How the “Science of Life” is interlinked with our Yoga Practice
This weeks’ Ayurveda Lectures for our soon-to-be 200 hrs Yoga Teachers inspired me to write about this ancient health system and explain how it connects with Yoga.
Ayurveda is one of the oldest holistic health care practices and has been around for over 5000 Years. It looks at diseases as an imbalance of body, mind and soul – meaning all 3 play a part in diagnosis and treatment. What you eat and where you live also factors in to one’s health.
“Ayur” is Sanskrit for life, “Veda” means knowledge. Ayurveda is the Science, Yoga is the practice of the Science; they go hand in hand. Same source, Same goal; Both Philosophies originate from ancient Indian scriptures –the Vedas. They both aim to unify the body and mind to the Self.
Tri Guna Concept Sattva, Raja and Tamas are the 3 Gunas (Sanskrit=characteristics) that are present in everything and everyone according to the Vedas. The interaction of these qualities determine the growth in one’s life. Sattva is the quality a Yogi tries to achieve; it’s the state of harmony, balance and joy.
Doshas tell us who you are and what you need In Ayurveda, every individual is unique and there is no diet or lifestyle that works for everyone- identifying them help us understand ourselves better. There are 3 Doshas present physiologically and mentally; Vata, Pitta, Kapha. Usually one or two Doshas are dominant, the key is to follow your diet and lifestyle accordingly to create balance. Yoga Poses and Styles also affect the doshas to increase or decrease. That explains why some of us feel more energized after a Yin/Restorative Class, while others feel more balanced and calm from practicing a dynamic Vinyasa Style Class.
Detoxification Body purification Techniques; Panchakarma in Ayurveda and Kriyas in Yoga, eliminate Toxins from the Body. There are various methods that are prescribed specifically to balance your dominant dosha. The regular practice of Pranayama and Meditation for a healthy and balanced body is the foundation for a stable and still mind according to both systems.
8 Limbs- Comprehensive Practice Ashtanga Yoga and Ashtanga Ayurveda have 8 components that support the balance of the mind. Despite the herbal prescriptions ayurveda specialises also in surgery, internal medicine, psychiatry, pediatrics , toxicology, rejuvenation and aphrodisiacs . They also both refer to the 5 sheaths of the Body, Nadis (energy channels) and the 7 Chakras (Energy wheels) The 8 limbs of yoga lead to enlightenment through the mastery of the body and the mind, which can only be achieved when all obstacles of disease are removed, Therefore Ayurveda can set us off on our Yoga Journey to reach to unity.
I only scratched the surface of this complex concept but I hope it helped understand the connection to your Yoga Practice and it inspired you to tap into this further to live a healthy and balanced life.