Yoga and Ayurveda are referred to as the ‘sister sciences’ for body and mind. Both come to us from India and have been used together for many years as they benefit each other. Both philosophies are all-encompassing, taking the body, mind, and soul into account as they focus on finding balance and inner peace.
David Frawley’s book Yoga & Ayurveda tells us how both of these philosophies work together to enable us to be the happiest and healthiest that we can be. Ayurveda “shows us how…we can live in harmony with the greater universe, not evolving only for ourselves but bringing benefit to all creatures”. (Frawley 1999) This sounds exactly like what we all need right now. Yoga is used in Ayurveda to help with the balancing process.
Ayurveda is the science of life: Ayur=Life Veda=knowledge or study of
Ayurveda observes the seasons in nature and recognizes that our bodies follow these same rhythms. In response to this, Ayurveda takes into account each individual’s makeup of elements and then prescribes things such as diet (food and herbs), yoga, daily routine, and rest to help the body find balance and optimal functioning. (One’s personal makeup or constitution is called a dosha.) It is a science based on the belief that if we provide the body with all of the nutrients it needs, in all areas of life, then it will function at its optimal level. In many ways, Ayurveda focuses on prevention of issues through self-care.
Ayurveda teaches that if we can get into sync with the rhythm of nature, we can live more peacefully. Recognizing the change in qualities throughout the change of the seasons, Ayurveda follows its own ‘calendar’, breaking the year into 3 distinct parts.
Spring is the season of renewal when things are wet, cool, dense, and soft- think about the ground and the plants the morning after a spring rain. It is the season of rebirth as everything is coming back to life; the season of growth. It is also the season of cleansing in preparation for that rebirth period.
Summer is the season of transformation when things are hot, sharp, and light- think of the afternoon of a humid summer day with the bright sun shining. It is the season of full-on life, burning hot and moving from rebirth into death; the season of doing.
Fall into early Winter is the season of flexibility and mobility as things become even lighter, drier, rough, and begin to cool- think of the leaves on a tree turning brown and falling to the ground to crunch beneath your feet. It is the season where the work that has been done in the summer is coming to fruition to be shown as forward movement. It is the season of reaping the benefits of the work, but also preparing for what is to come.
The Ayurvedic calendar also shows itself throughout the lifespan. As babies and children, we are in the Spring of our lives- growing, assimilating, learning. We are soft, the body is more moist and smooth. As we move into adulthood, we enter Summer. We are working, parenting, paying bills, making a home- a lot of doing. And as we move into the later years of our lives, we enter Fall/Winter. We become drier, lighter, and more reflective as we have less doing to do.
Finally, the Ayurvedic calendar is even displayed throughout the hours of the day, affecting our energy levels, our digestion, our concentration, and our assimilation.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because if you can begin to recognize these patterns in your day, your life, your environment, and your own body, you can begin to get more in sync with the natural rhythm that your body is set up to follow and feel better within yourself.
Ayurvedic practices can help us to find the diet, schedule, and exercise routine that will match our personal makeup, enabling us to thrive. Just as many people learn that yoga can help to calm the mind and allow the body to move more freely, it is also important to learn Ayurvedic principles that can end the feeling of fighting against our own bodies. When we begin to eat a diet that is supported by what is in season, when we create a schedule for ourselves that soothes rather than stresses, and when we learn to listen to what our wise bodies are asking for, we can flourish in our lives and feel healthier and happier.
This week, begin to notice if your appetite has receded with the arrival of spring. Notice if there are things that you need to let go of in your schedule, your physical environment, your body. Notice if your habits are supporting you in becoming the best version of yourself or if it’s time to make some changes.
Do not stress yourself out by trying to change everything at once; for now, just notice. You are right where you are supposed to be in this moment on your journey. But, with knowledge comes responsibility, so once you know better, you can do better.
For more information on your personal makeup of elements, you can take a dosha quiz here: https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/prakriti-quiz?avad=178942_fe416031
And for more information on Ayurvedic habits you can begin to implement in your own life, visit this site: http://yogahealer.com/habits-from-ayurveda/
Feeling better in your own body doesn’t have to be dramatic or complicated. And it is something that you can do for yourself. I am right here on the journey next to you.
Talk again soon,