Why You Should Practice Ayurveda If You Practice Yoga
If you practice yoga, you may have heard a few sanksrit terms.
Namaste, of course.
Chataranga, the push-up-type move you do beetween every round of Vinyasa
Shabasana, everyone’s favorite pose (final resting pose.)
You may be familiar with the Vedas, the ancient Sanskrit text which yoga is based on.
But that might be all you know about this multifaceted practice that has taken over the United States for its balancing benefits, both mentally and physically.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is the sister science of yoga, first-recorded in the same Sanskrit texts. In fact, Ayurveda predates yoga, passed on orally for the past 5000 years, before any system of health or even book existed. Ayurveda began in ancient Northern India and is still practiced around the world. It is the world’s oldest health system that states the secret to health is balance.
The word ayur means life and veda means knowledge, meaning in order to have balance you must have complete knowledge of your life.
The ancient Indian sages who wrote Ayurveda created it as the system based on how to live your life for optimal health and wellbeing. Unbelievably, the Ayurvedic texts have profound wisdom that scientists today are only beginning to discover.
They knew that the start of every illness begins in the gut. They knew that our happiness was related to our digestive system. They knew we each were born with different body types and have to eat accordingly. They knew the way we eat must change according to the season and our climate. They wrote entire textbooks on how to cure through herbs, spices and most importantly diet. In fact, they knew that the word “disease” actually means “dis-ease” of the mind and body.
Ayurveda is the Vedic system developed specifically for healing purposes. There is no other Vedic system of health besides from Ayurveda. Yoga, on the other hand, is the Vedic system of spiritual awareness or sadhana.
Eight Fold Path
Both Ayurveda and Yoga have an eight-fold path, called ashtanga, which means “eight limbs.” Ashta means eight while anga means limb. These eight limbs are guidelines on how to live a meaningful and pursposeful life. The eight limbs of yoga (which I will discuss in-depthly in a future blog post so be sure to subscribe) are based on ethical standards, integrity, self-discpline, physical practice (asana that we are familiar with), breath control (pranayama), withdrawal, concentration, contemplation and bliss. Yoga provides you with an eight-fold path to reach complete connection with the divine.
Why Yoga Needs Ayurveda
Many of us practice yoga, believe with that class we are now leading a “yogic” lifestyle. However, if you walk out of a yoga class and head to a burger shop, you are already breaking one of the first limbs of yoga: ahimsa, nonviolence (especially if that meat was raised in a factory farm).
If you eat on-the-go without awareness, you are breaking another limb, dharana, which means to concentrate on one thing at a time.
You see, downward dog and child’s pose are great but they are only tiny tiny portions of yoga. They are just poses of asana, the fourth limb, meaning physical practice. But real yoga is is how you behave the other 23 hours of your day outside of your class. And that’s when Ayurveda comes in.
What Ayurveda Teaches You
Ayurveda teaches you everything you need to know to live your life in accordance with your body’s natural rhythm. This will not only improve your yoga practice, but all other areas of your life. It will make you more flexible, more peaceful, more focused, more agile, more awake, more balanced.
Ayurveda will tell you what your morning routine should look like, what the best breakfast for your body type is, what time you should eat that breakfast, how many hours to wait until your next meal, whether you should snack, what to eat for lunch, when to have dinner, how to prepare your meals, what time to sleep, what you should do before bed.
It will teach you how to look out for your body’s natural tendencies and how to prevent diseases you are prone to. It will help you alleviate anxiety, depression or frustration so the stress doesn’t come right back to you the moment yoga class is over.
Yoga and Ayurveda Connection
Part of Ayurveda is to practice yoga, because it is needed to calm the mind and exercise the body.
And part of yoga is to practice Ayurveda because it heals the body temple in which you practice yoga and reach spiritual enlightenment.
The two are sister sciences that go hand-in-hand.
Why Isn’t Ayurveda As popular?
The Western World hasn’t quite yet picked Ayurveda up the way it has yoga.
Frankly, it’s way harder to change your lifestyle than it is to make it to a yoga class a few times a week. Lifestyle change takes full-time work and commitment. Going to a yoga class does take some effort but it doesn’t mean you rethink your entire life, change your schedule and eat in an entirely different way.
Until you practice yoga enough and it does. And you begin to wonder what else you can do to feel this good, all the time. Yoga takes a hold of you and you become addicted to the lightness, the connection, the bliss of the mind-body connection. And that’s how your curiosity of Ayurveda begins.
Ayurveda is on the rise for this exact reason. The more people practice yoga, the more trust they gain in the Vedic system and want to learn more about it. If yoga can make us feel this good, what can Ayurveda do?
How I Discovered Ayurveda
The same curiosity sparked in me several years ago. I had already been practicing yoga for over 10 years when I began studying Ayurveda. I thought it was some kind of massage or oil but didn’t know it was a complex system of health and wellbeing. The moment I learned about these ancient secrets, everything made so much sense. It was the missing piece of the puzzle I was looking for for so long, going from diet to diet, from raw vegan to Paleo, without finding the right method of eating for me. It also helped me stop my obsession with dieting and just learn how to eat intuitively, feeding my body the foods it needs to thrive so I can focus on being the best version of me.
I have since dedicated my life to the study and teaching of Ayurveda. I wrote my first book, Eat Right For Your Mind-Body Type, infusing Ayurveda with modern nutritional science and plant-based recipes. This Fall I am leading a 12-Week Online Ayurvedic Nutrition Program, sharing this ancient healing wisdom with you in a modern, relatable way.
In the 12-week program, I will provide you with the knowledge I learned studying this Vedic science in it’s home-country in India.. I will teach you about digestion, the six tastes of Ayurveda, the twenty qualities of every food and so much more. On top of that, I will share with you what I’ve learned in my studies of Sports Nutrition and Holistic Health Coaching, providing custom meal plans, scientific analysis of digestive patterns, relatable advice, transformational life-coaching, positive psychology and easy-to-follow recipes.
I created this system to change your life from all aspects, from the food on your plate to the thoughts in your health and my system has helped hundreds of women change their lives. Watch my client’s testimonials here.
I am passionate about making this complex, ancient Vedic science a simple and fun lifestyle that can work for all people.
If you are a yogi or just interested in holistic health, I invite you to read more about my program here.
Discover your Ayurvedic Mind-Body Type
If you aren’t sure what your Ayurvedic Dosha (mind-body type) is, then be sure to take the “What’s Your Mind-Body Type” Quiz which will take you how much Vata, Pitta and Kapha you have in your mind and body.
Afterwards, check out my Free Gifts page, where I have downloadable PDF’s about the three Ayurvedic Doshas, food combining charts and other great resources to share my knowledge with you.
I hope you learned more about this ancient healing wisdom and will try to integrate more of its practices into your life.