Ayurveda and yoga are connected by their Vedic roots and can be even classified as sister sciences. Both help people find holistic wellbeing through natural means by working towards achieving balance between their spiritual, physical and mental elements. Through diet and lifestyle changes ayurveda works on restoring physical and mental health with yoga working towards creating unity between the soul, body and mind. Most people have a basic understanding of the benefits of yoga but through understanding the principles of ayurveda it is possible to truly elevate our practice of yoga to enjoy immense emotional physical rewards.
Understanding ayurvedic concepts
Ayurveda is a form of alternate medicine based on ancient teachings with a history spanning 5000 years. It provides wisdoms on how to live a life in tune with the environment, your surroundings and most importantly with yourself. Ayurvedic principles are based on the belief that the universe is made up of five main elements – air, space, earth fire and water and that our life force or dosha – vata pitta and kapha – comprise different combinations of these elements.
The emphasis in ayurveda is to maintain balance between our dosha achieved by maintaining harmony between the mind, body and soul. We each have a unique combination of dosha with one usually being more dominant than the others. According to ayurveda it is when there is a shift in the dosha balance that we start to feel unwell and mentally stressed.
Small changes in lifestyle habits, hydration, a diet that is fresh and seasonal consisting of food that is beneficial to your dominant dosha and of course mindful movement such as yoga are some of the key ways ayurveda focusses on achieving holistic wellness.
Ayurveda and yoga – What is the connection?
Mindful movement is key to being healthy, which is why yoga is central to the ayurvedic daily lifestyle routine as it provides a form of exercise that helps joints become flexible, rejuvenate the body, improve digestion, help the mind focus and remove stress. With its connection to ayurveda, yoga has flows that are beneficial in different ways and certain poses that are especially beneficial for the different types of dosha. Yoga offers all age groups physical and mental health benefits increasing mental and physical energy. Practicing yoga has been linked to fewer negative feeling and a boost in energy and alertness. Yoga is also said to have benefits towards stress management, mindfulness, mental health, nurturing the digestive fire and aiding with quality sleep.
Elevating your yoga practice through ayurveda
Yoga teachers use their knowledge of ayurveda to formulate precise yoga practices to treat specific ailments or dosha imbalances. This way they are able to help you get the maximum benefits from your yoga session. That is the benefit of going for yoga classes as you will be guided on the correct yoga flow to suit your dosha type and physical and mental requirements.
For instance if you are of a vata type constitution you should follow a practice that is grounding, and that stimulates your colon and lower back area. Hip openers are perfect such as the frog pose, or the pigeon pose or child’s pose. Prone positions such as cobra, sphinx and swan are good are suitable as well.
For pitta, twists and backbends help to remove excess bile and side bends reduce heat in the digestive tract. Other beneficial positions include camel, bow and upward bow along with seated of standing twists.
Kapha will benefit from yoga poses that focus on the stomach and chest areas, openers that reduce congestion and stagnation. Twists are very good because they help remove ama or toxin build up to boost the metabolism. Camel and half bridge are suitable poses.
Understanding ayurvedic doshas
You can consult an ayurvedic practitioner to find out your dosha type and to gain advice and guidance on how to maintain your ideal dosha balance through lifestyle habits. You can even follow ayurveda courses or research online for advice provided by renowned ayurvedic practitioners to completely understand the ayurvedic doshas and the vital role they play in maintain health and wellbeing. This knowledge will help you structure your lifestyle to best benefit your towards preventing illness rather than needing to constantly seek medication.
As said before, yoga and ayurveda go hand in hand and each benefits from the other. To truly gain the maximum from your yoga flows following or adopting certain yoga rituals will help immensely. It is ideal if you could start following an ayurvedic diet that will be based on your body constitution to maintain balance. Eating fresh seasonal food including nuts, greens, fruits and legumes and avoiding those that do not suit you will steadily help improve your digestive system which in turn improves your immune system. Ayurvedic massages and self-massage are excellent at removing ama or toxins, stimulate muscles and tissues and to get rid of dry skin by rejuvenating the cells with the help of herbal oils. Consuming ayurvedic natural herbal beverages have proven advantages as they are generally packed with antioxidants and ingredients that boost the immune system and digestive track.
When coupled with a yoga flow the ayurvedic lifestyle acts like an ayurvedic detox as your body benefits from the expulsion of toxins and the rejuvenating quality of the rituals and the movement. Ayurvedic detoxes are a natural way to rid your body of waste build up which instantly promotes good health.
Ayurvedic principles and yoga
If you are looking for ayurveda in UK there are many trusted resources and reputed institutes such as the Ayurveda Institute UK, that can guide you on your journey towards understanding ayurvedic principles and the connection with yoga. Daily yoga incorporated into an ayurvedic lifestyle will be the best way to gain and maintain balance between your body, mind and soul. This balance will help you stay healthier and mentally calmer.
Learning about ayurveda and yoga whether for teacher training or simply for your own benefit, it is knowledge that will help you right throughout your life. You will always know what to do and you will always be mindful of the importance of balancing your dosha for a life that is filled with wellness and wellbeing.