Yoga and Ayurveda

1033 Words5 Pages
Yoga, as defined in America, is known to be a mind-body technique originating from Asia. It is readily available at fitness facilities, on DVD, and even by means of virtual instructors. Today people may practice yoga for a variety of reasons such as; addressing musculoskeletal concerns, physical, mental, and emotional health. Albeit yoga gaining increased popularity, its context does not stem far beyond its ability to reduce stress. Yoga originated in ancient India as a spiritual practice. In Sanskrit the word yoga means union, to yoke or to join (Chaoul & Cohen). It is often depicted as a metaphoric tree with eight “limbs”: yama (universal ethics),Niyama (individual ethics), Asana (physical postures), pranayama (breath control), pratya-hara (control of the senses), dharana (concentration), dyana (meditation), and samadhi (bliss) (Ross & Thomas, 2010). It is part of the Vedic science, in which Ayurveda is the branch that deals with the physical and psychological components of disease and treatment (Frawley, 2008). Thus when yoga is used to address health issues it is done so in the context of Ayurveda. Ayurveda takes the yogic philosophies, principles and practices and applies them to the healing of mind and body. The goal of yoga is to create balance. Inner balance is defined by six variables: diet, lifestyle, environment, body work, breathing techniques and our thought processes (Shah & Hooper, 2003). Ayurveda promotes practical guidelines for achieving balances in the elements. The original Ayurvedic physician authors, Caraka and Susruta, defined Ayurveda as the “science which imparts knowledge about life…the description of a happy and unhappy life, and actions that promote and demote longevity”. Ayurveda is based from... ... middle of paper ... ... S. (2010). The health benefits of yoga and exercise: A review of comparison studies. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16(1), 3-12. doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0044 Seibert, A. (2012). Yoga health benefits: Flexibility, strength, posture, and more. Retrieved December 12, 2013, from Shah, V., & Hooper, G. (2003). Yoga and Ayurveda for therapy. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 13, 7-13. Retrieved from Stiles, M. (2007). What yoga therapists need to know about Ayurveda and Kinesiology. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 17. Retrieved from
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