Yoga & Ayurveda – The Sister Sciences
In our ancient history, Yoga and Ayurveda have been known as sister sciences.
Yoga, the spiritual science, helps us to achieve moksha (self-realization) through practices that help us determine our purpose and how we can achieve liberation from the cycle of birth and death.
Ayurveda, the medicinal science, helps us to cleanse our body and mind through our dinacharya (daily routine), ratricharya (night routine), and ritucharya (seasonal routine). How we live every day determines our health, therefore Ayurveda focuses on diet, lifestyle, and environment in order to keep our elemental constitution in balance throughout the changes in life and nature.
But, how do they relate to each other?
There are some requirements needed in order to achieve self-realization. To practice Yoga in a safe manner, the body and mind must be healthy. If the mind is unable to focus, then the mind is considered to be not ready for Yoga. If the body is undergoing sickness, then it may be difficult for the person to practice asanas, pranayama, or even meditation for an extended period of time. If you have pains in the body or the mind is not calm, how can you cultivate a practice of focus?
Ayurveda can help with this. Many alleviating therapies applied in Ayurveda heal the body and prepare it to be in its best state for a Yoga practice. Some of these include wholesome food intake, use of remedial herbs, fresh air, and detoxifying practices.
You can even see parallels with how Ayurveda uses Yoga principles. Ayurveda requires us to do what is needed to keep ourselves in balance. If we know that something is aggravating, then we are supposed to listen to our bodies and avoid it. For example, we know that overeating can cause symptoms such as bloating and fatigue but if we continue to indulge, it violates principles such as tapas (self-discipline) and santosha (contentment) since overeating is a sign of taking more than what is needed. Another fundamental element of Yoga, sauca, requires us to maintain cleanliness both externally and internally, which means cleanliness of mind, speech, and body. Healthy intake, consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, and lentils, can be healing in itself to our body.
Using Ayurveda, we can keep our bodies (our vehicles that transport us through life) in a balanced state so that our body and mind will not be an obstacle when it comes to achieving our goal, whether that be in work, life, this moment, or our Yoga journey.
About the Author
Chahna Tailor is a Yoga Instructor and Ayurvedic Health Counselor with a background in occupational therapy. Chahna completed her yoga training in Rishikesh and recently completed an Ayurveda internship in Kannur, Kerala. Chahna’s company, Namaskar To You provides yoga, pranayama, meditation, and Ayurveda services. She volunteers for HAF, is the current secretary for the South Florida Chapter of Ekal Vidyalaya, and contributes wellness-related articles to Desh Videsh Magazine and Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Ayurvedic Medicine.