Ayurveda and Yoga

Ayurveda is the most ancient science of all the medical sciences. Like Yoga, it is also based on Samkhya philosophy of creation and manifestation.

The union of body, sense organs, mind and soul is called ‘Ayu‘; ‘Veda‘ means knowledge. Thus, ayurveda is the ‘science of health’, ‘science of longevity’, ‘science of life’. Ayurveda therefore is not simply a health care system but a form of lifestyle adopted to maintain perfect balance and harmony within the human existence i.e. from the most abstract transcendental values to the most concrete physiological expressions based on premise that life represents an intelligent coordination of the soul, mind, senses and physical body.

Indian Sages have seen man in depth, a depth dimension of the human personality. They discovered in an individual, there is a physical dimension, an intellectual dimension and there is a deeper spiritual dimension. They discovered this profound dimension penetrating the external body system, internal nervous system, and internal psychic system in every human being, and called it the ‘atman’ – the pure Self. Today, the world is researching on this ‘science of spiritual strength’; it is this yearning that is attracting people world over towards India’s great philosophies and Yoga

In Ayurveda philosophy, the five elements combine in pairs to form three dynamic forces or interactions called Doshas. Doshas means ‘that which changes’. Doshas can be regarded as a fault, mistake, error or a transgression against the cosmic rhythm. The doshas are constantly moving in dynamic balance, one with the others. Doshas are required for the life to happen. In Ayurveda, dosha is also known as the governing principles as every living thing in nature is characterized by the doshas.

Ayurveda defines a human as an assemblage of the five great elements plus the immaterial self i.e. atman. According to Ayurveda, our basic constitution (combination of Vata, Pitta and Kapha) is determined at the time of conception. This constitution is called Prakriti. Prakriti is taken as the base-point of an individual and is fixed throughout the lifetime of an individual. Different people have different combination of Vata, Pitta and Kapha as their basic constitution. Prakriti in an individual is unique just as fingerprint or DNA. This is how Ayurveda explain the subtle differences between individuals and explain why and how everyone is unique i.e. reacting differently when exposed to the same environment or stimuli. Thus, in order to understand an individual, it is necessary to determine his prakriti.

From the concept of identity of man with the universe – not just in its material sense but also on philosophical and metaphysical planes, flows the ‘theory of Panchmahabhutas’.
It explains the material existence, constitution and character of all that exist.
The theory revolves around the five great elements (Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether) that go into the making of the constitution of each individual, called Prakriti. Which in turn is determined by the vital balance of the three physical energies – Vata, Pitta, Kapha &
the three mental energies – Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.

Ideally, this constitution remains fixed throughout the life. Unfortunately, it is not the case. Every individual is subject to constant interaction with environment which impacts his basic constitution. This current condition is called vikriti. The body tries to maintain a dynamic equilibrium or balance with the environment adjusting to inborn base constitution as closely as possible. But, if the current proportion of this gap i.e. ‘doshas’ differs significantly from original constitutional proportion, it indicates imbalances. This imbalance results in illnesses. Farther the vikriti from prakriti, more ill the person is. Ayurveda teaches that our vikriti can be changed by following the principles and methods of ayurvedic treatments like panchkarma and combining it with the “Means of YOGA” – meditation, diet etc to approach our prakriti – state of perfect health!

Yogic Diet – The Concept

Dieting is catching up around the world. ‘To Diet’ – is more popular for better looks than for sound health. High calorie junk foods are shunned. A struggle between the palate and the desire to slim down continues.

The Yogic concept of food however, takes into consideration the total dimension of human existence. Yoga believes, apart from the atoms and molecules of which our gross physical body is made, we possess prana, mind, intellect, emotions and the spiritual dimensions. Yoga is the process by which we bring an integration of the entire personality at all these levels. If the stamina of the body is to be developed, the prana should be brought to a harmonious balance, the mind should be calmed down, the emotion should be stabilized and the intellect should be under total control.

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Samkhya Philosophy – Theory of Yoga

Samkhya means ‘right knowledge’; it also means ‘numbers’. Samkhya is one of the oldest systems of Indian philosophy. It occupies a unique place among the six systems of Indian philosophy. Almost all branches of Indian literature reflect the influence of Samkhya Philosophy. This system is sometimes, described as the ‘atheistic Yoga’ as distinguished from Yoga Philosophy, which is also referred as ‘Theistic Samkhya. This system is accepted as the main opponent of Vedanta Philosophy which is a non-dualistic philosophy; whereas, Samkhya maintains a clear-cut dualism between Purusha (Pure Consciousness, soul) and Prakriti (nature, manifested being, mind-body complex); further maintains the plurality of Purusha, and is silent on God. It is often also referred as pluralistic spiritualism, an atheistic realism and uncompromising dualism.

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International Day of Yoga 2019

International Day of Yoga (IDY), is celebrated annually on 21 June since its inception in 2015. The idea of International Day of Yoga was formally proposed by the current Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), on 27 September 2014. He stated;

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Yoga as Therapy

Yoga is science of life carrying in it the mystery of conservation of health and complete transformation of life. Its techniques offer remedies of health and hygiene chiefly because these are half therapy. Yogic therapy contributes to the integration of personality through healthy body and mind with minimum of time, effort and expense. This is attained by promotive, preventive and curative methods. Whereas Promotive methods bring in homeostatic functioning in the body, Preventive methods protect individuals from exposure to bad influences and Curative methods bring cure in the disturbed psychophysiological function.

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Hatha Yoga – Meaning and Purpose

Hatha Yoga is one of the first types of Yoga with which people have become acquainted world over. Most of the physical formats of Yoga as are popular today are all types of Hatha Yoga. The word ‘hatha’ consists of two seed words – ‘ha’ (sun) means ‘prana’ or energy flowing within the body and ‘tha’ (moon) means the mind or mental energy. Hatha means to bring balance in the energies of the sun and moon, or unify the vital energy of the body with the mental energy.

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Yoga and Children

Education is not just the amassing of information and its purpose is not mere career hunting. It is a means of developing a fully integrated personality and enabling one to grow effectively into the likeness of the ideal that one has set before oneself. Student life is precious period of inner culture, a period concerned with the very important task of laying the foundation of one’s character and personality. Upon this alone depends the making of one’s life.

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Meditation is Yoga – a tranquilizer

Thoughts come from the minute we wake up until the minute we fall asleep, and even after that they are in our dreams. We undeniably need voluntary thinking, but how to silence involuntary thoughts – thoughts that brings down efficiency, is the cause of stress, anxiety and depression!

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Glimpse into ‘Yoga Philosophy’

Yoga provides fulfillment, removes illusions, death and birth, unhealthy condition of body and provides happiness; bringing high spirit, keen intellect and perfection in the practitioner. This path to excellence is illuminated in Yoga Philosophy based on ‘The Yogasutra of Patanjali’.

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‘Satya’ (being truthful) – a gateway to lasting happiness!

Truth in a civilized society undergoes multiple tests – Is it the Truth? Is it beneficial or harmful? Is it pleasant or unpleasant? Only when it passes all such stages does it qualify of being an acceptable ‘Truth’. Speaking this ‘Truth’ make us a social, law abiding, acceptable individual in the society. However, such ‘Truth’ rather ‘Untruthfulness’ over a period of time puts our system out of harmony by creating mental and emotional stresses leading to a complicated unfulfilling life. Continue reading “‘Satya’ (being truthful) – a gateway to lasting happiness!”