Ayurveda is a complex and ancient system of well-being, and just as Western medicine is based on biology and other sciences that can take a lifetime to understand, Ayurveda has many foundational concepts and tenets that you can explore and deepen your understanding of for years and years.
For our purposes, there are some basic principles that we’ll start with, so you have a clearer grasp of Ayurveda’s view of the universe—both macro and micro—and our relationship to it and each other. These basic tenets of Ayurveda are really a jumping off point both for beginning to introduce Ayurvedic ideas into your everyday life and for further study, should you wish to do so, of the deeper philosophies of Ayurveda.
If you have a yoga practice, you can also look at this Ayurvedic foundation as a way to deepen that practice. The mat-based poses many of us would refer to as “yoga” encompass just the tip of the iceberg that is the broader Vedic tradition. A part of this breadth is Ayurveda, yoga’s forgotten, but incredibly important sister science.
Think of yoga and Ayurveda as two interrelated branches of the same massive tree of Vedic knowledge, each playing its own role in your journey towards health, happiness and vitality. While yoga typically deals with the use of techniques such as asana (postures), mantras (sacred transformational sounds), and pranayama (the management of energy), Ayurveda deals with reducing disease and healing the body and mind.
Yoga supports your health, and living an Ayurvedic lifestyle supports your spiritual journey. While yoga supports healing, it is the ancient art of Ayurveda that teaches us how to heal.
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Photos by Naomi Huober