Integrating Ayurveda and Yoga can capture the full potential of both these age-old practices for total fitness and healthy living

Ayurveda and Yoga are two important healing and rejuvenating practices originated in India. Both these systems have their origins in the Vedas. It is believed that Ayurveda is the science and yoga is the practice of this science for the overall health and well-being. According to the Vedic system, Ayurveda is a medicinal system for healing purposes of the body and Yoga is not a medical system but a practice for inner peace and spiritual well-being. While yoga prepares the body for a spiritual rejuvenation and enlightenment, Ayurveda gives ways about keeping the body and mind healthy.

Both yoga and ayurveda are based upon the principles of trigunas (sattva, rajas and tamas) and the panchamahabuthas (earth, air, fire, water, space). Yoga and ayurveda also encompass an understanding of how the body works (Dosha-Dhatu-Mala/humor-tissue-waste material theory) and the effect that food and medicines have on the body (Rasa-Veerya-Vipaka/taste-energy-post digestive effect concept).

Both of these sciences have eight branches: Ashtanga yoga and Ashtanga ayurveda. The two have a common understanding of health of the body being dependent on the health and balance of the mind. They share virtually the same metaphysical anatomy and physiology, which consists of 72,000 nadis (subtle channels), seven main chakras (energy centers), five bodily sheaths and the kundalini shakti (energy).

In treatment, both yoga and ayurveda advocate for the regular practice of pranayama and meditation as well as the use of herbs, body purification procedures, food and chanting of mantras for physical and mental health. In yoga, the body purification procedures have been explained as ‘Satkriyas’ whereas in ayurveda they are known as ‘Panchakarma’.

Both recognize that keeping the body healthy is vital for fulfilling the four aims of life: dharma (duty), artha (wealth), kama (desire), and moksha (liberation).


For body and soul

There are several similarities between Yoga and Ayurveda. Both consider a person not just as a body but as body, mind and soul together. Ayurveda and Yoga are based on the principles of panchabhuthas – earth, air, fire, water and space and trigunas – sattva, rajas and tamas. Both these systems are also based on the constitution of the body (vata, pita, kapha). In Ayurveda diet and medical procedures are based on the body humors of a particular person. Yoga stabilizes all the body humors and different yoga postures have different effects on the vata, pita, kapha body types. Impact of food and also medicines on the body are also important for yoga and Ayurveda. Yoga tones body parts relax mind and purify vital organs. Yoga is just not about asanas, it includes ethical disciplines, breath control, sensory aspects, prayer, mantra and several meditative principles. Similarly, Ayurveda includes all methods of healing from diet, exercises to lifestyle control.

Holistic wellness

Integrating these two healing therapies have several benefits. Ayurveda and Yoga together form a complete package for optimum health and wellness. Combining Ayurveda into Yoga creates a yogic and ayurvedic blend for the perfect healing of mind and body. Yoga calms down the mind and eases physical stress. This creates a perfect platform for ayurvedic medications as Ayurveda works best in a stress-free mind and body. Simple things such as having an ayurvedic diet and practicing the spiritual approach of yoga can lead to complete healing of several diseases especially lifestyle-related diseases. The diagnosis of a disease can be done by Ayurvedic experts and the treatment modalities along with yogic practices can be done utilizing the full potential of the Vedic knowledge. Thus a holistic revival of the body, mind, and soul, is possible through combining Yoga and Ayurveda