Ayurveda and Yoga: Twin Paths to One Goal
International Yoga Day 2019: How are the two systems of Yoga and Ayurveda connected?
At a time when Yoga is gaining massive global acceptance and recognition it becomes pertinent that we rediscover its roots. Yoga and Ayurveda have always been closely interlinked with each other.
One can only exist with the help of the other.
What Do You Mean By Yoga?
‘Yoga’ is a Sanskrit word that means ‘to join’, ‘to link’ or ‘to combine.’ Although, the word can have various connotations, it fundamentally means to unite the soul with God or the ‘Supersoul.’
Yoga is not limited to physical postures and fitness neither is it a form of gymnastics. Rather, it is a way of life. When Yoga is practiced in its purest form, its aim remains to link the mortal soul to the Supersoul.
It is a step-by-step procedure which begins with balancing the body through various physical postures and then subsequently leads to controlling the mind and the senses through pranayama, and finally ends with the realization that the soul is the real conscious energy.
In the modern times, Yoga has evolved as a branch of medical science. Not only does it help keep the body in shape, it can even treat psychosomatic disorder, relax the mind and even effect the body on a physiological level. But, its recognition as a form of physical medicine does not overshadow its primal role as a way to attain spirituality.
What Do You Mean By Ayurveda?
The word ‘Ayurveda’ is formed from an amalgam of two Sanskrit words—‘Ayu’ meaning a combination of body, senses, mind and soul, and ‘Veda,’ meaning knowledge.
Contrary to popular belief, Ayurveda is not limited to herbal remedies for physical disorders. Very much like Yoga, the ultimate goal of Ayurveda, is also to attain a connection with God, though its procedures is different.
Through adherence to a proper diet and lifestyle, Ayurveda aims to keep the body toxin-free, which in turn induces clarity of the mind and awakens the intelligence, leading to the realization that the soul is the real conscious energy and needs to be cared for too.
Two Sides of the Same Coin
Both Yoga and Ayurveda when practiced in its truest form can lead to a state of complete balance at the physical, mental and spiritual level. Not only are Yoga and Ayurveda similar with regard to their end goals ( both proclaim moksha (liberation from material bondage) to be their ultimate goal) but they are also supplementary to each other.
A person practicing Yoga needs to follow a specific Ayurvedic diet and regimen. Similarly, a person following an Ayurvedic diet and regimen also needs to practice Yoga on a regular basis to obtain its optimum benefits.
In Ayurveda, the process of treatment or healing is not restricted to the physical body, but encompasses the mind, senses and soul as well.
Because Yoga mainly deals with strengthening and controlling the mind and senses, it can be seen as a sister discipline of Ayurveda.
On the other hand, in instances where people suffered from mental disorders or other lifestyles related ailments, Yoga has come to the rescue.
Techniques of Yoga are natural and do not involve the use of any synthetic or chemical drugs and it is here that its closeness to the principles of Ayurveda can be further reinforced.
The achara rasayana (code of conduct) described in Ayurveda is same as the yama and niyama of Yoga. Ayurveda takes care of the dosha-dhatu-mala (body humors-tissues-metabolic wastes), while Yoga suggests how to keep the mind balanced in different circumstances.
Sattvavajaya, which means ‘healing the mind by increasing the purity of mind’ is one of the three main types treatments mentioned in Ayurveda. Sattvavajaya also recommends the use of Yoga techniques and meditation to maintain a healthy state of mind.
Towards a Common Goal
The fundamental processes in both Ayurveda and Yoga involve purifying and controlling the mind and body and linking the soul or consciousness with God.
According to both systems, it is this connection with God that is the ultimate purpose of human life on earth and it is this that leads to a state of eternal bliss, even while one is a resident of this material world.
The conclusion is that Ayurveda and Yoga need to be practiced side by side in order to attain a state of complete health and happiness.
During my travels around the world in the last twenty years, I have encountered people practicing Yoga without a clue about Ayurveda, and vice versa. It is time now that we integrate the two systems to attain maximum benefits.
I believe both Yoga and Ayurveda, are incomplete without each other
Ayurveda and Yoga are like twin sisters that are separate in form, but have a deep and fundamental unified bond.
(Dr Partap Chauhan, Director of Jiva Ayurveda, is an author, public speaker, TV personality and Ayurved Acharya. )
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