Origin, Ideology and Similarities of Ayurveda and Yoga
Ayurveda and yoga shastra are children of the Vedic sciences that have been united for
thousands of years for the sake of healing body, mind, and consciousness. Generally
speaking, Ayurveda deals more with the health of the physical body, while yoga deals with
purifying the mind and consciousness, but in reality they complement and embrace each
The ancient Indian rishis (seers) were the original masters of all Vedic sciences. They
understood that good health is a great asset on the path toward Self-realization. If the body
is neglected it can easily become an obstacle to spiritual practice. They were deeply
believed that. The reason is anyone who has practiced meditation for any length of time
would agree to how difficult it can be to sit still for long periods of time without feeling
discomfort and fatigue. Both yoga and Ayurveda are mutually supportive and offer many
ways to prevent and heal various disorders as well as to cleanse and rejuvenate the body.
Besides sharing a philosophical foundation, both systems have many similarities in relation
to attitude, nutrition, diet, hygiene, exercise, cleansing practices, as well as spiritual
practices. Traditionally, a student of yoga would first live close to and serve the guru for
many years, during which time he would learn healthy habits. The basic Ayurvedic principles
for health and longevity were past on in the lineage in oral form to serve as a foundation for
a life of sadhana (spiritual practice). And main thing is ancient rishis were genius for both
ayurveda and yoga shastra.
Nowadays, the teachings of yoga are easily available to all, and whether prepared or not we
can leap headlong into its practice. This has its blessings, in the sense that more people can
be turned on to the teachings, although much is often lost without the parampara, or close
guidance at the feet of an accomplished master. With this in mind, modern yoga
practitioners would most certainly benefit from a basic knowledge of Ayurveda to help
establish a healthy daily routine and adjust their practice according to the constitution,
dosha imbalance, season, and so on, to prevent disease and promote longevity.
Similarities between yoga and Ayurveda:
- Both are ancient Vedic teachings. Yoga originates in the Yajur Veda, while Ayurveda
originates in the Atharva Veda and Rig Veda.
- Both recognize that keeping the body healthy is vital for fulfilling the four aims of life:
Dharma (duty), Artha (wealth), Kama (desire), and Moksha (liberation).
- Both recognize that the balance of doshas (humors), dhatus (tissues), and malas (waste
products) is essential for maintaining good health.
- Both share virtually the same metaphysical anatomy and physiology, which consists of
72,000 nadis (subtle channels), 7 main chakras (energy centers), 5 bodily sheaths, and the
Kundalini Shakti (energy).
- Both advocate the use of diet, herbs, asana, pranayama, meditation, mantra, astrology,
prayer, puja, and rituals for healing the entire being.
- Both encourage physical health as a good foundation for mental, emotional, and spiritual
- Both share the same view on psychology. Ayurveda embraces all six of the main schools
of philosophy including the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and Vedanta (a non-dual philosophical
and spiritual path). They both understand that the attachment to the body-mind complex is
the root cause of all suffering and that the ultimate state of health is experienced when we
abide in our true nature, which is total peace, regardless of the state of the physical body.
- Both use cleansing methods for the body, all of which encourage the removal of waste
products and toxins through their natural routes of elimination. Ayurveda has panchakarma
(five cleansing actions) and yoga uses Shat Karma (six purification measures).
Ayurvedic approach to yogasana practice
The use of asana, pranayama, and meditation for healing is known as Yoga Chikitsa or Yoga
Therapy and has been used for thousands of years by Ayurvedic and yogic adepts. In Yoga
Chikitsa, a group of yogic exercises are chosen that will best support the individual and are
practiced daily. This can be done over an extended period of time in conjunction with an
Ayurvedic regime and herbal and dietary therapies. Yoga Chikitsa also plays an integral role
in the Ayurvedic cleansing and rejuvenation process known as panchakarma.
For a well balanced personal yoga practice, it is important to take into consideration the
individual’s body structure, prakruti (original constitution), and vikruti (present
constitutional imbalance). The following are general recommendations according to the
Vata predominant individuals should remember to focus on calming, grounding, stillness,
strengthening, and balancing while doing their practice.
Precautions for vata prakruti:
Vinyasa or flow styles of yoga tend to move too quickly from one pose to the next
and can aggravate the hyper-mobile quality of vata over time. Flow sequences can
be made to be more vata pacifying if they are not excessively long, the length of
time poses are held is extended, and transitions are done slowly and consciously.
Those with lower back problems may find that bending the knees in standing forward
bends can prevent discomfort.
Back bends should be done slowly, carefully and within one’s own limits.
As same as Pitta individuals should maintain calm, cool, and relaxed intention while doing
asanas. Pitta types may benefit from trying to cultivate an attitude of forgiveness, and of
surrendering or offering the fruits of their practice to the divine of to those in need of
positive healing energy. Because asana practice tends to generate heat in the body, it is
best to do them at cooling times of the day, such as dawn or dusk. Also, it is useful to place
some emphasis on poses that help to release excess heat from the body, such as poses that
compress the solar plexus and poses that open the chest like.
Kapha types tend to be sedentary and often dislike vigorous exercise. For this reason, their
practice should be energetic, warming, lightening, and stimulating, providing they are
physically capable. Vinyasa or flow style yoga is good for kapha because it is dynamic and
moves quickly from one pose to the next, it induces sweating and gets the heart pumping.
Yoga poses that address specific doshic problems can be easily added to an Ayurvedic
regime and integrated into an existing yoga routine, or they can be organized as a small
session with the help of an Ayurvedic clinician who knows each individual case well and can
help set up a well balanced program according to the needs of each client.
Ayurveda also offers Yoga Chikitsa, or Yoga Therapy, for specific doshic disorders. It is
advised to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner for an individualized regime.
Ayurvedic Approach to Pranayama (breathing techniques)
The ultimate goal of pranayama is to calm the mind and prepare it for meditation. It also
has a therapeutic effect on the physical body as well. It is not essential to do a pranayama
practice according to dosha, but knowing its effects on the body is a valuable tool for
Vata: Kriya Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga and other structured techniques help to keep
vata stabilized and focused.
Pitta: Jnana Yoga and Vedanta are good for pitta types because they often have
sharp intellects and have a keen interest in self-study (Atma-vichara).
Kapha: Bhakti yoga is natural for kapha types because they are often loving and
devotional by nature.
Ayurvedic and Yogic Diet
Ayurveda is more concerned with food being constitutionally balanced, while Yoga promotes
a diet that is sattwic (light and pure). A combination of both aspects is the best choice for a
yogi or anyone wanting to make real progress on a spiritual path.
According to dosha.
Primarily vegetarian (meat is used as medicine, mainly for extreme deficiencies).
Primarily cooked (raw food in moderation, especially for vata types).
Containing six tastes.
Sattwic vegetarian diet.
Easy to digest.
Simple meals (to limit desire).
Both cooked and raw.
Foods recommended in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika consist of rejuvenating substances
such as wheat, whole grain, white basmati, corn, raw milk, raw sugar, butter, ghee,
honey, dried ginger, mung beans, pure water, vegetables.
Fruits, roots and nuts.
Avoiding excessive hot, sour, salty, fermented, and fried foods.
Avoiding tamasic (dulling) foods like meat, onions, garlic and mushrooms as a
regular part of the daily diet.