Ayurveda can be translated as the “knowledge of life” and dates back more than 5,000 years rooted in the ancient Sanskrit texts, Vedas, which are an important part of India’s history.
Ayurveda explores the relationships between the physical constitution, emotional nature, and spiritual outlook.
The Ayurveda way is rooted in the belief that every part of everything is connected in some way – physical, emotional and spiritual. When one is misaligned, it throws the others off alignment.
Some people use yogic approach and Ayurvedic approach together to stay connected to themselves. Both ancient practices have been used for many, many years to heal the mind, body, and spirit.
When used together yoga and Ayurveda have similar characteristics of healing, although when used individually they differ.
What is Ayurveda Yoga?
Yoga and Ayurveda can be intertwined because of the similar yet different benefits they offer to the one that seeks healing and/or purpose in life.
Yoga by itself is an exceptional practice for the mind, body, and spirit because it covers the physical, emotional and mental aspect of ourselves and teaches the yogi to connect all three components together.
When your mind, body, and spirit are all connected you will begin to realize that you can sense and/or hear them telling you exactly what they need at any given moment.
That aspect of yoga takes time to arrive at and honestly some yogis will never get to experience it.
But at the end of the day yoga is an incredible practice because you are moving your body which then positively touches your mind and spirit.
Ayurveda also teaches the connection of the mind, body, and spirit, through three doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
Each of the doshas is uniquely composed of the five elements of earth, water, fire, air, and ether, which give off certain energies that are all linked to the physical, emotional and mental.
An individual’s eating habits, exercise routine, and particular yoga poses can impact each dosha by increasing or decreasing its existence.
You can figure out your dosha by taking a quick test on the internet or through research of your own. Once you figure out your dosha, you can then tailor a yoga practice around what you need at that moment.
Each dosha has yoga poses that are specific to them for various reasons. Below you will find which yoga practice is best for each dosha.
Individuals who gravitate more towards Vata should do yoga poses that are grounding and calming in nature, such as Tree Pose, Warrior I and II and Mountain Pose because they help to keep you rooted and discover your strength through grounding.
Forward bends (both sitting and standing) and poses that benefit the lower back and thighs are excellent because individuals who have a Vata dosha can suffer from constipation and those poses help to alleviate the discomfort associated with it.
Fast-paced or flow sequence yoga practices should be avoided because this can cause anxiety and confusion due to constantly moving in and out of poses.
But if you find yourself in such a class, take your time in each pose and stay in poses longer until you feel grounded enough to move onto the next.
End each practice with a 10-15 minute corpse pose to re-ground yourself and prepare you for your day or night.
Individuals who gravitate more towards Pitta should do yoga poses that are calming in nature and release excess heat from the body.
If you have a Pitta dosha, you do not do well in heat or with poses that cultivate a ton of heat in your body, it throws you off and makes you uncomfortable.
These individuals will want to do yoga poses that open the chest and exert a sense of calm over your body such as Pigeon Pose, Camel Pose, Bow Pose, Fish Pose, Bridge Pose, Tree Pose, Warrior I and II Pose and Half Moon Pose.
You will want to end each practice with a 3 to 5 minute corpse pose for you to regain your center.
Individuals who gravitate more towards Kapha should plan to do their yoga practice in the morning hours between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., this will give you more energy and motivation throughout your day.
Yoga poses that are best for this type of dosha are most of the standing poses and holding them for 20 breaths and backbends because of the extreme release of heat throughout the body, which is what Kapha look forward to.
If you have a Kapha dosha, you exhibit the most stamina and strength and always need heat to keep you on your toes and active.
An individual who experiences an imbalance of this dosha may unusually be exhausted and will start to notice an excess in weight gain.
If you begin to notice an imbalance, be patient with yourself and slowly bring yourself back into your balanced dosha by choosing a challenging practice yoga, one that stimulates and energizes the mind, body, and spirit.
A natural characteristic of this dosha is to feel cold and sluggish but you can counter that by choosing yoga sequences that wake up the body, while always being aware of the breath during the entirety of the practice.
What Is the Relationship Between Yoga and Ayurveda?
Yoga and Ayurveda have been thought to be on the same coin but separate sides of the coin.
Both of these science practices are geared towards healing and honoring the mind, body, and spirit by movement and what you consume, both mentally, physically and emotionally.
Yoga and Ayurveda are both rooted in the Vedic text; Ayurveda is healing and yoga is spiritual and practical.
Both practices aim to heal the individual and bring them back to themselves because most humans are extremely lost and cannot put their finger on their own needs.
Changing your environment could be the best thing to ever happen to anyone in order to change the trajectory of their minds because what we consume is what we become.
Yoga and Ayurveda are both game changers when it comes to explaining why an environment change is extremely important because it brings you back to yourself.
Yoga is thought of as a physical experience for the body and people use this practice to stay fit as well as clear the mind of stress and anxiety. Focusing on the breath is one the best aspects of this practice because it forcing you to focus on the current moment.
Ayurveda focuses on the physical aspect as well but in the aspect of what you consume in the food department and how it affects you and only you on your spiritual journey.
Ayurveda as well as yoga see each individual as their own being and encourages everyone to focus on their own journey that is unique to them; dosha.
Yoga and Ayurveda are connected through some yoga asanas by teaching the individual that some poses are better for you then they are for others.
Some individuals excel with certain poses while others struggle or feel a sense of imbalance with those same exact poses, that is perfectly okay because yoga and Ayurveda are focused on the individual’s journey and teaching one to stay in their lane.
Both practices are centered-around the mind, body, and spirit and strive to bring the individual back to themselves.
What is Ayurveda Healing?
Natural healing is beginning to take over the airwaves because of the amazing benefits and results.
Ayurveda healing is at the forefront of that, rooted in 5,000-year-old Indian (Asia) history and to think this ancient practice was during years of foreign occupation.
This ancient practice rose out of that fire stronger and better than ever. Now being used again in its native land and all over the world, Ayurveda is not going anywhere anytime soon.
One of the many great aspects of this practice is that it is not just for healing illnesses, this practice is extremely diverse in its characteristics.
Ayurveda can also be translated as “science of life” and it teaches you to listen to your body and only your body and discovering how to connect that with your mind and spirit.
The connection comes from routines whether daily or seasonal, eating habits, behaviors and being in-sync with our senses.
The three components of the Ayurvedic practice are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha each representing the different elements of wind, fire, and earth, respectively.
Those components control both the inner and outer environments as well as the mind and body and each person gravitates more towards one than the other two.
Being that everyone gravitates more towards one than
the others, each component has its own set of characteristics and everyone embodies those. Much like anything in life, if there is too much of Veta, Pitta or Kapha, you will experience imbalance but if there is just enough you will experience balance in your life.
Everyone has different seasons of life and some may have a season of complete imbalance or may even begin to gravitate towards a new component, it all depends on the individual themselves.
The important concept to note is that every single person that walks this earth is their own unique individual and reacts differently in different areas and seasons of their lives; be patient and kind to yourself during every walk of your life.
What Is in an Ayurvedic Diet?
The Ayurvedic Diet (check out the book image) is a meal plan that provides you with guidelines on when you should eat, what you eat and even how you eat.
Ultimately the goal is to improve your overall health, prevent and/or manage diseases and successfully maintain the wellness aspect of your life.
The Ayurvedic “eating plan” dates back thousands of years and it’s proven time and time again that the lifestyle practice and eating plan improves your health if followed and done consistently.
The Ayurvedic diet, which is roughly 5,000 years old, is rooted in the history of India.
Ayurveda can be translated into “the science of life” and strives in having connections to creating a strong, healthy body through a healthy eating plan, exercise and healthy lifestyle practices, especially getting the proper amount of sleep and practicing mindful living.
Having a healthy eating plan is not just the answer to gaining perspective and obtaining and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, there are certain eating practices that are extremely beneficial to anyone trying to incorporate an Ayurvedic diet into their lifestyle. Below there are six beneficial practices to incorporate an Ayurvedic diet into your everyday life.
1. Intake of six rasas or tastes.
There are six tastes that should be incorporated when consuming an Ayurvedic diet. These six tastes are sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent and astringent; they must be consumed in that very order to stay on track.
Sweet foods such as certain types of fruit should be consumed first, then salty foods, next sour foods such as citrus fruit and round out your palate with pungent foods such as yellow onions, next astringent foods such as green granny smith apples and finally bitter foods such as mustard greens, collards or your favorite green leafy vegetables.
2. Eat mindfully with concentration.
It is recommended to concentrate fully on your food in front of you and absolutely nothing else in order for you to focus on your meal. Focusing on your meal and realizing the amazing benefits that come from the foods you consume and being more mindful about what exactly you consume.
3. Eat slowly.
Slow eating helps with proper digestion and aids in healthy lifestyles. When you eat slowly you are able to actually taste your food and savor all of the flavors. This practice also helps with mindfulness.
4. Eat quickly.
On the other end, you must eat quickly so that your food does not become cold. If your food becomes cold, it may become unsavory and you may not be able to fully appreciate the benefits of the food. Eat quickly but slowly at the same time.
5. Don’t overeat.
This is extremely important and will take time to successfully develop. A practice that requires one to become so in-tuned with their bodies that they know exactly what their bodies are telling them; when they are actually hungry and/or actually full.
Overeating and under-eating are both not healthy or good and it is important to know how to listen to your body and what it needs.
6. Allow your previous meal to digest before eating again.
The ability to having a true, deep connection with your body comes into play during this practice as well. It is important to eat only when hungry and to allow your food to digest before you consume another meal.
Breakfast, snack (possibly), lunch and dinner (possibly). Tune in and listen to your body and what it is telling you, whether it needs food or not. It is important to space out your meals as well.
An interesting aspect of an Ayurvedic diet is to eat according to your Dosha characteristics which are our most prominent energy. Three different doshas in the Ayurvedic lifestyle – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha which have five different elements.
These five elements are space, air, fire, water, and earth which go with the three different doshas and they each provide various qualities and attributes. See below for a deeper explanation of each dosha.
- Vata: Vata (space and air) is usually described as creative, intense or expressive, other characteristics are dry, light, cold and rough.
- Pitta: Pitta (fire and water) is usually described as intelligent, joyful and driven, other characteristics are dry, light, cold and rough.
- Kapha: Kapha (earth and water) is usually described as calm, loving or lethargic, other characteristics are dry, light, cold and rough.
Most people can relate to two or all three of the doshas, mostly having two strong ones. Ayurvedic practitioners believe that everyone has attributes for all three and can relate to each of the doshas.
Your strongest dosha will determine your eating habits and how you look at and consume your meals.
In order to recognize what dosha you are, you must spend quality time with yourself and get to know the real authentic you. Now you may be thinking about how you go about doing that.
There a few ways to learn how to get in touch with your dosha. Visiting an Ayurvedic doctor can help you begin to become in touch with your dosha and what to look for in discovering the proper food for you.
An Ayurvedic doctor is trained in this space and will know how to direct you but it is important to note that in America this particular type of physician may not be considered a licensed medical doctor.
America has not yet certified Ayurvedic practitioner but some Ayurvedic schools have been approved, which is a great step. It is also important to speak with your primary care physician before taking on an Ayurvedic lifestyle to see if it will be the correct fit for you.
If you do not want to seek out an Ayurvedic in person, you can still do intense research on the internet to seek out which dosha you are and what steps to take for consuming the correct food related to your dosha.
Finding your dosha is for you and no one else, just be mindful when researching this; always listen to your body.
Once you have discovered your dosha, it is time to start finding foods that will be work for you. Vata, Pitta, and Kapha each have their own food selections as well as foods to be avoided.
If you noticed before that you have a certain reaction to different foods, then you may have discovered your dosha without even realizing it.
Here are specific food selections to consume and to avoid for each of the three doshas.
- Vata Foods: Sweet fruits such as cherries or cooked apples, cooked vegetables such as broccoli, grains such as oatmeal, rice, quinoa or grits, red lentils, coriander leaves, beefs, fish, dairy products, eggs, pecans, peanuts, black pepper, vinegar, chia seeds, white wine, or sesame oil.
- Vata Foods To Avoid: Raw vegetables and apples, watermelon, corn, barley, chickpeas, potatoes, turkey, lamb, split peas, red wine, yogurt, and chocolate.
- Pitta Foods: Watermelon, raisins, black beans, almonds, beet, dry cereal, pasta, egg whites, coconut, unsalted butter, white meat chicken, dry white wine sweet or bitter vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower.
- Pitta Foods to Avoid: Avocado, apricots, spinach, pungent vegetables such as raw leeks, bread made with yeast, salted butter, sour cream, soy sauce, dark meat chicken, beef, chocolate, chili pepper, and red wine.
- Kapha Foods: Pungent and bitter vegetables such as celery, polenta, granola, astringent fruits such as applesauce and prunes, cottage cheese, buttermilk, lima beans, shrimp turkey and dry red wine.
- Kapha Foods to Avoid: Oats, pancakes, pasta, cheese, kidney beans, fish, duck, ketchup, sweet fruits, sour fruits, sweet, juicy vegetables like cucumbers and zucchini, chocolate and hard alcohol.
Some people have an interest in following an Ayurvedic lifestyle to accomplish weight loss and wellness goals. It is important to do intense research on the lifestyle and if you would be able to sustain it.
The western world is slowing grasping onto this lifestyle and there are more resources available to anyone that is interested in the subject.
Some Final Thoughts on Ayurveda and Yoga
Ayurveda and yoga are essentially one-in-the-same. Both practices aim to provide a connection of the mind, body, and spirit through movement, eating habits and behaviors.
These practices pull from different components of one another in order to mesh together, which is the beauty of it all. Some components from one always seem to spill into the other and that is not by mistake.
Ayurveda and yoga are the ultimate teachers of healing, through connection and the practice of focusing only on oneself to achieve this connection.