In India, Yoga and Ayurveda are considered as two inseparable sciences. It seems that these two fundamental holistic disciplines tend to be practiced together.
What is the purpose of Yoga?
Yoga, by its original definition, means “Union”. Thus Yoga allows us to reconnect with our inner self and helps us to put an end to the fluctuations of the mind through the practice of asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing) in consciousness and meditation. But Yoga is too often reduced to postures and we tend to forget that it is also a philosophy and a way of life. We find the essential foundations of Yoga in various founding texts, the most famous of which is “Patanjali’s “Yogas Sutras”, which teaches us, among other things, the Yamas (rules of life in society) and the Niyamas (personal rules to apply), and explains the more subtle perception of all our senses, the origin of our emotions and the world around us.
What is Ayurveda used for?
Ayurveda means “Life Science”. It is the oldest holistic therapeutic system in the world. Ayurveda, recognized by the World Health Organization, aims to cleanse the body, rebalance it and maintain it in good health. The 3 pillars of Ayurveda are nutrition, sleep, and the proper use of the 5 sense organs. This medicine acts on the physical, mental and spiritual levels by offering solutions specific to the unique constitution of each individual.
Yoga and Ayurveda: two complementary sciences
These two Vedic sciences have developed together and most often by practicing the first we discover the second. It appears that these two disciplines meet in their global understanding of the human body and by their psycho-spiritual approach, each aiming in its own way at self-realization of oneself. One through practice, the other through care and prevention methods, and both through healthy living. Complementing Yoga practice with Ayurveda or vice versa could thus help us to reach a state of physical and mental fullness.
Indeed, the tools we have to achieve spiritual awakening are: our environment, our body, our mind and our soul. It is therefore essential that we take care of it. And for this, Ayurveda helps us to change our misperception of the world: the typical example would be that in the West a very thin body would be a healthy body. However, according to traditional Indian medicine, this body could present a precise imbalance according to the constitution. Similarly, late awakenings, supposedly repairing and appreciated on weekends, would not necessarily be beneficial for the body. Ayurveda therefore allows us to change our vision and our way of life to allow our body to be truly healthy and to flourish and evolve through the practice of Yoga.
Also, if it seems that all yoga postures are beneficial for the body and mind, it is important to note that not all postures should be practiced by everyone. Indeed, in this respect, Ayurveda teaches us that certain yoga postures are beneficial for this type of physical constitution while others will be on the contrary harmful for this same constitution.
In any case, it is clear that these two sciences each have the same ultimate goal, self-realization, each with their own means. That is why they together constitute an integral discipline.
Integrating Ayurveda or Yoga into your lifestyle is already one of the best ways to achieve personal fulfilment. To succeed in practicing both would then be an additional boost to overcome the worries of everyday life and take another step towards awakening.
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