Updated: Dec 9, 2020
Ayurveda – sister science of yoga part 1
Ayurveda has been of interest to me for a long time, and I studied in India as much as I could about it. It is often regarded as the sister science of yoga.
I am happy to introduce you to a series of little blogs about Ayurveda, that is, I will intend to write about, what is dharma, what is your constitution, which exercise is the best for you, what foods should you avoid, eat, and what else can you do to bring yourself into equilibrium? Ayurveda translates as the longevity of life. It is one of the world's oldest holistic healing systems, which goes back about 5000 years.
What is Dharma?
Dharma is natural law, the law of truth that governs the universe, that which upholds things, a fundamental principle, that keeps all things in harmony. In Buddhism, it is the natural way of enlightenment. In Yoga, the dharmic spiritual laws are self – realization, to transform consciousness from ignorance to enlightenment.
Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, gives us the holistic medicine or remedy to fulfil the order, path, or karma that we face in our life. The supreme dharmic principle is Ahimsa. Ahimsa is not only violent acts but also violent speech and even thoughts that we harbour. We learn how to put the energy of love in all we do. Good Health to live a life that can achieve its dharma.
Ahimsa is not passivity but sometimes requires action or being a defender of dharma. The overall inspiring aim is for all is to suffer less, and find happiness, to be free of disease.
A nice mantra to chant to remind ourselves that we are this universal love is “Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.”
“May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”
We can use our yoga practice to uncover our authentic purpose. Maybe we start to ask questions, such as "What is our life purpose?" This is when we start to take Yoga off the mat. A fundamental question, humans, ask all the time is “What’s next?” – “How can we manage our downs and challenges in life?” Yoga invites us to create an inner joy and contentment that can master many challenges.
According to Vedic principles, four desires exist, and even thus, we do not have complete control, we can shape our destiny according to how we react to challenges in life. That life is full of challenges is without a doubt. The more we re-align with our dharma, the happier we get. It is believed in yoga philosophy (not in all traditions and there is no reason you have to believe in a higher soul or even a soul) that there is a higher soul, called Paratma - higher soul or divinity, the absolute and each of us contains a jivatma (individual soul – each with unique characteristics). Within the great plan, the more we align with our dharma, the more our planet is in harmony (MAHAT – THE GREAT).
Please note that this springs out of the Samkhya philosophy, and by no means does this reflect what Yoga is. The meaning and goal of Yoga can change according to different traditions, and for those not believing in any souls or divinity, Yoga can also be practised. Many traditional scriptures on Hatha Yoga come from a Buddhist tantra tradition.
The Bhagavad Gita comes from the Vedic tradition, and here Yoga and Ayurveda arose out of a specific philosophical background, that is Samkhya. So does the Gita advice “it is better to do your dharma badly than try to do somebody else’s” – which implies to me that to stay true to your dharma means not to look right or left and feel that we have to copy the life of others. This would not be our authentic being and make us happy in the long term. Let us not confuse our purpose with our profession! We use our life to learn as much as we can. Just because we have chosen or were lucky to be able to choose the path of being a yoga teacher does not mean we live our dharma. We often forget that many of us live a privileged life and circumstances, such as, the help of parents, who we marry or our partner is, influences a lot of the choices we can take, or sometimes even forced to take.
For you to investigate your dharma to live a more fulfilled life, you will have to be secure. You will have to have the privilege to have your basic income secured. You are even luckier if your basic emotions are also fulfilled before you embark on any deeper investigation of yourself. This does not mean that you cannot progress with a low income; it simply means that you may have to ensure that you secure yourself first. Some lessons from the Gita are that there are pleasant desires, but they are not necessarily helpful and some that are not necessarily pleasant, but exactly those might be leading to us living a more fulfilled life in the long term. So, for example, the commitment to do something for your health and well-being needs some discipline, which in the short term may feel unpleasant, but in the long term, the benefits will be clear. We often encounter obstacles to fulfil our life because we are labelling ourselves or have pre-conceived ideas of ourselves or other people.
We condition ourselves to think, speak, and act in certain ways; however, we can break this!
Let us imagine we have low esteem; this is only a label and a belief that we have. We can overcome labels! If you have a deep desire, you will get there. All you must do is to be able to listen to yourself and tune into your innate desires.
Here are a few questions for you to consider thinking about:
How do you respond to the question of what is next? Think of a time in your life where you were at your highest, most positive expression, best, the conditions were good, not necessarily perfect. You felt you were thriving amid maybe even challenges?
Reflect when you were thriving amid challenges (spiritual, emotional) unique time. You were meeting this present moment in the best possible way you could. Unique qualities! What did you overcome? What did you find yourself stepping into? Can you recall a certain innate power?
Which lessons have you already completed/learned? Feeling that you are not back where you were five years or ten years ago. Are you now free from it? You do not have to repeat it? What do you embody? And as a result, you live differently?
What are you still learning? What keeps circling up and you have not embodied yet? What do you still struggle with?
Our yoga teacher training talks about Ayurveda, the traditional healing system and how to adjust your exercise, diet and lifestyle.