Yoga is one of the most popular workout regime in recent times. With its origin in India, the word yoga is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘To unite’. In simple words, I would say yoga is the union of the self and the spirit.
Due to an increase in popularity worldwide, June 21st is celebrated as International Yoga day.
The idea of International Day of Yoga was first proposed by the current Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, during his speech at the UNGA, on 27 September 2014.
During the month of June and as we celebrate the International Day of Yoga, I would like to share a few facts on yoga, its relationship with Ayurveda, and my journey with these two sciences.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient physical and spiritual discipline and branch of philosophy that originated in India reportedly more than 5,000 years ago. The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yuj, which means to yoke, join, or unite.
The earliest written record of yoga, and one of the oldest texts in existence, is generally believed to have been written by Patanjali, an Indian yogic sage who lived somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500 years ago.
What Are the Benefits of Yoga?
The benefits of yoga are innumerable. It constitutes Asanas, or postures, Pranayama, or breathing exercises, and focused concentration to unite the body, mind, and spirit together.
It helps to achieve increased flexibility, strength, balance and stamina of the body, and prevention of joint pain and tenderness. These are just the benefits on the body. In addition, it helps in stress reduction, provides better sleep patterns, improved self-confidence, and alignment of your body with mind.
Also, there are specific yoga postures advised for most of the diseases and in pregnancy and postpartum.
Relationship Between Yoga and Ayurveda
Both of these sciences, which have their origin in the Vedic texts, address health and wellness practices. If Ayurveda is the healing aspect, yoga is the spiritual/practical side of the Vedic teachings.
The teachings of Ayurveda are mainly for the achievement of ‘Purusharthas’ – Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Dharma means righteousness or duty, Artha means wealth, Kama means desire, and Moksha means liberation. An individual can realize him or herself by balancing and fulfilling these four objectives. In this, the Moksha or ultimate liberation and identification of self can be achieved by the practice of yoga.
Understanding the body constitution, which is the prime diagnosis tool of Ayurveda, can be utilized to identify the correct yoga according to individual. Though all yogis are not familiar with the sister science Ayurveda, all Ayurveda practitioners will know the basics of yoga.
Photo by Arya Krishna
My Experience with Yoga and Ayurveda
I was introduced to Ayurveda under the guidance and prayers of Satguru Mata Amritanandamayi in Amrita School of Ayurveda, Kerala, India. Ours was a Bachelors in Ayurveda Medicine and Surgery Course, for a duration of five years which has the yoga education for 18 months’ time.
I still remember my first yoga class. It was on Surya Namaskara or Sun Salutations. And the class was given by Swami Dayalu. From that day my relationship with yoga was truly divine. I was a trained classical dancer from the age of four and the knowledge of classical Bharatanatyam dance helped me in doing the yoga poses with flexibility.
During my pregnancy and post-partum, I practiced yoga. I tried to incorporate yoga and Indian classical dance to form Nritya Yoga, or the Yogic dance.
As an Ayurveda practitioner and yoga practitioner I would like to say yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice which can help you deal with almost all the diseases of body and mind. It can be done in a curative aspect. But, remember to practice and perform yoga under the guidance of a knowledgeable person.
The International Yoga Day was declared unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly or UNGA. Practice and spread this divine science.