Yoga and Ayurveda are as old as our tradition. Both go hand in hand for upliftment of thyself, with the sword of understanding of thyself thou shaft as under in thy heart every doubt arising from ignorance and thou shaft achieve thy performance in yoga. Desires are delusions. Consciousness follows our desires. Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.
The way out of unconsciousness into divine consciousness is Yoga. Man’s true essence is not his person. Man’s person is merely a reflection of his true self. But since our person is imperfect, the reflection is dim and distorted. Hence our true perfection and the brilliant purity of our divine origin can scarcely be recognized. A dim, dark window can keep out all the glory of brilliant sunshine. But if we clean the window of our person, the radiance that comes in will guide us back to the true life-giving Sun, so too are there uncounted individuals who all have their origin in a single divine self.
The path from isolation to union is Yoga. We have to train our body and mind to that point where no erotic desires arises.
Knowledge of Ayurveda is very wide and spread even in other relevant Shastras i.e. Sciences. Hence it is grouped and classified in broad divisions for purpose of clear exposition. As one Shastra cannot convey full justice to the matters related to other Shastra, still however it can neither resist from making passing references to them if context demands. One has to refer the other related Shastra also for clear understanding of his own Shastra.
There are several references in Ayurveda, which are related with Yoga-Shastra. Such points cannot be understood or cannot be practiced without taking help of the study of Yoga-Shatra. Not only the references of Yoga-Shastra are included in Ayurveda but there are references from ancient Hindu Sciences. All these ancient sciences are interconnected with each other and Yoga-Shastra is one of them.
The correlation of Ayurveda and Yoga, on the basis of fundamental level is shown with the following features:
1. Authenticity of both sciences is accepted by each other. The various acts related with daily and seasonal routine are included in the second fold of Yoga i.e. Niyama (Ethical practices). The subject related with the food habits are included under the first and second fold i.e. Yama and Niyama (Ethical practices). The subject related with the non-suppression of 13 natural calls are also included in Niyama (Bahya Saucha). This purification is previous to the performance of the actual motions. These calls are suggestive for necessary activity and hence are included under the yogic fold Yama (Saucha). Suppression of various mental properties such as affection, anger etc. is included in the second fold of yogic science i.e. Niyama. Suppressive and non-suppressive acts – such as Vyayam, Nasya etc. are related with regulation of body, mind and speech and hence are included in the first fold of yoga i.e. Yama especially Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahmacharya and Aparigraha.
2. “Sadavritta” described in Ayurveda is related with the behavior and moral conduct and hence is closely related with Yoga science. All these acts and behaviors could be included under the various Yogic folds especially under first and second fold. “Sadavritta” is beneficial through the regulations of senses and throughout the purification of mind, it is directly related with the yoga.
3. Sleep (Nindra) at proper time and for proper period is praised in Ayurveda while in yogic sciences proper awakening is also mentioned necessary along with proper sleep. Ayurveda and Yoga also agrees that occurrence of sleep is due to the specific property of mind i.e. Tamoguna. Ayurveda advises to avoid the excessive or abnormal sleep while Yoga describes the sleep as a specific state of mind and advises for its confinement. Ayurveda advises that detachment of the mind from worldly objects (Nivrutti) and detachment (Samtosha) are the reasons for having the sleep at proper time and in proper quantity while yoga always expresses that these two mental properties are playing best role in mental purification.
4. Physiological aspects of Rashi-Purusha i.e. 24 elements of Ayurveda are agreed in Yoga science.
5. Examination of “Man” i.e. Mind and of the “Sattva” is mentioned separately in Ayurveda. Examination of “Bala”(Strength) according to “Sattva” is also mentioned. Similarly, Yoga science also describes the pure Sattva as more and more strengthened
6. According to Ayurveda spirituality of the body is due to its relation with the Soul or spirit and the diseases of the body and mind are being grouped under the term “ Adhyatmika “. According to Yoga Shastra, the body is the place where the Soul experiences various pleasures or pain, which are to be experienced by him, according to his deeds. Thus, though all the body is the place or seat of a Soul. The description of Adhyatmika Sharir desa in Yoga Shastra is specifically for the achieving the state of self-realization. This Yogic aspect is specific than that of Ayurveda.
7. Ayurveda and Yoga have agreed the “Adhyatmikta” of body but Ayurvedic descriptions are explaining body with a specific importance to five elements (Panchmahabhutas) which is for the sake of clear understanding of the treatment aspect while in Yoga the importance is given to the advises mainly helpful for more and more purification of the mind and hence Yogic descriptions are according to that point of view i.e. the body (Sharir) explained in Yoga is of such pattern which can be understood by more and more purified mind. Thus Ayurveda and Yoga are having specific views for describing body (Sharir).
8. The description of five varieties of Vata is specified in Ayurveda and Yoga – according to their specific views. Only the names of these varieties are similar but their seats and performances are described differently in both the sciences. Yoga has mentioned the unity i.e. Ekatva of Vata. This yogic aspect is agreed in Ayurveda.
9. Five organs of perception i.e. Gyanendriya, five organs of action i.e. Karmendriya and the mind- as an organ for perception and action i.e. Ubhayendriya are mentioned similarly in both the sciences.
10. Treatment of the diseases is a specific authority of Ayurveda while doing the treatment according to the Ayurvedic principles necessary help should be taken from yoga science. The medicine, which is described in Ayurveda under the term “Satvavajaya” is directly related with Yogic science. This type of treatment is useful for both the persons i.e. healthy and unhealthy (Patient). “ Daivavyapasharya ”, which is another type of treatment in Ayurveda is also related to yoga.
11. Yoga is science, which has its basis in ancient Indian philosophy. It is a philosophy, a science and an art, in short, a way of life. With its holistic understanding of the individual in the macrocosm, it has become highly relevant in modern day fast paced living. The secret of Yoga is the achievement of a sense of balance and control. It develops stamina, balances the breath, calms the mind, stabilizes and controls the emotions to bring inner equilibrium and happiness. Yoga has also been described as wisdom in work or skillful living among activities, harmony and moderation.
12. Life in Ayurveda is conceived as the union of body, senses, mind and soul. Dosha literally means fault, blemish, defect, or morbid substance; the three doshas are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha these three Dosha are responsible for maintaining the integrity of
the human body, governing all the biological, psychological, and physiopathological functions of the body, mind, and consciousness. The living man is a conglomeration of three Doshas (humours) i.e. Vata, Pitta & Kapha, seven basic Dhatus (tissues) i.e. Rasa, Rakta, Mansa, Meda, Asthi, Majja and Shukra and Mala (the waste products of the body) such as faeces, urine and sweat.
Thus the total body matrix comprises of the humours, the tissues and the waste products of the body. Doshas are the basic elements of the body. The doshas determine the state of health of our body and mind. The Ayurvedic treatment is based on the three corner stones of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each Dosha has a primary location known as its seat, which serves as a focal point for treatment. Vata Dosha’s seat is the nervous system and imbalance in Vata Dosha affects the nervous system. Pitta Dosha’s seat is in the digestive system and imbalance in Pitta Dosha affects the digestive system. Kapha’s seat is in the chest and imbalance in it principally affects the respiratory system.
Any imbalance of a Dosha has a tendency to affect the other Dosha because they are interconnected and move together. Ayurvedic system of medicine therefore takes into consideration this important factor and prescribes the medicines accordingly.
13. Aasana (Physical posture) the most well known aspect of yoga is the third of the eight steps, which make up the entire discipline of yoga. Yogaasana too is closely associated with the treatment of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The ancient Sage, Thirumoolar, says it, some 2000 years ago, that the practice of Yogaasana in the morning will cure the diseases related to Pitta, in the afternoon will cure the diseases related to Vata and in the evening diseases related to Kapha Dosha. It can be seen from the above that Ayurvedic treatment and Yoga have a common ideology, approach and path to the treatment of various diseases.
14. Ayurveda describes mainly the physical treatments for both i.e. healthy and diseased conditions of the body while Yoga advises for salvation through more and more purification of the mind. But it is not possible to differ the mind and body from each other either for treatment or for purification. The body and the mind are dependent with each other. This fact is accepted in Ayurveda as a basic principle. Importance to the physical descriptions or the treatments is seen in Ayurveda only for the sake of clear understanding of the subject. The massive actions or treatments are related with the body mass and hence are being mentioned by the term bodily actions but the relation of the mind is also unavoidably connected with all this bodily actions.
15. The dependence of body and mind is accepted. Vitiated “Vatadi Dosha” disturbs the mind and mental impurities are also able enough to disturb the Doshas and to create the disease. Similarly, the correct or proper state of “Vatadi Dosha” is necessarily useful for mental health, while mental impurities or purified mind is also necessary for maintaining the healthy state.
Thus, the relation of body and mind is having specific importance. In spite of the dependence of body and mind, it may be clearly understood that more importance is given to the mental power (Satva bala). The Satva Bala is superior to the Sharir Bala (Body power). The man with Satva Bala can bear the physical disturbances. It is therefore advised necessary to examine the energy of the body and mind also. The mind is having the power to govern over all the body actions.
This specific power of governing all the acts is vested in mind due to its relation with Atma (Soul). Thus, the body, the mind and the Soul are respectively superior to one another.
Thus the utility of yogic practices is used for removing the sorrowness caused by a disease. The happiness achieved by this way is not permanent but it is only for a particular period, hence after understanding this fact one should try to achieve the permanent happiness. A Vaidya having the knowledge of both the sciences can only direct the patients on these lines. This is also one of the major benefits of the knowledge of both the sciences.
Written by Dr. Jignesh M. Belani, M.D. (Ayu.) ( India)
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