Monday, December 21, 2009

Ayurveda and Yoga Therapy

Ayurveda and Yoga


For long now, Ayurveda and yoga have both been used for the treatment of various ailments and conditions. In fact, Yoga and Ayurveda are probably the most popular alternative therapies available in India. Over the years, the two sciences have become extremely popular in the Western world as well. Yoga & Ayurveda when used in combination are extremely beneficial to health and overall well being.

Derived from Sanskrit, Ayurveda means the “science of life.” The origin of Ayurveda lies in Vedic culture and understanding. Ayurveda has survived in the form of manuals or instructions written in Sanskrit and passed down through generations. These books are related to all aspects of life, and they provide instructions related to disease and treatment as well as general well being. In simple terms, Ayurveda is the science of healing using natural ingredients such as herbs and essential oils. Ayurveda involves the application of these natural ingredients through massage techniques as well as the ingestion of herbs.

First of all, yoga is not a form of exercise. It is a lifestyle that involves a combination of breathing techniques, meditation, and postures. Yoga aims to create a kind of synthesis between the mind, body, and soul. It is on this premise that yoga has been regarded as one of the most holistic alternative therapies. Yoga involves many different components, or in other words, there are many different types of yoga. The most popular type of yoga, which is the physical component, is known as Hatha yoga.

While Ayurveda does not involve any complicated postures (asanas), it has been practiced alongside Yoga to further its benefits. However, Ayurveda does require modification in diet and lifestyle.

According to Ayurveda, each body is governed by a predominant dosha, or element (space, air, fire, water, and earth). Ayurvedic yoga involves practicing yoga based on your dosha. For instance, the vata dosha is most affected by sitting poses or asanas. Similarly, since the seat of pitta is the stomach and small intestine (or abdominal region), poses involving the bending of the back and twisting of body will be most effective. Kapha dosha is most affected by poses such as the bridge (setubandh asana) and shoulder stand (sarvanga asana).

Ayurvedic Yoga

An Ayurvedic yoga massage involves a lot of stretching. However, the stretches are not performed by the individual alone. Instead, a masseur or masseuse will help the individual, directing him or her as the body moves into different positions. These stretches are interspersed with different massage techniques.

Thus, both Ayurveda and yoga are ancient alternative therapies that can be practiced alone or in combination in order to achieve a healthy body and mind.