Making it Relevant

Having a working knowledge of Ayurveda can support you as a teacher in a variety of ways:

  • In individual conversations, students may ask you questions about health or life that go beyond the philosophies and practice of Hatha Yoga. The fundamental underpinnings of Ayurvedic theory and practice can be a useful perspective from which to draw. (This does not imply, of course, that teachers who are not Ayurvedic practitioners should ever dictate, “prescribe” or otherwise respond outside their areas of expertise. Rather, we are talking to the fact that as we support students in developing their inner awareness and external support systems, such a vital system as Ayurveda can provide a perspective for ideas.)
  • An understanding of doshas in Ayurveda provides a logical way to individualize both Hatha Yoga practices (asana and pranayama) as well as diet and other lifestyle practices. For example, a student’s descriptions of her non-stop work day and fiery approach to life can prompt us to give suggestions based on a pitta-balancing routine of asanapranayama and mantra.
  • Ayurveda is a perfect complement to seasonal planning of classes. If offers wisdom that can guide practices season to season, person to person as a way of continually returning to balance. 
  • When offering guidance to students as a way to grow in their practice, we can benefit greatly by using Ayurveda as a primary tool for identifying imbalances and considering ways of restoring balance.

What You’ll Find Here

The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life. – B.K.S. Iyengar

As we endeavor to summarize and present Ayurvedic principles, please remember that the mind-body system is very complex, and so is Ayurveda.  In India, Ayurvedic Practitioners are Doctors and study the Vedas in great detail. There are many schools dedicated to teaching Ayurveda and its healing and balancing practices. Most modern healing modalities have their roots in Ayurveda including Reiki, Acupuncture, Herbalism, Aromatherapy, Sound, Color, and Gem Therapies.

Our goal in this section of the site is to give you a big picture perspective and outline options for sharing this wisdom with your students. Our hope is that through your influence, you will enhance your student’s spiritual practices and daily routines to lead them to become ever more balanced and aware of their wholeness. Ayurveda reminds us that health is the balanced and dynamic integration between our environment, body, mind, and spirit.

For a far more in-depth look at the relationship between Yoga and Ayurveda by the renowned expert, Dr. David Frawley, see Yoga and Ayurveda on the American Institute of Vedic Studies website.

Yoga Styles: Ayurvedic Perspective

Let us consider the major types of yoga from an Ayurvedic perspective… Kripalu Yoga, Integral Yoga and Sivananda Yoga emphasize the use of rhythmic breathing, varieties of pranayama and mindfulness meditation practices while performing the yoga poses… These wonderful practices make the body supple and the mind alert… This style is most ideal for those with a Vata predominant constitution.

A second category of yoga is Bikram Yoga, Power Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga that emphasize fast paced practices that are vigorous, aerobic in nature, and promote sweating as a form of purification… These styles would not be recommended for a Pitta predominant student lacking discrimination in following their own guidance. However, for a balanced Pitta, this style will promote insight by keeping them engaged in the art of balancing and directing their fiery nature.

The third style, Iyengar Yoga, is focused on physical alignment and the development of mental and physical strength and stamina… This style is beneficial for those with a predominantly Kapha constitution. – Mukunda Stiles

Considerations:

  1. What type oy yoga style/class are you drawn to? Do you feel that you get what your body and mind needs from the classes you are more drawn to or would a different style be more BENEFICIAL to your health and wellbeing (even though you may enjoy it less at the time). 
  2. Do you feel that the seasons affect your practice. Will you give considerations to the seasons when planning your classes?
  3. Explain Ayurveda in simple terms to as if to an enquiring yoga student