Article written by Anjali Goel
WHAT IS YOGA?
Yoga can’t be explained through one simple definition. It is a vast concept. It can be said that Yoga is the unification of one’s body, mind and spirit. It is a physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in Ancient times in India. There are multiple benefits of yoga out there, but the prime benefit is ‘liberation from pain’. There are various types of Asanas or Postures in Yoga. Their main purpose is to bring together your body, mind, soul and breath for the betterment of everything in your body, inside out.
WHAT IS AYURVEDA?
Just like Yoga, Ayurveda is also an extensive concept. Ayurveda can be referred to as a healing system that originated thousands of years ago in Ancient India. It is based on the theory that in order to achieve good health, one’s body, mind and soul should be connected. Ayurveda includes organic diet, exercise, benefits of various herbs, aromatherapy and massage. According to Ayurveda, everything is based on the five elements — air, water, fire, earth and space. The same concept applies to the human body, too. These five elements combine to form three energy sources in the body, named as — Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Any imbalance in one of these energy sources can disrupt the flow of vital energy or Prana inside the body. Ayurveda plays a crucial role in rectifying them.
YOGA + AYURVEDA
Ayurveda is science and Yoga is the practice of that science, just like the theory and practical portion in studies. Both of them owe their origin to the Vedas.
Yoga originates in the Rig Veda, while Ayurveda originates in the Atharva Veda and Rig Veda. Yoga and Ayurveda explains how body works as a whole and what is the effect of food and medicines on the body. When it comes to treatment, both Yoga and Ayurveda suggest meditation while chanting various mantras and consumption of Satvik Bhojan or Organic Food for the fulfillment of mental and physical peace.
Ayurveda is the science of wellness for one’s health that includes both physical and mental well being while yoga is the tool that people use to achieve enlightenment and eliminate negative thoughts from their mind. They both share the same goal of keeping the body healthy is essential for four main goals of life – Dharma (duty), Artha (wealth), Kama (desire), & Moksha (liberation).
AYURVEDIC BODY TYPES AND YOGA
There are three different energy levels or Doshas present inside the human body named – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each and every human being has different compositions of these Doshas with different needs and emotions. When your Doshas go out of balance, through the knowledge of yoga, you can create personalised wellness philosophy to rebalance your body through the foods you eat, when you eat them, the products you use and your lifestyle habits.
Similarly, a customised yoga practice can also be used to rectify your Doshas and help you on your journey to emotional and physical wellness.
- YOGA FOR VATA DOSHA – The vata dosha is responsible for the movement, flexibility and the nervous system in the body. When the Vata Dosha is out of balance, one may experience dryness, anxiety and insomnia. People, who suffer from vata derangement in the body, walk and move quickly, with little awareness, and often push themselves harder than their bodies can take. To cure this, several slow and grounding postures are recommended –
- Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
- Vrksasana (Tree Pose)
- Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
- Malasana (Garland Pose)
- Dandasana (Staff Pose)
- YOGA FOR PITTA DOSH – When your pitta dosha is out of balance you may find you experience inflammation, anger and jealousy. Pitta dosha is filled with fire and water and the energy is associated with not just digestion but also enzymatic and endocrine systems as recommended by ayurveda. It helps in digestion of nutrients that results in the energy source of the body. There are many good postures in yoga that help in providing stability to the pitta dosha. Some of them are –
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)
- Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knee Pose)
- Viparita Shalabhasana (Superman Pose)
- Garbhasana (Child’s Pose)
- Supta Matsyendrasana (Supine Spinal Twist)
- YOGA FOR KAPHA DOSHA – If you have a kapha dosha, your body type is supposed to be cooler, heavy and slow. Kapha dosha is a combination of the water and earth elements out of the five elements.
Its qualities are heavy, slow/dull, cold, oily, liquid, smooth and dense. People with excess kapha dosha typically are strong, have a larger build, and great stamina and endurance. Their skin is often cold, clammy, and oily, and they tend to have light skin and big eyes. To cure excess of Kapha, some of the yoga postures are –
- Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations)
- Anjaneyasana (Crescent Lunge)
- Vasisthasana (Side Plank)
- Matsyasana (Fish)
- Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold)
Ayurveda and Yoga can be the best way of living a peaceful life. They can be helpful to people in all areas of life irrespective of their body type. When the art of Yoga and Ayurveda is practiced daily, it results in a healthy body, mind and soul. Keeping the body, mind and the consciousness as balanced as a calm river is the key to a happy and peaceful existence and this can be achieved through Ayurveda and Yoga. These two traditions of Yoga and Ayurveda are closely associated, united primarily under the promotion of health in the physical body. It can be said that Yoga and Ayurveda are glued together in such a way, that one cannot exist without another. They are inseparable.