Yoga has become an essential part of global lifestyle where as Ayurveda has already proved its presence in global platforms. Even though many of us are aware that both of the practices come from India, only a few understands their relation.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is the traditional medicine of India. All types of healing that prevailed in ancient India (that includes present day Pakistan and Bangladesh) by the beginning of Christian era developed into a well established system of health care known as Ayurveda. The aim of Ayurveda is to ensure (and get back to) health and prevent diseases.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is a group of physical, mental and spiritual practices that prevailed in ancient India. Yoga includes stretches, postures, breathing exercises and meditation. Yoga aims at tuning of mind and body together so that you can attain incarnation.
What do Yoga and Ayurveda have in common?
As the origin of Ayurveda and Yoga is from India, the philosophy, understanding of the body and understanding of the universe is same. Both Yoga and Ayurveda understands that the world is made up of the great five elements of material existence (Panchamahabhootas) that derived from universal consciousness. The humans are a combination of body, mind and soul. The individual soul is in relation with or a part of universal consciousness. So the aim of yoga is the union of body and mind, and there by union of individual soul with universal consciousness resulting into incarnation where as the aim of Ayurveda is to maintain the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health of human beings so that she/he can attain incarnation.
One of the important aspects of Ayurvedic understanding of body is the understanding of doshas (functional factors). They are vata; pitta and kapha (Read more about doshas). The balance of these factors is essential is to be healthy. Similarly the characteristics of mind are grouped into 3, satwa (calming attributes), rajah (stimulating attributes) and tama (depressing attributes). Ayurveda and yoga explain extensively to balance doshas and gunas by lifestyle, diet and other practices and therapies. Ayurveda gives more emphasis on balancing doshas (balance of gunas can only be attained by balance of doshas) where as yoga gives more emphasis on balancing gunas (by use of lifestyle and simple cleansing practices). So in short, as Ayurveda is a health care system, Ayurveda focuses more on maintaining health and reversing pathology where as yoga is a lifestyle that focuses on improving physical and mental health.
How can you integrate Ayurveda and yoga?
As the understanding of the body and mind is same in both systems, it’s quite easy to integrate both into our daily practice. That is why an Ayurvedic Doctor from India has to learn yoga as well during their Bachelor’s degree. Some important aspects of incorporating yoga and Ayurveda are
1. Choose the type of yoga and duration according to your body type.(read more about body types).
2. Choose the asanas, breathing exercise and meditation according to your imbalances and/or vulnerability.
3. Abhyanga (Ayurvedic hot oil massage) and/ or self massage and other Ayurvedic lifestyle advises can help to improve the flexibility of your muscles and tendons and prevent injuries.
4. Ayurvedic herbs and massage therapies are very effective for the treatment of muscle, tendon, ligament and joint injuries that may happen easily during the initial and/ or intense practice of yoga.
5. Rarely some of you may find that you are enjoying the yoga sessions, at the same time there are some complications as well. Ayurveda can help to find a balance in your yoga practice.
6. Absence of proper self care can easily result into injuries, anxiety, vata and/ or pitta imbalance etc by yoga practice. For example if you are quite dehydrated, you may hurt your muscle or tendons easily, or if you are not really organised or balancing your vata, you can easily be anxious. So a proper self care considering body type and imbalance can help to attain maximum benefits from yoga.
So in short practice of yoga is highly beneficial and recommended for all age group for holistic benefits. The practice itself wouldn’t cause any side effects or complications unless the yoga is wrongly practiced or there are some pre existing imbalances. Integrating Ayurvedic care while doing yoga can help to attain maximum benefits out of yoga and avoid any possible complications.