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The Connection Between Ayurveda And Yoga Explained!

Many believe that Ayurveda and yoga are two sister practices that originated in India thousands of years ago [1] . Although many follow yogic postures, breathwork, etc., they still do not know yoga's connection with Ayurveda. Going by what experts say, yoga means union [2] , whereas the term Ayurveda means the wisdom of life [3] . When explored together, yoga and Ayurveda compliment each other. The merger of these two practices can offer mankind a variety of transformative tools to foster good health and vitality.

Read on to know more about the connection between Ayurveda and yoga.

Origin Of Ayurveda And Yoga

Practising yoga is not just a physical aspect, it creates balance in mind, emotions and consciousness as well. Moreover, various researches have stated the fact that yoga shares the same origin and goal as that of Ayurveda [1] , which is the traditional Vedic system of healthcare.

A verse taken from the Yoga Sutra mentions "yogas chitta vritti nirodhaha". This means that yoga creates a settled state of the mind [4] . The same verse can be compared to a verse from Ayurvedic texts which mentions "svasmin dishati iti svasthah". This means that a person who remains united with his or her inner self will always remain a healthy person [5] .

Turning Yoga Into A Medical System

Yoga is ideally identified as an inner spiritual practice (Sadhana). Therefore, although many refer to the practice of yoga in terms of medical benefits, providing health benefits does not serve to be yoga's primary intent. To turn yoga into a medical system, in terms of the Vedic scheme, it would require turning yoga in the direction of Ayurveda [6] . If yoga is being used for healing purpose, it would need to be applied according to the Ayurvedic guidelines of diagnosis and treatment of an ailment.

Unity In Terms Of Ayurveda And Yoga

Yoga means joining together, in other words, 'union'. It refers to the union of body, soul and mind. The experience of unity is also what Ayurveda aims at. The term 'Ayurveda' has been derived from the Sanskrit word 'ayu'. A verse from Charaka Samhita defines 'ayu' as the state where the physical body, mind, senses and soul are integrated [7] . So, considering the meaning of yoga and Ayurveda, the goals for both can be ultimately identified to be 'the state of unity'.

Yoga As A Part Of Ayurveda

Yoga is considered an essential element for calming the mind and dissolving physical stress, especially before meditation [8] . This aspect is also considered to be a central element for the Ayurvedic routine 'Dinacharya' [9] . Yoga postures work towards balancing the three doshas. The different yoga asanas have different effects. Yoga postures tone every part of the body and cleanse the internal organs of toxins, which, in turn, is one of the primary goals of Ayurveda.

Ayurveda As A Part Of Yoga

An Ayurvedic daily routine can be quite beneficial for yoga practitioners. For instance, Abhyanga [10] helps in the removal of toxins from the body and relaxes the muscles for practising yoga. Having knowledge of Ayurveda can provide tremendous support when practising yoga. Hatha yoga [11] would become just a random physical exercise without the basic knowledge of Ayurveda. Also, yoga aims at cleansing the nadis (channels). However, performing yogic postures without using Ayurvedic principles for removing Ama (digestive impurities) will only have partial impact [12] . This is the reason why traditional schools of yoga always believe in imparting knowledge about Ayurvedic principles as yoga and Ayurveda are interdependent.

Why Yoga And Ayurveda Are Inseparable

Both Ayurveda and yoga are based upon the principles of Trigunas (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas) [13] and the Panchamahabuthas (earth, fire, air, water and space) [14] . These involve aspects related to how the body works and the effect that medicines and food have on the body. Both these sciences have eight branches. They are referred to as Ashtanga Ayurveda [15] and Ashtanga Yoga [16] . They both have a common understanding of health in terms of the body and the balance of the mind. Both of these advocate the practice of Pranayama and meditation along with the use of herbs and body purification methodologies. The process of body purification is explained as Satkriyas in the field of yoga, whereas it is referred to as Panchakarma in Ayurveda.

On A Final Note...

In the context of Vedic science, when yoga and Ayurveda are applied together, there is an assurance of a complete system of the wellbeing of the mind, body and consciousness. The combination of yoga and Ayurveda has the capability of becoming the prime force of planetary healing. The merger of these two adds a spiritual and preventive dimension to modern medicine.

View Article References
  1. [1] Rajagopalan K. (1982). Yoga and ayurveda.Ancient science of life,2(1), I.
  2. [2] Taneja D. K. (2014). Yoga and health.Indian journal of community medicine : official publication of Indian Association of Preventive & Social Medicine,39(2), 68–72.
  3. [3] Chauhan, A., Semwal, D. K., Mishra, S. P., & Semwal, R. B. (2015). Ayurvedic research and methodology: Present status and future strategies.Ayu,36(4), 364–369.
  4. [4] Vorkapic C. F. (2016). Yoga and mental health: A dialogue between ancient wisdom and modern psychology.International journal of yoga,9(1), 67–71. doi:10.4103/0973-6131.171720
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  6. [6] Sharma, R., Amin, H., & Prajapati, P. K. (2014). Yoga: As an adjunct therapy to trim down the Ayurvedic drug requirement in non insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.Ancient science of life,33(4), 229–235.
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  15. [15] Dalal, P. K., Tripathi, A., & Gupta, S. K. (2013). Vajikarana: Treatment of sexual dysfunctions based on Indian concepts.Indian journal of psychiatry,55(Suppl 2), S273–S276.
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Story first published: Thursday, June 20, 2019, 12:30 [IST]
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