Introduction

  • Ayurveda, often called the “sister science” of yoga, is an ancient healing system dating back 5,000 years.
  • Ayurveda is derived from the Vedas (the Athara Veda in particular).
  • The Vedas, or divine Hindu books of knowledge, translate Ayurveda to “the science of life.”
  • Ayurveda is based on unchanging, immutable laws that govern the universe.
  • Ayurveda aims not only to heal sickness but to prevent illness and promote the preservation of life.
  • Self-realization, the goal of yoga, requires a healthy body-mind, the goal of Ayurveda.
  • The Ayurvedic approach promotes balance (sattva guna) so that spiritual practice (sadhana) can be a means to self-liberation (moksha).

Yoga & Ayurveda Relationship

  • Scholars explain that the health benefits of Ayurveda are not simply for outer enjoyment but to provide a wholesome foundation and sufficient energy to pursue the yogic quest for Self-realization.
  • As a support to optimum health of body and mind, Ayurvedic practices support yoga practice.
  • And, in turn, the eight-limbs of yoga (yamasniyamasasanapranayamapratyaharadharanadhyanasamadhi) support the objectives of Ayurveda.
  • As exercise, asanas are a part of healthy living.
  • As therapy, asana and pranayama may be used to treat specific diseases and dysfunctions of the body and mind.
  • As a spiritual practice, yoga practices may be used for Self-knowledge and Self-development.

From the Experts

Result of Distance from Nature’s Wisdom

Ayurveda originated, in part, to address the disorders and ease the discomfort of a populous grown increasingly distant from the intimate practical knowledge of, and proximity to nature’s cycles, seasons and wisdom. – Dr. Claudia Welch 

Self-Realization Depends on Well-Functioning Body & Mind

Ayurveda is the Vedic science of healing for both body and mind. Yoga is the Vedic science of Self-realization that depends on a well-functioning body and mind… The practice of the two sciences as a lifestyle is necessary for their independent goals. Yoga rests upon Ayurvedic medicine for its health implications. Ayurveda rests upon Yoga for its mental and spiritual dimension – Dr. David Frawley

Both Are Sciences of Liberation

The aims of yoga and of ayurveda are almost the same. Both are concerned with self-realization. The only difference is that yoga adopts a psycho-spiritual approach and ayurveda a physico-physiological approach… There is no contradiction between the ways in which yoga and ayurveda explain the causes of afflictions. We have seven hundred muscles, three hundred joints, sixteen thousand kilometers of nerve current flowing in this human system, and about ninety-six thousand kilometers of blood veins, arteries, and capillaries. This human machine is so complicated, and it is very difficult to keep its many parts in good order… The only difference between yoga and ayurveda is that in yoga tremendous will power is required. You have to generate your own energy to combat diseases. As many people lack the potency required to fight diseases, ayurveda gives tonics or vitamins to help the process… Ayurveda starts from the body, and yoga starts from the consciousness. But from their different starting points, both serve to keep the body healthy, and both are moksa-satras, or sciences of liberation. – B.K.S. Iyengar

Ayurveda in Brief

  • Ayurveda’s ancient teachings state that an ill body and mind suffer from an imbalance, and to live vibrantly we must live consciously.
  • Ayurveda offers a body of wisdom designed to help people stay vital, realizing their full potential. In following daily and seasonal routines, diet guidelines, observing behavior, and proper use of the senses, we begin to bring the body back into balance in order to cultivate perfect health.
  • When the three qualities of vatapitta, and kapha are in their optimal balance, the result is optimal health. We can then experience vata as relaxation in the body, pitta as fire in the belly and kapha as a warm, loving heart.
  • To understand Ayurveda, it is essential to grasp the essence of the theory of the elements. The five elements, or five “states of matter,” form the basis for Ayurveda.

The Mother of All Medicine

‘Ayu’ comes from the root ‘ayuh,’ which means life, and ‘veda’ comes from the root ‘vid,’ meaning to know, to understand. If you understand the body, the mind and the soul, this is known as ayurveda… Ayurveda is as old as civilization. It is the mother of all other systems of medicine, whether they be allopathic or homeopathic. In ayurveda you will find treatment of disease through remedies which give the same symptoms as the disease, as in homeopathy, and also remedies which give symptoms opposite to those of the disease, as in allopathy. Ayurveda uses both methods. – B.K.S. Iyengar

Reveal True Nature

The aim of Ayurveda is to reveal the true nature of oneself, not only in terms of our particular body type, but as interconnected with the overall divine consciousness of the universe. – Kam Thye Chow & Emily Moody