Did you set new goals or resolutions for a healthy 2018? Does it seem daunting or overwhelming? Are you letting your fears keep you from even starting? The struggle to keep those resolutions is real, but with everybody seemingly into yoga these days, it naturally becomes easier to practice it.
And even a day’s yoga workout can help you realize how important it is in maintaining a healthy body. Ayurveda and Yoga are two inter-related branches of the Vedic tree. They are an important part of Vedic science and together encompass all of human life & the universe.
It is important to understand the respective roles of Ayurveda and Yoga in the Vedic system, to get the bigger picture. Now, Yoga and Ayurveda are not merely two separate but related healing disciplines of India. Each has its unique place and function, but they overlap into the other on various levels. On one hand, Ayurveda deals with the health of the body, on the other Yoga deals with purifying the mind and consciousness and together they compliment & embrace each other.
Both Yoga & Ayurveda have the same goal, which is attaining union with the ‘Self.’ Besides shoring a philosophical foundation both systems have many similarities in relation to attitude, nutrition, diet, lifestyle hygiene, exercise and cleansing practices as well as spiritual practices. Both have an inseparable relationship.
First things first, Ayurveda provides rules of daily and seasonal regimens to help us adjust to the movement of time. It has additional health regimens for different stages and ages of life. It also has special practices for men and women, young and old, and shows us how to adapt. Through Ayurveda, we can promote positive health, immunity, creativity and higher awareness.
Ayurveda can be described as the “yogic system of medicine”. It takes the principles and practices of Yoga, which was originally a sadhana system or spiritual path and extends them into the realm of health and disease treatment. Traditional Yoga follows the healing approach and background of Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda uses the methods of Yoga as healing therapies, not only for the body but also for the mind. Daily meditation remains one of Ayurveda’s most important recommendations for health and well-being for everyone.
Yoga is mentioned in Ayurvedic texts such as the Charaka Samhita. It is important for dissolving physical stress and calming the mind before meditation and is central to Dinacharya, the ayurvedic routine. It is the ideal ayurvedic exercise, because it rejuvenates the body, improves digestion, and removes stress. Yoga balances all three doshas, and different poses have different effects.
Forward bending postures cool Pitta dosha. Twists are good for Kapha because they stimulate digestion. Backward bends are heating, and thus balancing the Vata types, as long as the person has the strength to do them. Yoga postures tone every area of the body and cleanse the internal organs of toxins, which is one of the goals of Ayurveda and this is how Yoga is a part of Ayurveda. At the same time, Ayurveda is a part of Yoga.
Yoga aims to cleanse the nadis, or channels, with different postures. But trying to do that without using the ayurvedic principles for removing ama (digestive impurities) is like hopping on one leg. That’s why traditional yoga schools have always taught ayurvedic principles as well as yoga asanas because the two are so interdependent.
Today one of the biggest challenges to all countries is soaring medical costs, which now consume a significant portion of the budget of both countries and families. The predominant drug based medicines are failing to produce positive health or to handle chronic diseases like diabetes, arthritis and heart disease.
From the standpoint of Yoga and Ayurveda, we would not say that such drug-based medicine is wrong or unnecessary, but it should not necessarily be the first line of treatment. It could come in when natural therapies have been unable to work.
First, we should look at dietary changes, herbs, lifestyle changes, Yoga and meditation to improve our health. Much of this is preventative but it can also promote a deeper level of treatment, particularly for chronic diseases and psychological conditions that are plaguing many people in our stress-filled way of life.
It is important to integrate Yoga and Ayurveda in order to bring out the full healing and spiritual potential of each. Bringing Ayurveda into Yoga provides a yogic and Vedic system of medicine to allow for the full healing application of all aspects of Yoga. It provides a diagnosis and treatment in harmony with Yoga philosophy, as well as a diet and herbal treatment that follow the spiritual approach of Yoga. Bringing Yoga into Ayurveda adds a spiritual and psychological dimension to Ayurvedic treatment, without which Ayurveda tends to get reduced to a physical model in which its full Vedic healing powers cannot be easily realized.
Yoga and Ayurveda are being adopted worldwide. Ayurveda provides the appropriate lifestyle recommendations for Yoga practice, as well as the background to unfold the full healing potential of all aspects of Yoga. Yoga provides the spiritual and psychological basis for Ayurveda and its higher applications. The world today looks to India for its wisdom of consciousness and understanding of the cosmic intelligence that Yoga and Ayurveda help us bring into our daily lives.