Yoga and Ayurveda: The Science of Life
For Longevity, Rejuvenation and Healing
Part of the lifestyle approaches and educational training at ChayaVeda Integrative Healing Arts
Ayurveda is the oldest continuously practiced healthcare system in the world. It originated in India over 5,000 years ago, and is a global medical system based upon the “Five Great Elements” of nature, that includes understanding nature’s rhythms and laws.
Human beings are natural beings, governed by all the rules and laws that other natural beings are governed by, and if we choose to ignore these laws then imbalances will begin to appear. These imbalances are the precursor to disharmony and disease in the mind and body.
This system of medicine understands our deepest connections with the whole universe and the influences of the energies that made up this universe and continue its evolution. We are considered a “microcosm” of the “macrocosm”.
We view the world through the archetypical elements of ether (space), air, fire, water and earth. Ether and earth are static in nature while air, fire and water are dynamic and ever changing. These elements have inherent energies expressed by their qualities that govern their functions. We are all made up of all of these energies and subsequent qualities, with each individual having slightly different proportions of the individual elements, making everyone unique in their own constitutional or genetic makeup.
Ayurveda assesses and treats each individual, according to their unique psychological, emotional and physical constitution. We evaluate the imbalances in the body through this system of the elements as well. Our world and bodies are in constant interplay. We are constantly adjusting to changes in the environment as well as new environments, and when these environments change or become imbalanced we are affected and will feel it in some way.
Ayurveda concentrates on prevention through understanding one’s own makeup, and the affects that the outer world, environment, diet and lifestyle choices make on our daily lives. Our goal is to teach each person how to attain optimal health through a deeper understanding of themselves and their own particular nature in relationship to the world around them.
Ayurveda is a system based on natural healing through strengthening one’s own body, mind and spirit, and allowing the body’s own natural healing mechanisms to work to their fullest.
The practice of Ayurveda includes lifestyle approaches, such as appropriate yoga, massage, diet, purification, rejuvenation, daily routine and imparts wisdom on how to live in balance with oneself and the environment and a profound philosophy that conjoins “Mind, Body, Spirit” as a framework for Holistic Health and Wellness. This practical knowledge of self-healing can be learned and practiced by anyone.
The Ayurvedic foundation for Yoga is an integrative one that sees everything in life as a harmonious dance as we move in and out of balance and towards the merging of our individuality with the oneness of creation. In this state of unity there is complete freedom and bliss.
In the west, the popularization of yoga has been limited to an allopathic and scientific approach to yoga and yoga therapy, using the mind to identify different diseases and holding to beliefs and concepts, where the key to understanding is analysis and logical deduction. In the east, in the traditional roots of yoga and yoga therapy, there is a holistic and spiritual approach, based on identifying different people rather than different diseases, and where the key to understanding is intuition, acceptance, observation and experience, cultivated and refined through stillness of the mind and adapting the practices to meet the needs of each individual.
In the west adaptation may mean what is convenient, which makes people vulnerable to scammers, or may be based on an allopathic model limited by the mind and reductionism in its scope of practice. In the east adaptation considers the Ayurvedic definition of health: as one who’s elements(doshas) are in balance, who’s tissues (dhatus) are well formed, who’s waste products (malas) eliminate properly and one who has a bright and shining soul and consciousness or one who is self actualized, grounded in knowing their true nature.
To balance our body, mind and spirit, we need to first understand the attributes or qualities (gunas) of the elements that comprise our constitution (doshas), in order to know their tendencies and functions, and how they move in and out of balance, the integration of the layers of who we are (koshas), and the science of creation (samkhya philosophy), to understand nature, it’s behavior and how it works, like physics. Then we can learn how the various tools of yoga, diet and lifestyle work to affect them and tailor appropriate practices and daily and seasonal routines that bring us closer to our goals, finding freedom live our purpose in life, unlocking our human and creative potential.