As a holistic health practitioner, I believe in the power of integrating various modalities, including Ayurveda and yoga, to provide comprehensive support to my clients. Ayurveda and yoga are two ancient practices that have been used for thousands of years to promote health and wellness. When used in combination with Western nutrition and therapies, they can enhance the overall wellbeing of an individual, addressing not just physical ailments but also mental and emotional imbalances.
In this article, we will explore how Ayurveda and yoga can work together to support you on your healing journey for both your mental and physical health. We will also go over a brief case study of how these methods can work, along with a few practical tips and tricks that you can start implementing today. So, let’s get started!
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a system of medicine that originated in India thousands of years ago. It focuses on the balance between body, mind, and spirit and aims to promote health by maintaining each individual’s unique state or constitution, called their prakriti in Sanskrit.
One of the fundamental principles of Ayurveda is the concept of the doshas, which are the three energies that govern the body, known as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. The doshas define your prakriti, and each person has a unique combination of these three energies. Understanding an individual’s dosha is the first step to determining the most suitable diet, lifestyle, and treatment plan for them.
Throughout life, your doshas can go out of balance, resulting in a state called your vikriti. When your current state is different from your foundational state, this is called imbalance. The process of Ayurvedic healing is to gradually work to bring your current state back in line with your original state or to bring your vikriti to match your prakriti.
What is Yoga?
On the other hand, yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice with the primary aim of facilitating spiritual awakening or enlightenment. Yoga practice involves different postures, breathing techniques, and meditation to promote physical and mental wellness. Yoga can improve flexibility, strength, and balance and can also reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
Traditionally, yoga is a practice aimed at balancing the mind and uncovering the inner Self or soul that resides within each of us. As we get in touch with our true inner Self, we also get in touch with the supreme consciousness, realizing that we are one with everything around us.
How Do Ayurveda and Yoga Work Together?
When used in conjunction with Western therapies, Ayurveda and Yoga can provide comprehensive treatment for various health conditions. Ayurveda works on the physical and mental layers, helping to bring your energies into balance. Yoga also works on these layers of the Self, but it goes even deeper into your energetic body and spirit to access your innate healing capacity within.
Yoga and Ayurveda can work together through this dual approach to support your entire being. For instance, a client with anxiety may benefit from a combination of Western psychotherapy, herbal medicines, and yoga practices, which can help them reduce stress and improve their mental health. Similarly, a client with a digestive issue may benefit from an Ayurvedic diet, lifestyle, herbal remedies, and Western nutrition guidelines. This multifaceted treatment approach truly gets to the root of your mental and physical health issues and provides deep healing from within.
Case Studies of Ayurveda and Yoga Combined
I have seen several clients benefit from Ayurveda and yoga practices in conjunction with Western medicine. One of my clients, who had been struggling with chronic pain, found relief after incorporating the Ayurvedic treatments of Abhyanga massage, herbal medicines, nutrition for her doshas, and an Ayurvedic daily routine or dinacharya. Another client, who was experiencing anxiety and insomnia, found that practicing yoga and pranayama helped them sleep better and feel more relaxed, along with a combination of calming herbal treatments and nutrition changes.
The critical aspect to remember is that it often is not ONE thing that solves these issues. Western medicine has pushed our healthcare system to constantly search for the “miracle cure” or the “silver bullet.” But true holistic healing recognizes that it is not only one thing that results in transformation; it is all our small, everyday decisions. As we make these small decisions and shifts, they gradually begin to add up, resulting in a profound level of healing and transformation.
5 Ways to Incorporate Ayurveda and Yoga Into Your Healing Journey
1. Start with the Breath in Yoga
The first step to any journey incorporating Ayurveda and yoga is to tune into your breath. The rate, pace, depth, temperature, and quality of your breath are crucial indicators of your current mental and physical state. When we are stressed or anxious, our breath becomes rapid and shallow. Whereas when we are calm and relaxed, the breath becomes long and deep, promoting a shift in the nervous system towards a healing state. By simply bringing your awareness to your breath in the present moment, you can tune into your current condition and gradually begin to shift it towards healing by slowing down and deepening your breath.
2. Tune Into Your Sensations with Yoga Therapy
The sensations in your body are vital to connecting with your inner voice and intuition. Our bodies are constantly speaking to us, telling us what is wrong and giving us insights into how we can change things. But how often do we listen? Take a moment each morning and evening to connect to your body, notice what you are feeling without any judgment, and begin to track these sensations. Your body will tell you precisely what you need to do next.
3. Choose Your Food Wisely with Ayurvedic Nutrition
Ayurveda is a healing practice that goes beyond treatments from a doctor and explores how you live, eat, breathe, and be. What you eat, you become. Making conscious choices about your food is possibly the most important thing you can do to support your healing process. An excellent place to start is simply by increasing the fruits and veggies in your diet. But on a deeper level, Ayurveda provides guidance for how you can adjust your diet to balance your doshas by understanding the energetics of different foods. Consulting with an Ayurvedic practitioner can give you insight into the state of your doshas and what foods are best for your current state.
4. Create a Daily Ayurvedic Routine
Ayurveda and yoga center on the concept of consistency and routine. Doing these practices one time does not have the same effect as doing these practices daily. Even starting with just a 5-minute routine can be a fantastic step toward healing. The key is consistency and starting with a routine that you find easy and manageable. A great way to begin building your daily routine is starting with one 5-minute practice every morning. Some popular practices to start with are morning meditation, walking, drinking warm water with lemon, scraping your tongue, or doing a massage or abhyanga. Choose a practice that excites you and start to make a consistent effort to incorporate it into your daily morning routine.
5. Explore the Power of Ayurvedic Herbal Medicines
Ayurveda recognizes that there are some things that your mind and spirit simply cannot manage alone. That is when herbs can be a powerful ally on your path to healing. With the guidance of a trained Ayurvedic practitioner, you can discover the right herbal formula to support your healing process. Herbs are an excellent addition to any mental and physical health healing protocol because they gently help your system towards balance while going into deeper levels of your energetic body without any of the side effects of conventional medicines.
Ready to Combine Yoga and Ayurveda? Work With an Ayurvedic Practitioner and Yoga Therapist Online
Ayurveda and yoga are powerful practices that can be used in combination with Western therapies to promote holistic health and well-being. By incorporating these ancient practices into our modern lives, we can achieve optimal physical, mental, and emotional health. This can be a long and challenging process to true healing, but it is a journey that has the potential to radically change your life!
You don’t need to go through this process alone. Are you curious about working with a holistic health practitioner to achieve your own optimal health and wellbeing? I am here to support you on this exciting path to deep inner healing with the power of yoga and Ayurveda. Reach out to schedule a free consultation with me today!