What Are the Main Fundamental Principles of Ayurveda?

Principles of Ayurveda

Table of Contents


Ayurveda is a system of holistic medicine that originated in India more than 5000 years ago. This system is based on the belief that health and wellness, both physical and mental, depend on a balance between the mind, body and spirit. Ayurveda aims to prevent and treat diseases by restoring this balance through natural methods such as diet, lifestyle, herbs, yoga and meditation.

In this blog, we will examine the main fundamental principles of Ayurveda. So read on to find out all about these principles that you’ll encounter in an Ayurvedic course from Mansarovar Ayurvedic Medical College.

The Five Elements

The fundamental principles of Ayurveda view the universe as composed of five elements: space, air, fire, water and earth. These elements are present in everything, including our own bodies. They combine to form three doshas or energies: Vata (space and air), Pitta (fire and water) and Kapha (water and earth). According to the history and principles of Ayurveda, each dosha has its own characteristics, functions and qualities that affect our physical, mental and emotional health.

For example, Vata is responsible for movement, creativity and communication; Pitta is responsible for digestion, metabolism and intelligence; Kapha is responsible for stability, immunity and compassion

Also Read:How Does Ayurveda Help in Individual Well-Being?

Prakriti and the Three Doshas

Prakriti is another of the fundamental principles of Ayurveda that refers to the unique constitution of every person, which is determined by the proportion of the three doshas in their body. The Prakriti influences our personality, preferences, strengths and weaknesses. It also determines our susceptibility to certain diseases and disorders.

The goal of Ayurveda is to maintain or restore the harmony of the Doshas according to one's Prakriti. To understand one's Prakriti, Ayurveda uses various methods such as pulse diagnosis, tongue analysis, body type assessment and questionnaires. By knowing one's Prakriti, one can choose the best diet, lifestyle and treatment according to the Ayurvedic principles for health.

For example:

  • A person with a predominant Vata Prakriti should eat warm, moist and nourishing foods; avoid cold, dry and light foods; follow a regular routine; practice calming activities like meditation and massage; avoid excessive stimulation and stress.
  • A person with a predominant Pitta Prakriti should eat cooling, sweet and bitter foods; avoid spicy, sour and salty foods; moderate their work and exercise; practice cooling activities like swimming and gardening; avoid anger and competition
  • A person with a predominant Kapha Prakriti should eat light, dry and spicy foods; avoid sweet, oily and heavy foods; vary their routine; practice stimulating activities like jogging and dancing; avoid laziness and attachment.

The Four Stages of Life

Ayurvedic principles for daily life divide human life into four stages:

  • Brahmacharya (student)
  • Grihastha (householder)
  • Anaprastha (retired), and
  • Sannyasa (renounced).

Each stage has its own duties, responsibilities and goals that are aligned with the natural cycles of nature. The fundamental principles of Ayurveda prescribe different diets, routines and practices for each stage to support the physical, mental and spiritual development of the individual.

For example:

  • In the Brahmacharya stage (from birth to 25 years), the focus is on learning, acquiring skills and developing character.
  • In the Grihastha stage (from 25 to 50 years), the focus is on fulfilling family and social obligations, earning wealth and enjoying pleasures.
  • In the Vanaprastha stage (from 50 to 75 years), the focus is on retiring from worldly affairs, sharing wisdom and serving humanity
  • In the Sannyasa stage (from 75 years onwards), the focus is on renouncing all attachments, seeking liberation and attaining enlightenment.

The Six Tastes

The fundamental principles of Ayurveda recognize six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. Each taste has a different effect on the Doshas and the body.

For example:

  • Sweet food increases Kapha and decreases Vata and Pitta
  • Sour food increases Pitta and Kapha and decreases Vata
  • Salty food increases Pitta and Kapha and decreases Vata
  • Bitter food increases Vata and decreases Pitta and Kapha
  • Pungent food increases Vata and Pitta and decreases Kapha
  • Astringent food increases Vata and decreases Pitta and Kapha.

The principles of Ayurvedic system of medicine recommend eating a balanced diet that includes all six tastes according to one's Prakriti and the season.

For example:

  • In winter when Vata is high, one should eat more sweet, sour and salty foods to balance it.
  • In summer when Pitta is high, one should eat more bitter, sweet and astringent foods to balance it.
  • In spring when Kapha is high, one should eat more pungent, bitter and astringent foods to balance it.

This principle of taste can be seen influencing the nature of ayurvedic medicines too. For example, neem and bitter gourd, both natural ingredients that have a bitter taste, are often recommended as ayurvedic medicine for diabetes.

The Concept of Agni

Agni is the Sanskrit word for fire. It refers to the digestive fire or metabolic activity that transforms food into energy and nourishment for the body. Agni is also responsible for burning toxins and waste products that accumulate in the body. The fundamental principles of Ayurveda consider agni as the key to health and longevity. A strong agni leads to good digestion, assimilation, immunity and vitality. A weak agni leads to poor digestion, accumulation of Ama (toxins), low immunity and disease.

An Ayurveda course suggests various ways to enhance Agni, such as eating according to one's appetite, avoiding overeating or fasting, eating at regular intervals, eating fresh and seasonal foods, avoiding incompatible food combinations, using spices and herbs, practising yoga and pranayama, etc.

Also Read:Ayurveda - The Way to a Healthy Lifestyle


Ayurveda is a holistic system of medicine that offers a comprehensive approach to health and wellness. It is based on the main fundamental principles of the five elements, the three doshas, the four stages of life, the six tastes and the concept of Agni. By understanding these fundamental principles of Ayurveda and applying them to our daily lives, we can achieve a balance between our mind, body and spirit.


1. What is one of the most important principles in Ayurveda?

One of the most important principles of Ayurveda is the principle of the five elements as it influences all the other fundamental principles of Ayurveda.

2. What are the four principles of life Ayurveda?

The principle of four stages of life in Ayurveda are Brahmacharya (student), Grihastha (householder), Anaprastha (retired), and Sannyasa (renounced).

3. What is golden triangle in Ayurveda?

The Golden Triangle project is a process for the scientific validation of Ayurveda.

4. What are the 6 stages of Ayurveda?

The six stages of disease in Ayurveda are Sanchaya (accumulation), Prakopa (aggravation), Prasara (dissemination), Sthana Samshraya (localization), Vyakti (disruption), and Bheda (manifestation).