The science of Ayurveda has touched on practically all aspects of health and wellness. Ayurveda, which is a scientifically-oriented system of health and well-being, allows us to create an individualized system through which we can maximize the potential of our physical and mental well-being. Another ancient practice for health and longevity is yoga, and one can blend the knowledge of yoga with Ayurvedic medicine to develop an even more profound regimen for their wellness.
The Link Between Ayurveda and YogaAyurveda and yoga are often considered 'sisters,' because their similarities - not necessarily in the practices themselves, but in the way that both practices are intended to provide integrative, individualized systems of well-being. The two terms are defined as follows:
- Ayurveda literally means life (ayur) knowledge (veda), and can be translated into the knowledge or the science of life & longevity.
- Yoga can roughly be translated as 'union,' or in a wider sense mean the practice of achieving self-realization and union with the Divine.
As you can see, these two practices would go hand-in-hand. Yoga is the work by which one achieves the greatest purpose in life - achieving self-liberation. Ayurveda is the work that provides us with the longevity necessary to accomplish this momentous task.
Creating an Ayurvedic Yoga Routine
Contrary to Western nutrition and medicine, neither yoga, nor Ayurveda, are considered 'one-size-fits-all' practices. Rather, they are catered to the individual. Understanding yoga and Ayurveda allows you to develop your own health, lifestyle and nutrition routine for your own maximum benefit. One of the best things that you can learn by blending the knowledge of Ayurveda and yoga together is how to develop an Ayurvedic yoga routine for your own specific constitution. In Ayurveda, these constitutions are referred to as 'doshas.' There are three primary doshas: Vata, Kapha, and Pitta.
The Vata dosha
Vatas are generally wiry, thin, and energetic. They think a lot, they like to move, and they are highly creative. When they are imbalanced or unhealthy, they may become anxious, dry, and unable to sleep. Ayurvedic yoga postures to help ground and stabilize a Vata would be slow, grounding, and steady. Incorporate slow breathing, many twists, and inversions to slow the mind and body.
The Pitta dosha
People of the Pitta dosha are generally hot and firey. They are passionate and enthusiastic about life - but when they are unhealthy or imbalanced, they can become angry, inflamed, and competitive. Ayurvedic yoga postures to help ground and stabilize a Pitta would be those which can cool and relax the mind and body. Practice poses which encourage patience, such as extended holds, bends, and heart-opening postures.
The Kapha dosha
People of the Kapha dosha are generally quite stable, and consistent in their thoughts and actions. They are strong-willed when they are healthy, but imbalanced Kaphas can become dull, slow, and lethargic. Ayurvedic yoga postures to encourage the health of a Kapha would be stimulating poses, Sun Salutations, Vinyasa yoga, as well as quick, heavy breathing practices to invigorate and excite the mind and body.
Written by Nigel Ford