Unlike Western medicine, which until recently has concerned itself primarily with healing the sick, Ayurveda takes a holistic view of health. Prevention is as important as cure to an Ayurvedic practitioner. It's ironic that principles known to Ayurveda for thousands of years are now trumpeted as new discoveries by Western medicine.

The Ayurvedic approach to health is twofold: heal sickness by restoring the body's natural balance of energies (doshas), and preserve health by carefully maintaining that balance through daily and seasonal routines.

Dinacharya, the daily routine, prescribes good hygiene, proper diet, moderate exercise, efficient elimination of wastes, stress-reduction, and a positive mental attitude. The day is divided into four-hour periods, each corresponding to a doshic energy: Vata, Pitta, or Kapha. Ayurveda recommends a daily routine synchronized with this doshic cycle.

Similarly, Ritucharya prescribes a seasonal routine based on the doshic cycle of the seasons. In Ayurveda, the year is divided into six seasons. Each corresponds to a type of doshic energy; each, therefore, requires a different regimen if we are to remain in harmony with nature.

By following the recommendations of Dinacharya and Ritucharya, balance is maintained and health preserved. If, however, an unbalanced state is allowed to persist, the development of disease is virtually inevitable.