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Why Kriyakala is A Successful Diagnostic and Treatment Tool?

The basic goal of Ayurveda is quite simple, use opposite qualities to maintain or restore balance. When a person loses balance, they enter into a disease stage; regardless of how minor the signs and symptoms appear to be. These six stages of disease are called kriyakala.

  1. Accumulation
  2. Aggravation
  3. Overflow
  4. Relocation
  5. Manifestation
  6. Diversification

These six stages refer to the doshas movement in our physical body, the tissues and channels, as well as the mental body, thoughts and emotions. Diet is a huge factor when examining the increase and decrease of dosha. What we bring into our bodies will always affect our balance more than our environment will. For example, what we consume on a chilly winter day will determine our balance more than experiencing the coldness of the winter day.

Lifestyle habits and the quality of mind are also incredibly important in Ayurveda's recognition of disease. The mind is an extremely powerful force upon the state of the body. As western medical studies have also discovered, the mind can invoke the physical body's response with a mere thought. The mind must be a part of disease classification and treatment.

The beauty of kriyakala is how specific it is. In this view of disease progression, we are able recognized and even classify disease far before the western medical system even views the imbalance as any problem. Kriyakala allows for insight into the future manifestation, what a certain set of symptoms may evolve into if they are not taken care of.

At the first stage of disease we see mild symptoms that many people may not even be alarmed by. If the person allows the body's natural intuition to subconsciously guide them, these symptoms can disappear quite quickly, with proper action and attention to the imbalance. The symptoms at stage one can include experiencing dry stools, fatigue, heaviness, or a bitter taste in the mouth. These little signs speak to the beginning of an imbalance which, left alone, can progress into a serious condition over time.

If the body does not immediately restore the symbiotic doshic balance the symptoms can become more apparent - ex. dry stool becomes constipation, bitter taste becomes acidity, heaviness creates lack of appetite and blockage in the systems. This is due to an increase of dosha in the body. Still at this stage it is easier to restore balance and become symptom free if opposite qualities are utilized. The doshas have increased, but their excess have not begun to overflow and circulate throughout the body. Stage three shows the beginning of excess doshas beginning to circulate. This becomes problematic very quickly. The excess dosha will move into other areas of the body, particularly weak areas, and begin to manipulate the balance and processes there. Symptoms at this disease stage may be vomiting, gingivitis, low-grade fever. This continues with increasing severity through stage four, relocation. At stage five, manifestation, western medicine is now concerned and diagnosing the symptoms as a specific disease condition. Then, stage six brings about damage to the affected system or tissue. At this stage it is too late to restore the patient from the damage, there is only disease management.

As you can see, with the Ayurvedic classification of disease there is much more time and opportunity to catch and prevent a disease from manifesting. What many would disregard as "normal" or unimportant symptoms can be telling to an Ayurvedic practitioner. The sooner diet and lifestyle can be adjusted, the easier it is to prevent or stop disease from manifesting.

It has been eye-opening and deeply thought-provoking to learn about Ayurveda with Khabir during our Diagnostic Methods & Skills of Ayurveda course. I want to thank Khabir, and his teacher Dr. Vikram Chauhan of Planet Ayurveda, for this valuable sharing of Ayurvedic wisdom.

Kacie Goddard - Los Angeles, CA

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