Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Ayurveda & Yoga: Basic Principles to Understand


Common And Basic Principles Of Ayurveda And Yoga

Ayurveda and the practice of yoga both share a common foundation in the wisdom of Vedas or Vedic literature. Both of them are extension of the Vedic wisdom. This common foundation is not in tools of ayurvedic medicine or yogic practice but is evident in their basic and underlying principles.

By: Arjun (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine & Surgery With Modern Medicine)

Acceptance of Holistic Nature:

Yoga and Ayurveda accept the holistic nature and integrity of human body. Though it might appear that they are dealing with outer body part specifically but the actual effect and benefit is experienced as a whole

Both of these systems and approaches recognize and work through the integrity of body, mind and soul. Whereas ayurveda has the potential in theory and in practice to serve as the converging and diverging point of all the systems and therapies of alternative medicine as well as holistic medicine; and in the same manner yoga has the potential, again theoretically and practically, to serve as the foundation and guiding light for such systems and approaches like yoga postures, hatha yoga, reiki, pranic healing, energy medicine, body mind medicine, therapeutic touch, touch therapy, crystal healing and scores of other tools of such therapies.

Three Psychological Attributes:

All the Vedic literature accepts the three primary psychological or causal attributes. These are – Satva, Rajas and Tamas. These are like the three basic entities of Nature and the root cause of all the creation.

When these three attributes are in balance, the creation is in ‘unmanifest stage’. It means that there is potentiality of creation and but  no actual creation is in place. When these three attributes are not in balance, the whole creation becomes manifest. All the twenty four elements of nature are directly or indirectly derived out of these three attributes.

It is very tough to understand that how such a grand universe with its mind dazzling diversity is the result of these three attributes. But it should not be that hard to digest. Don’t forget about protons, electrons and neutrons as the building blocks of all the 100 plus natural and artificial chemical elements of Chemistry that was discovered some decades ago. Truly and scientifically, all the diversity of earth, living or nonliving is the result of differential arrangement of these subatomic particles! Yes it is true, no one can deny this fact. Can you? No!

Five Primary Elements Of Nature:

Among all the principles and terms of ayurveda and also in yoga, the most often misunderstood and misrepresented fact is five primary elements of nature – earth, water, fire, air and ether. These are not what we see them.

My spiritual mentor, Shri Shri Paramhansa Yogananda, the founder of YSS and SRF has explained it in clear details. These five great elements of nature are vibrations of life energy that are finer than subatomic particles. Any person of true yogic authority can have direct realization of these facts. And both East and West has now and already had many such authorities.

Ayurveda Three Bodies:

Human body as well Cosmos is created in three tiers – physical, pranic or astral or subtle or made of life force, causal or ideational. The concept of three bodies explains many of such profound questions as the justice and fairness of GOD, rebirth, dreams, sleep, near death or after death experiences, human will and psychology.

Some tools like Kirlien photography has made the concept of aura a physical reality now. Though there is definite lack of outer instruments but the inner tools are already present in all of us.

Twenty Five Elements Of Body And Nature:

In the ayurvedic and yogic cosmology or human embryology, there is mention of 24 elements of nature and another one as Consciousness. Without these elements, ayurveda as well as yoga loses its integrity as body-mind-soul medicine. As explained earlier, all these elements of nature are derived from the three basic causal or psychological attributes – Satva, Rajas and Tamas.

These are – Conscousness or Soul, Ego, Chitta or reservoir of impressions, Intellect, Mind, Five Tanmatra, five cognitive senses, five executive senses, five primary elements of nature.

Affecting The Prana or Life Force:

What is the most basic healing energy in herbal remedies, medicine and yoga practice? This has been a very intriguing question for me for several years especially when herbal oils and some ayurvedic mineral preparations (ayurveda bhasmas) are repetitively processed literally hundreds or thousands of times along a set routine even though they had been made pure and safe and effective in only a few rounds.

As a result of yoga practice and Reiki initiation by Shri Madabusi Subramaniam, I came to realize the underlying power of such ayurvedic preparations. Simply their vital force is being elevated otherwise there is negligible difference chemically between a few rounds and after hundreds of processing.

Ayurvedic remedies and yoga practice heals us by acting and balancing prana or vital force, the elementary energy for our well being.

Universally Applicable Code Of Conduct:

Ayurveda prescribes the universally applicable code of conduct which can also be found in Yoga. This advice is not bound by religions, cults or creeds, by time and by geography. These are the basic principles of human conduct and effective that are actually the core of all lasting philosophies and religions.

How can any holistic system or approach for human well being be complete if on the one side, it is making you healthier in body and on the other side, letting you free to kill or harm other persons?

Stephen R. Covey is one of my favorite modern prominent authorities who has suggested the model for human effectiveness and greatness in family and in organization based on the foundation of these basic principles. Simply loving, Covey.

Balance and Harmony in Body and Society:

Both of these system help in making body healthier and mind happier and soul joyous by balance and harmony in bodily elements and their functions.

They have inspired a great model of society based on ‘physiological basis of division of labor among cells and tissues’. This system of society had been supportive for the individual as well as the community. It is the field of Social Ayurveda.

Ayurvedic And Yogic Purification Of Body And Mind:

Ayurveda has predominantly related with the health of body by balancing the three humors and by purifying the body of vitiated elements. And yoga deals with the purification body and mind and thereby the evolution of human awareness. Truly the holistic duo for better and greater health of body, mind and soul.

Self Evident And Experiential Nature Of Ayurvedic And Yogic Principles:

Most of the principles of yoga and many of ayurvedic concepts are self evident. They are revealed to us in the light of our intuition. These are experiential, that is, these theories can be experienced by any discerning individual. Actually how can we negate ourselves? There is no way! We can only neglect or ignore.

Ayurveda And Yoga As Integral And Holistic Lifestyle Guide:

Both ayurvedic medicine and yogic practice work best when their practice is followed with dietary and lifestyle changes. Suppose, you are eating a lot of junk food and therefore suffer from constipation. You take ayurvedic herbal remedies for constipation and do some yogic postures for correcting your abdomen. OK. No problem, they will be all right. 

But if you don’t modify your lifestyle and diet, you won’t be all right in near future. Then you are not actually following yoga or ayurveda! You are merely using them as tools to calm down your conditions like you take drugs. So follow whole heartedly with dietary and lifestyle modifications to get faster and greater benefit.

A Personalized Approach For Every Individual:

One of the most beautiful characteristic of both the profound systems is that they regard the individuality of each and every person. These can be personalized for the individual without ignoring or bending their principles. Their principles are universal and practices are flexible and ‘individual-centric’.

Serving The Four Basic Purpose Of Human Life:

Ayurvedic medicine as well as yogic practice is merely a tool for the health, wellbeing, growth and evolution of human being. They assist as the great tools in fulfilling the basic four purposes of human being.

All the human activities serve one or more of the four basic purpose – religious or moral or social, economic, sense pleasures and spiritual aspirations. Check them out for all of your aspirations and you will find them all inclusive!

So Ayurveda herbal medicine and Yoga meditation and physical practice are truly excellent tools. They work together in a great synergy. They are for you and me, for all of us. Use them and enhance your life in all dimensions of life.

As a native Indian and an Ayurvedic holistic healer, Arjun writes in the lane of herbal healing and home remedies. Certification: BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine & Surgery With Modern Medicine).

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