Both Ayurveda and Yoga are profound sister sciences that are just as useful in our modern lives as they were thousands of years ago. They both have the same goal: to eliminate suffering. Together, Ayurveda and Yoga give us the tools we need to support self-healing and gain self-knowledge. By balancing the mind, body and consciousness, we become happy and content, which allows us to develop our highest potential in life.
Yoga literally translates into “union.” Yoga offers us practices to purify the mind and considers disease to be a blockage to developing peace of mind. The main goal of Yoga is to help us balance our emotions, calm our thoughts and stay both content and motivated.
In the West, we tend to focus on asanas: the Yogic practice of physical postures as a type of exercise routine. The practice of asana is important for relieving stress in the body and calming the mind, so we can focus inward more easily during meditation. By calming the body and increasing flexibility, we calm the mind. By calming the mind, we calm the body. Both relieve stress which in turn increases health and well-being.
In addition to asana there are several other branches of Yoga such as Pranayama and meditation. These, too, can be chosen to support our health and well-being when and if we are ready for them.
Have you ever wondered why you might enjoy a calm and slow Yoga class, but get irritable in a fast paced competitive one? Or why your friend might have the opposite reaction? Ayurveda has the answer for you. Ayurveda teaches us that what may be healthy for one person may be detrimental for another; we each have our own path to disease and our own path to wellness and perfect health.
Ayurveda, literally “the science of life,” is a complete system of mind-body medicine that considers all facets of diagnosis and treatment. It contains a vast wealth of healing wisdom that can be applied to all aspects of life. Its primary goal is to maintain the health of a healthy person and to return health to an unhealthy one.
A main principle of Ayurveda is that we each have a unique constitution; a unique way in which we respond to the world around us that gives us the wisdom to make the right choices for staying healthy on a moment to moment basis. Although we instinctually understand how to maintain good health, the influence of modern living sometimes confuses our ability to listen to our own innate wisdom. Ayurveda reminds us to live in balance with the natural rhythms that surround us. By living a natural and healthy life we can prevent disease as well as eliminate the root cause of manifested diseases and suffering.
By applying Ayurvedic principles to our Yogic practices, we can maintain and regain balance. We can choose practices that are calming or invigorating or cooling or heating, depending on our current state of health. For instance, in the intensity and heat of summer, we apply the opposite qualities of coolness and calmness. In addition to using cooling foods and drinks, we can practice cooling Yoga postures in a calm and gentle manner and use a cooling type of Pranayama to keep us in balance. We should finish a Yoga practice feeling nurtured, revitalized and calm, never spent and exhausted.
Combining Ayurveda with Yoga is one of the best paths to experience balance, happiness and health in the body, mind and spirt. Ayurveda tends to focus on keeping the body and mind healthy. Yoga is traditionally used to balance the mind and senses. We use the gifts of both to help us stay balanced. So if you are already interested in Yoga, go ahead and look into Ayurveda too. As you add the practices of Ayurveda and Yoga into your daily life, you make it easier to continue to lead a happy, peaceful and productive life. In this way, you can accomplish what you are uniquely meant to do. That is why you are on this planet, after all.
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