Ayuryoga Therapeutic Approach To Yoga

A System of Healing

A prescribed therapy is based on person’s diagnosis. Diagnosis is based on a medical system. Yoga Therapy is based on the Traditional Medicine of Ayuveda. Yoga is an integral part of Ayurvedic Medicine. Therefore, to fully benefit from the healing potential of Ayurveda, Yogic principles need to be integrated into our life. Ayurveda philosophy teaches us that healing the body and the mind while realizing our soul’s journey while being in harmony with the environment in which we exist should be the goal of our life. Both Ayurveda and Yoga recognize the role of consciousness as the prime factor in our wellbeing. Yoga tools like Asana, Pranayama and Mantra Meditation together with ayurveda based healthy lifestyle (Dinacharya) which includes proper diet, herbs, massages and Ayurvedic treatments help to counteract balance disturbance in the physical and mental plane of our existence.

In other words, Yoga and Ayurveda provide the knowledge and foundation to live a healthy life free from mental of physical disease. So, what is the relationship between classical Yoga and the traditional system of medicine Ayurveda? Both Ayurveda and Classical Yoga arose more than 5000 years ago in the ancient Vedic period before the rise of Buddhism, Christianity, Jainism and Islam. Thus we understand that both Yoga and Ayurveda are coming from the Vedic civilization and are considered the most ancient healing systems in the history of the humankind. Classical Yoga manifested as a spiritual practice with the aim at Self-realization, which lies beyond the physical plane. That is the reason why traditional Yogic texts say little about disease, diagnosis, or treatment. When we find information on health issues in Yogic texts, it comes from Ayurveda. On the other hand, in the system of Vedic sciences we will find that classical Yoga is part of Ayurveda as a branch that specifically deals with physical and psychological diseases and focuses on their treatment. We could say that Ayurveda is the traditional Yogic system of medicine. Even (Tibetan) Buddhist and Jain traditions in India and abroad have integrated certain Yogic aspects and principles and rely on Ayurveda for their medical applications. Ayurveda takes the philosophy, principles, and practices of Yoga and orients them towards the healing of body and mind. It extends the Samkhya philosophy, on which classical Yoga rests, into an integrated system of mind-body medicine. It takes such prime Yogic principles as Purusha, Prakriti, the five Pranas, and the five elements and shows their implications at the level of health. It provides a sophisticated view of anatomy, physiology, constitution, and the disease process through such factors as the three Doshas (biological humors), seven Dhatus (tissues), and the Srotas or channel systems. It considers the role of the mind, meditation, and the Purusha, or higher Self, for both mental and physical health. Ayurvedic practitioners, particularly those trained in traditional Ayurveda, commonly prescribe Yoga practices of asana, pranayama, mantra, and Ayuryoga Therapeutic approach to Yoga Prakash Deep Ayurveda Today 15 27 meditation, along with natural healing methods of diet, herbs, and massage according to a person’s biological constitution. If yoga teachers possess knowledge of Ayurveda, its view on the body and mind, health and disease, including a person’s biological constitution and Ayurveda's natural approach to healing and living, they and their students will derive immense benefit from it. Studying the Ayurvedic view of anatomy and physiology, the constitution and the disease process, which follows the energetics of prana, will greatly enhance the Yoga therapist's view of disease and how to treat it in a Yogic manner. Studying the Ayurvedic view of how physical diseases are connected to psychological diseases developed from the lack of connection with our inner consciousness, will greatly expand the realm of Yoga psychology. It is recommended for Yoga teachers to learn the role of Ayurvedic therapies that work well with Yoga therapy, including diet, herbs, massage, and cleansing Pancha Karma. Thus Yoga can be more effective if applied along with Ayurvedic lifestyle guidelines (dinachara) and treatment measures. It can be very helpful for Yoga teachers to use Ayurvedic treatment protocols for the application of Yoga therapies like asana and pranayama. It is therefore of great importance to know a person’s disease which imbalances his or her constitution before recommending the proper asanas and yogic techniques. For example, asanas, pranayama, or meditation recommended for a person with high vata dosha will naturally be different than those for one with high pitta dosha.

Ayurvedic guidelines help Yoga therapy be more attuned to individual needs and differences.

Even for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, Ayurveda with its more specialized diagnosis can provide additional insights as to how to manage the disease at an individual basis. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Ayurveda provides another set of guidelines for applying Yoga therapies; not only asana and pranayama but all the eight limbs of Yoga. Ayurveda views the yamas and niyamas of Yoga as the basic principles of right living for both physical and psychological health for everyone. Ayurveda considers asana as the "external medicine" of Yoga, useful primarily for musculoskeletal disorders, but having an indirect value for most health problems, specifically for vata dosha, the biological air humor. Ayurveda regards pranayama as what we could call the "internal medicine" of Yoga. From an Ayurvedic perspective, more emphasis should be given to pranayama because it has a greater ability to affect the internal workings of the body in terms of respiration, circulation, digestion, and the transmission of impulses through the nervous system.

Pranayama works on prana, which is directly connected to vata dosha, the most important of the three doshas, and has a strong therapeutic value in reducing kapha dosha, which causes diseases of mucus and congestion in the stomach, lungs, and the heart. Pratyahara, with its reduction of sensory overload, is a key factor in stress reduction and is emphasized in Ayurvedic sensory treatments and massage. Indeed, the patient who receives a deep oil massage in Ayurvedic treatment is also being given a pratyahara therapy. Pratyahara is central to healing because it allows the healing prana to be taken within, rather than dispersed outwardly. Yogic concentration, mantra, and meditation practices are important for treating all psychological disorders, according to Ayurveda, and are a necessary part of any healthy lifestyle for body and mind. They not only help to balance the doshas but also to increase sattva guna, the quality of inner harmony, balance, and contentment that is another important concept in both Yogic and Ayurvedic healing. These are but a few brief examples of how Yoga and Ayurveda can work together. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a future for Yoga therapy without Ayurveda. Ayurveda can help us add the medical background, diagnosis, and greater treatment options. This makes Yoga Therapy a part of a full Yoga system of Medicine. Antonina is spain based teacher of Ayur Yoga.

Ms. Antonina Ramsey

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