By now, most of the world is familiar with Yoga. It has quickly become a popular tool for fitness and physical health. Although not as many people are familiar with Ayurveda, the ancient wellness principles are quickly gaining recognition for its benefits to physical, mental and emotional wellness.
When combined, Yoga and Ayurveda can be a powerful tool to maintaining optimal health and living a longer, more satisfying life.
Yoga originated in India and combines the practices of physical, mental, and spiritual discipline. The word Yoga refers to the connection one achieves through a series of asansas (yoga poses) and meditation. This connection develops by allowing us to slow down, relax, and concentrate our focus within ourselves. The exercises of yoga are a combination of breathing, stretching , balance, and meditation to achieve peacefulness not only within our minds, but within our physical bodies as well.
Because our lives are so hectic, stressful, and constantly bombarded with sensory stimulation from our surrounding environment, yoga is often the first step to disconnecting from external forces and increasing the inner connective forces for peacefulness.
Ayurveda is based on the idea that each individual is connected tot he world through a series of doshas, each of which represents different parts of nature that influence how we develop as human beings. All individuals are unique and so there are three doshas that help us define the main characteristics that affect us. The dosha are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, and just like our personality traits, they are unique to each individual. The Doshas help us to determine our Ayurvedic Body Type.
Once we know our Ayurvedic Body Type, we have the tools to discover our imbalances and the knowledge for how to avoid them. Imbalances can be treated through a carefully planned blend of exercise, diet, holistic and conventional medicine, and mental and emotional treatments.
Yoga and Ayurveda
The principles of yoga and ayurveda are closely interwoven. Knowing our Ayurvedic Body Type gives us the knowledge of how we interact mentally and physically with the world around us. Yoga has the tools to address each of the areas defined by the Doshas. The most important of these is mindfulness. Through discipline, yoga allows us to connect to our inner selves, to focus on our mind and body. Once we become more aware of how we interact with our world (or react to it), we become mindful of thoughts, eating habits, and physical ailments that we previously may have overlooked. Yoga gives us the peacefulness to pay attention to what ails us.
Weight gain, for example, could be due to the fact that we eat when we’re stressed. Or perhaps we eat too fast causing digestive issues. If our lives are too hectic, we may not have the time to prepare proper meals resulting in eating in an unhealthy manner that causes weight gain. Yoga helps us to focus, connect, and notice the behaviours that may be causing our weight gain, giving us the opportunity to make beneficials changes. Yoga also uses physical exercises which may help with weight gain. And lastly, meditation allows us to slow down, relax, and find harmony which reduces the stress that may be contributing to weight gain.
No matter whether you are suffering a physical, mental, or emotional ailment, the integration of Yoga and Ayurveda give us the chance to discover the natural causes of our imbalances, and the tools to correct those imbalances.
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