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Ayurveda, Spirituality and Meditation


Ayurveda, Spirituality and Meditation

Ayurveda, the traditional healing system of India, is often looked at as a way of optimizing the functioning of the body. Ayurveda is capable of assisting in the healing of many conditions as well as extending life itself. The knowledge of Ayurveda has its roots in the Vedas, the sacred texts of India from which many spiritual philosophies and religions have sprung. These include Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Yoga and others. It is a science not only of the physical body, but it goes beyond into the understanding of consciousness itself.

Ayurveda's sister, Yoga, is quite well known for its physical stretching exercises. Yoga is actually much more than this--it is a complete science and philosophy leading to enlightenment. Likewise, Ayurveda is much more than a science of understanding what foods are right for you. It is a science of using health as the basis of one’s journey toward enlightenment. In fact, Ayurveda and Yoga are two sides of one coin. Ayurveda keeps the physical body healthy so that one can pursue spiritual goals, while yoga is the path of spirituality. Ayurveda is not a religion any more than yoga is a religion. They are spiritual sciences applicable to one’s journey regardless of religious faith. Both sciences support a person on their journey toward self-realization or the direct knowing of their nature as spirit or soul. Scriptural study, whether it comes from the East or West, illuminates this journey.

Start with the doshas. The doshas are Ayurveda’s way to explain different energies and influences that explain all of creation, ourselves included. If you’re already familiar with the three doshas, you know they are called vata, pitta, and kapha.

Each dosha embodies a combination of natural elements (earth, water, fire, air, ether) and qualities (like warm, cold, soft, hard, and so on) to create a functional entity—an energetic force of nature.

All three doshas are present in every person, but the proportions of each varies from one person to the next. This means that you have a unique combination of these three doshas that stays constant throughout your life and serves as a sort of blueprint for your health. This blueprint is sometimes referred to as your constitution, or your Ayurvedic body type. When you are in balance, healthy, and well, you match your blueprint.

Determining your Ayurvedic body type is the key to finding your optimal state of balanced, natural health—and not just the absence of illness, but that state in which you holistically experience a feeling of wellness, vitality, vibrancy. Even bliss. Your Ayurvedic body type offers insight into what being in balance uniquely means to you, as well as what you need to do to recalibrate when you go out of balance. Ayurveda guides us through this process, helping us learn our greatest strengths along with our biggest challenges—and what to do about them.

As we explore Ayurveda, we in turn discover ourselves, gaining a deeper understanding of our truest nature. Once you understand the doshas, it is impossible not to see them everywhere and in everything, especially in yourself. At that point, applying this knowledge to daily life comes naturally. If you’re looking for a solution that takes the guesswork out of determining your Ayurvedic body type, Banyan Botanicals offers a free and deeply comprehensive dosha quiz. You receive information about your body type and are able to create your own Ayurvedic profile, full of resources to help you on your journey toward balance.

Ayurvedic and yogic practices bring us peace, not highs. They sustain us; they do not burn us out. Yet to get to this place, one must go through the fire of awakening our self awareness. This process is honest and not always pleasurable. With honesty about ourselves at first there is discomfort and pain, so we move away from it. We drop those practices which, though difficult, lead to harmony and light because the light hurts our eyes. So how do we go about creating harmony? How do we become successful travelers on our journey? As an ancient, yet timeless holistic healing modality, Ayurveda offers us the ways to attain the health and vibrancy we’re seeking. I wish you well on your journey of self-discovery!

Spiritual therapies to atone for such previous actions and negate them are also part of the remedial measures in spiritual Ayurveda.

A complete Traditional Ayurveda thus seeks to restore all of these ‘lost’ or rather ignored aspects of Ayurveda in an integrative manner. It seeks to bring them in in their totality, not just as karma in general – but consider the specifics as mentioned in the classical texts, as also including the sciences of dreams, omens etc. that were included as part of the sciences of predictive and medical astrology. As we begin to integrate more Yoga with Ayurveda and again start to marry the two together, an awareness of the karmic implications are beginning to resurface, but so far, it still remains mainly in Yogic-based Ayurvedic circles, not in the mainstream of Ayurveda at large, which is still portrayed as a mainly a Spa and Wellness system. Keeping this in mind, by returning to the spiritual source, we can begin to contemplate a more organic and Integral Ayurveda for the future and help restore the ancient traditional aspects of Ayurveda that are often lost and remember the karmic implications behind disease and how to work with them! [ Excerpted from my book, “Karma in Yoga and Ayurveda” ]

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