Ayurveda and yoga,_ancient_sister_sciencesDocument Transcript
Source: www.fatfast.net/Articles/Article/1/393www.fatfast.netAyurveda and Yoga, Ancient Sister SciencesAyurveda and yoga are sister sciences that have been united for thousands of years for thesake of healing body, mind, and consciousness. Generally speaking, Ayurveda deals morewith the health of the body, while yoga deals with purifying the mind and consciousness, butin reality they complement and embrace each other.The ancient rishis (seers) were the original masters of all Vedic sciences. They understoodthat good health is a great asset on the path toward Self-realization. If the body is neglectedit can easily become an obstacle to spiritual practice. Anyone who has practiced meditationfor any length of time would agree to how difficult it can be to sit still for long periods of timewithout feeling discomfort and fatigue. Both yoga and Ayurveda are mutually supportive andoffer many ways to prevent and heal various disorders as well as to cleanse and rejuvenatethe body.Besides sharing a philosophical foundation, both systems have many similarities in relation toattitude, nutrition, diet, hygiene, exercise, cleansing practices, as well as spiritual practices.Traditionally, a student of yoga would first live close to and serve the guru for many years,during which time he would learn healthy habits. The basic Ayurvedic principles for healthand longevity were past on in the lineage in oral form to serve as a foundation for a life ofsadhana (spiritual practice).Nowadays, the teachings of yoga are easily available to all, and whether prepared or not wecan leap headlong into its practice. This has its blessings, in the sense that more people canbe turned on to the teachings, although much is often lost without the parampara, or closeguidance at the feet of an accomplished master. With this in mind, modern yoga practitionerswould most certainly benefit from a basic knowledge of Ayurveda to help establish a healthydaily routine and adjust their practice according to the constitution, dosha imbalance, season,and so on, to prevent disease and promote longevity.First, lets take a look at the similarities between yoga and Ayurveda:* Both are ancient Vedic teachings. Yoga originates in the Yajur Veda, while Ayurvedaoriginates in the Atharva Veda and Rig Veda.* Both recognize that keeping the body healthy is vital for fulfilling the four aims of life:Dharma (duty), Artha (wealth), Kama (desire), and Moksha (liberation).* Both recognize that the balance of doshas (humors), dhatus (tissues), and malas (wasteproducts) is essential for maintaining good health.* Both share virtually the same metaphysical anatomy and physiology, which consists of72,000 nadis (subtle channels), 7 main chakras (energy centers), 5 bodily sheaths, and theKundalini Shakti (energy).* Both advocate the use of diet, herbs, asana, pranayama, meditation, mantra, astrology,prayer, puja, and rituals for healing the entire being.* Both encourage physical health as a good foundation for mental, emotional, and spiritualwell-being.* Both share the same view on psychology. Ayurveda embraces all six of the main schools of
philosophy including the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and Vedanta (a non-dual philosophical andspiritual path). They both understand that the attachment to the body-mind complex is theroot cause of all suffering and that the ultimate state of health is experienced when we abidein our true nature, which is total peace, regardless of the state of the physical body.* Both use cleansing methods for the body, all of which encourage the removal of wasteproducts and toxins through their natural routes of elimination. Ayurveda has panchakarma(five cleansing actions) and yoga uses Shat Karma (six purification measures).Ayurvedic approach to asana practiceThe use of asana, pranayama, and meditation for healing is known as Yoga Chikitsa, orYoga Therapy and has been used for thousands of years by Ayurvedic and yogic adepts. InYoga Chikitsa, a group of yogic exercises are chosen that will best support the individual andare practiced daily. This can be done over an extended period of time in conjunction with anAyurvedic regime and herbal and dietary therapies. Yoga Chikitsa also plays an integral rolein the Ayurvedic cleansing and rejuvenation process known as panchakarma.For a well balanced personal yoga practice, it is important to take into consideration theindividuals body structure, prakruti (original constitution), and vikruti (present constitutionalimbalance). The following are general recommendations according to the predominantdosha.Vata predominant individuals should remember to focus on calming, grounding, stillness,strengthening, and balancing while doing their practice.Precautions for vata:* Vinyasa or flow styles of yoga tend to move too quickly from one pose to the next and canaggravate the hyper-mobile quality of vata over time. Flow sequences can be made to bemore vata pacifying if they are not excessively long, the length of time poses are held isextended, and transitions are done slowly and consciously.* Those with lower back problems may find that bending the knees in standing forward bendscan prevent discomfort.* Back bends should be done slowly, carefully and within ones own limits.Pitta individuals should maintain a calm, cool, and relaxed intention while doing asanas. Pittatypes may benefit from trying to cultivate an attitude of forgiveness, and of surrendering oroffering the fruits of their practice to the divine of to those in need of positive healing energy.Because asana practice tends to generate heat in the body, it is best to do them at coolingtimes of the day, such as dawn or dusk. Also, it is useful to place some emphasis on posesthat help to release excess heat from the body, such as poses that compress the solarplexus and poses that open the chest like.Kapha types tend to be sedentary and often dislike vigorous exercise. For this reason, theirpractice should be energetic, warming, lightening, and stimulating, providing they arephysically capable. Vinyasa or flow style yoga is good for kapha because it is dynamic andmoves quickly from one pose to the next, it induces sweating and gets the heart pumping.Yoga poses that address specific doshic problems can be easily added to an Ayurvedicregime and integrated into an existing yoga routine, or they can be organized as a smallsession with the help of an Ayurvedic clinician who knows each individual case well and canhelp set up a well balanced program according to the needs of each client.
Ayurveda also offers Yoga Chikitsa, or Yoga Therapy, for specific doshic disorders. It isadvised to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner for an individualized regime.Ayurvedic Approach to Pranayama (breathing techniques).The ultimate goal of pranayama is to calm the mind and prepare it for meditation. It also hasa therapeutic effect on the physical body as well. It is not essential to do a pranayamapractice according to dosha, but knowing its effects on the body is a valuable tool formanagement of the doshas. Below is a general list of pranayama and bandha exercisesaccording to dosha.Vata: Nadi Shodhana, Kapala Bhati, Agnisara Dhauti, Ujjayi, Tri Bandha, Maha Mudra.Pitta: Sheetali or Sitkari, Nadi shodhana.Kapha: Bastrika, Agnisara Dhauti, Kapala Bhati, Ashvini Mudra (contracting and releasingMula Bandha), Ashvini Mudra, Ujjayi, Tri Bandha, Maha Mudra.Furthermore, the Four Purifications taught in our workshops is an ancient method from theAshtanga Yoga for purifying the gross and subtle body in order to prepare it for moreadvanced practices. They are tridoshic and safe for everyone, providing they are performedcorrectly.Meditation According to Dosha.These spiritual paths and their meditation techniques can be practiced by anyone, regardlessof their prakruti. This list is only intended to give an idea on how dosha can support orinfluence ones spiritual practice. Many traditions of yoga blend various aspects of the pathslisted here.* Vata: Kriya Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga and other structured techniques help to keep vatastabilized and focused.* Pitta: Jnana Yoga and Vedanta are good for pitta types because they often have sharpintellects and have a keen interest in self-study (Atma-vichara).* Kapha: Bhakti yoga is natural for kapha types because they are often loving and devotionalby nature.Ayurvedic and Yogic Diet.Ayurveda is more concerned with food being constitutionally balanced, while Yoga promotesa diet that is sattwic (light and pure). A combination of both aspects is the best choice for ayogi or anyone wanting to make real progress on a spiritual path.Ayurvedic diet:* According to dosha.* Primarily vegetarian (meat is used as medicine, mainly for extreme deficiencies).* Primarily cooked (raw food in moderation, especially for vata types).* Containing six tastes.Yogic diet:* Sattwic vegetarian diet.* Easy to digest.* Simple meals (to limit desire).* Both cooked and raw.* Foods recommended in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika consist of rejuvenating substances suchas wheat, whole grain, white basmati, corn, raw milk, raw sugar, butter, ghee, honey, dried
ginger, mung beans, pure water, vegetables.* Fruits, roots and nuts.* Avoiding excessive hot, sour, salty, fermented, and fried foods.* Avoiding tamasic (dulling) foods like meat, onions, garlic and mushrooms as a regular partof the daily diet.Cleansing in Yoga and Ayurveda.Ayurveda and Yoga both emphasize cleansing of the body for health and support of spiritualpractices. Their methods are similar and work by expelling excess dosha and ama, or toxins,using the bodys natural routes of elimination.The yogic method is known in the Ashtanga tradition as Shat Karma, or six cleansingmeasures. These are:1. Neti (nasal cleansing):Jala neti (salt water flushing of the sinuses).Sutra neti (nasal cleaning with string).2. Dhauti (washing the GI tract).Teeth, tongue, eyes, ears and forehead.Agnisara Dhauti.Vamana Dhauti (vomiting salt water).Vastra Dhauti (washing with a cloth).Varisara Dhauti (washing with water for purgation).3. Basti (enema).4. Trataka (forehead wash, gazing into a candle flame).5. Nauli (intestinal washing, abdominal rolling).6. Kapala Bhati (skull shining).The Ayurvedic method for cleansing and rejuvenation is known as panchakarma (panchakarma), or five cleansing actions. This program is usually done for a week or two, but canalso be done for longer periods depending on the case. The five actions of this method are:1. Basti (Enema).2. Nasya (Nasal application of herbs and herbal oils).3. Vamana (Therapeutic vomiting).4. Virechana (Purgation).5. Rakta Moksha (Blood letting).It is obvious that Ayurveda and yoga not only complement each other. Both sciences actuallyembrace each other as they share similarities and fundamental principles on many levels.Ayurveda and yoga should go hand in hand if we want to achieve optimal health, peace, andlongevity.Vishnu Dass, NTS, LMT, CAyu, is an Ayurvedic practitioner and educator and the Director ofthe Blue Lotus Ayurveda Center - Ayurvedic Clinic and School, in Asheville, NC, where heoffers health consultations, panchakarma, rejuvenating therapies, diet and lifestylecounseling, yoga and yoga therapy, therapeutic massage, educational programs andworkshops, and more. For more information, visit: http://www.bluelotusayurveda.com