, kale, onion, potato, pumpkin, radish, sprouts. Reduce okra, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, and summer squash as these increase fluids.

Meat and Fish: White meat from chicken or turkey is fine, as is seafood. Avoid or reduce red meat and pork.

Benefits of Ayurveda

The aim of this system is to prevent illness, heal the sick and preserve life. This can be summed up as follows:

  • To protect health and prolong life (“Swasthyas swasthya rakshanam”)
  • To eliminate diseases and dysfunctions of the body (“Aturasya vikar prashamanamcha”)

What is ‘Panchakarma’ or the Therapy of Purification?

If toxins in the body are abundant, then a cleansing process known as Panchakarma is recommended to purge these unwanted toxins. This fivefold purification therapy is a classical form of treatment in ayurveda. These specialized procedures consist of the following:

  • The rapeutic vomiting or emesis (Vaman)
  • Purgation (Virechan)
  • Enema (Vasti)
  • Elimination of toxins through the nose (Nasya)
  • Blood-letting or detoxification of the blood (Rakta moksha)

Ayurvedic treatments

Ayurvedic treatment focuses on rebalancing the doshas. On your first visit, the practitioner will take a detailed medical history, check your pulse, feel your abdomen, examine your tongue, eyes, nails and skin and listen to the tone of your voice. The practitioner will also ask you questions about your general health, paying special attention to your lifestyle, diet, habits and surroundings. The practitioner will then recommend how to restore your natural dosha balance, which almost always includes changes in lifestyle especially diet. Practitioners draw from more than 20 types of treatment, but the most commonly prescribed include:

Pranayama — breathing exercises. Practicing pranayama helps you feel calm.

Abhyanga — rubbing the skin with herbal oil to increase blood circulation and draw toxins out of the body through the skin.

Rasayana — using mantras (repeated words or phrases) during meditation combined with certain herbs to rejuvenate a person.

Panchakarma – cleansing the body to purify it and reduce cholesterol. Practitioners use methods that cause sweat, bowel movements, and even vomit to cleanse the body of toxins.

Herbal medicines — prescribing herbs to restore dosha balance.


Yoga – A gentle workout for body and mind

Gentle yoga is a powerful complement to Ayurvedic treatments

Practice of yoga is an integral method in ayurveda, which is applied to keep both the body and mind healthy and relaxed. It is recommended for cure as well as for prevention of various ailments. Different yogasanas are prescribed for different dosha based ailments. The lifestyle regimens mentioned in yoga are integral to ayurvedic treatment. Meditation is often recommended to maintain balance or peace in the thinking process. Meditation removes any disturbances in the balance of the three mental states of sattva rajas and tamas.

Although recently embraced in the West, Yoga has been recognized and practiced for thousands of years in South Asia as a powerful complement to Ayurvedic medicine and healing. Ayurveda and Yoga come from the same philosophical matrix. They examine the body – mind concept from the perspective of maintenance of health and the treatment of disease. Yoga has been shown to improve circulation and digestion, and to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol levels, anxiety, and chronic pain.

The yoga practiced at Barberyn is the traditional Hatha Yoga (postures) with Pranayama (breathing) It is designed to awaken the Kundalini. This form of Yoga helps to elongate the spine and if one can keep the spine supple, and then it can delay the aging process. “You are as old as your spine”.

At Barberyn Beach the yoga sessions are held daily and the yoga and tai chi are free of charge for resident guests. The extensive grounds at Barberyn beach are well suited for the practice of yoga and a yoga pavilion has been built overlooking the ocean.

Barberyn Beach has become a popular venue for special yoga programme and yoga teachers from overseas often come with their pupils to practice yoga in combination with the Ayurveda treatment.

Yogic postures and breathing techniques have long been known for their health benefits. The 15 Century Manual on Yoga practice, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika states that as a result of the practice of postures (asana) there will be “sturdiness, absence of disease and lightness”.

The postures (Asana) bring pressure on the acupuncture points in the body with beneficial results. For example the “Gomakasana” bring pressure on the acupuncture points of the kidney. This can help in keeping the kidneys healthy and functioning properly.

Some of the Asana activate the endocrine system which consists of ductless glands. This endocrine system is responsible in keeping all the vital organs healthy and functioning properly and aims at the perfection of the body.

Apart from the curative value, Yoga brings tranquillity and stillness into our lives. The two aspects of Yoga thus provide a powerful tool for coping with physical and mental stress of modern day living.

At Barberyn there is no pressure to compete and the yoga classes are designed to cater to everyone – beginners as well as advanced students – so no one feels left out. Even the most “stiff as a board” types will be amazed at how quickly their bodies adapt to tackle

Challenging and complex positions. In just a few days your body rewards you with increased flexibility and stamina and supplement by Tai chi session.

Ayurveda, Meditation & Self Awareness

Helping to restore the natural balance of body and mind and increase self-awareness

Ayurveda, including meditation and yoga have been central to the way of life of the people who own and Manage Barberyn Resorts.

Traditional customs are preserved at the resort and guests are free to participate if they wish. The resort also organizes visits to temples, churches and mosques and guests can borrow from the owners’ collection of books and audio/ video material on the profound aspects of life on a range of subjects including “Self Knowledge”.

Experienced teachers conduct meditation sessions and periodically. Two main meditative approaches are offered:

  • Breathing-oriented meditation (such as Buddhist Satipatthana-Vipassana), which helps to open a new perceptual channel in the mind and strengthen self-awareness.
  • Loving-kindness meditation (known in Sri Lanka as metta) which, as the name suggests, promotes kindness and compassion towards oneself and others.

Of course, attendance is purely voluntary. These activities are provided for the benefit of interested guests-to satisfy their intellectual curiosity and to enhance their knowledge and experience