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Yoga & Ayurveda: holistic health - mind body spirit connection


Yoga & Ayurveda: holistic health - mind body spirit connection

The Yogic viewpoint is: that the mind and body are connected as one composite unit along with the spirit to work as an entity. The human is the only being blessed with a capability to be conscious of its consciousness and create a connection with the soul spirit. The psychophysiological practices of the Yogic system have a very specific purpose: identification of and unification with the soul to eventually find liberation from the cycles of rebirth.

While it is a good start to begin an understanding of yoga at the physical level, we tend to start with the very limited angle of western science in the understanding of functions of the body systems. Western science has only recently discovered the mesentery, fascia and the interstitium. While the ancient seers had an empirical approach, modern science is yet fumbling around in experimental analysis and objectivity. It has a long way yet to evolve to the fine science of the yogic concept of physiology that comes from introspective and subjective experience as well as the rounded subject of ancient anatomy: the Sushruta Samhita 3:17 specifically mentions that the anatomical descriptions within are applicable for students of both Ayurveda and yoga. Students of yoga today are taught to take the route of scientific validation to unravel the mystery of time tested and sound eastern practices. Even though some of the ancient yogic concepts resemble modern science concepts in their basic form, they need to be understood in their own merit without seeking the reflection of the modern science concepts.

Yogic study of physiology takes a holistic view: the five gross elements(mahabhoota) & the subtle elements(tanmatra); the five koshas(sheaths); five pranas(vital air-life force) & five sub pranas; the 72,000 nadis/pranic energy channels; the seven major chakras/plexus (some texts say more); the granthis(knots); the Marma(junction of nerve/muscle/tendon/ligament) and the kundalini energy are all contained within and beyond the physical body. The human form is an embodiment of the soul that is imprinted with its karmas from present and past lives as samskara(subtle impressions): (refer Patanjali yoga sutras 2:10 to 2:25 which describe the connection). Samskara manifest into vritti(thought waves of the mind) and Vasna-trushna(desires/cravings) to reflect in present reality. Yogically, vrittis refer to different tendencies, or psycho-physical propensities, which give scope for the mind to express a variety of feelings and emotions. Karma manifest in the physical body as they are stored in the causal and astral body. Vritti are based locationally at the various parts of the body. The seat of the vritti of love/Mamta, is the heart; the seat of the vritti of fear/bhaya is the stomach. All affliction is psychosomatic as the mind acts upon the body and body upon the mind. Yoga goes to the root cause with a bilateral and dual(use of Ayurveda) approach 1) to holistically act upon the physical level to the bliss sheath by the use of asana, step wise shuddhi kriya, and application of Ayurveda; and vice versa 2) from the outermost bliss sheath towards the innermost physical sheath with inner practices like trataka and meditation. Ayurveda practice of Abhyanga(oil massage) helps in spiritual pursuits as the body energy is made to flow.

Ayurveda follows the concept of Dinacharya( daily routine) which says that natural cycles (waking, sleeping, working, meditation etc.) are important for health. Dincharya includes everyday hygiene like regular bathing, cleaning of teeth, skin care, eye washing as central practices. Seasonal regimen of ritucharya is also recommended: note that the current Nipah virus has reared up during the latest Ritusandhi(change phase of the two weeks between seasons), just as had the swine flu and bird flu viruses? By observing ourselves as life forms affected by the natural cycles of the sun, moon, planets and stars: we literally take a complete 360 degree view on our health as cues from the universe. With an understanding of these cues, we gain wisdom and develop intuition into our inner well-being and create vitality at all levels- emotional, physical, mental and spiritual.

ॐ सर्वेभवन्तुसुखिनः। 

Om, Sarve bhavantu sukhinaḥ / May all be prosperous and happy


Sarve santu nirāmayāḥ / May all be free from illness


Sarve bhadrāṇi paśyantu / May all see what is spiritually uplifting


Mā kashchit duḥkha bhāgbhavet / May no one suffer

ॐशान्तिःशान्तिःशान्तिः॥ Oṁ Shāntiḥ, Shāntiḥ, Shāntiḥ / Om peace, peace, peace



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Sunday, 21 April 2024