WHY SHOULD WE MAKE YOGA AND AYURVEDA PART OF OUR DAILY LIFESTYLE?
We have recently celebrated International Yoga Day. Yoga is the universal ritual of exercise and meditation from India, which has transformed so many lives worldwide.
Did you know that 177 countries celebrate and practice Yoga for their nations health and wellbeing?
A quote from the Indian Prime minister Mr Narendra Modi who put forward the motion that the global community should acknowledge the importance of “Yoga as a precious asset of Indian Civilization”.
He also expressed that, “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and wellbeing. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help in wellbeing. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.”
International Yoga Day was adopted and 21st June was officially declared as International Day of Yoga!
Thus, global history was made when the largest Yoga class took place on the occasion of the first International Yoga Day on 21 June 2015, where thousands of people participated.
The International Day was set for the first time and international recognition of Yoga as an Indian Tradition was established.
Now, that we have covered the history behind international yoga day, let us have a look at how Yoga, Ayurveda and Wellbeing are connected.
What is Yoga?
Yoga means “to join” the soul to the Creator. It is derived from the Sanskrit root “Yuj” – to join. It can also mean to join, higher mind or universal intelligence.
Actually, the correct name is Ashtanga Yoga as given by Patanjali rishi and taught by the two famous modern teachers B K S Lyenger and Swami Shivananda. You will find authentic details of Yoga and Pranayama in the book Light on Pranayama by BKS Lyenger.
Yoga is thought to have originated in the foothills of the Himalayas more than 6000 years ago, and is said to have been revealed by Lord Shiva who is called the Adi yogi -the original yogi.
Yoga then flourished as a traditional ritual as part of many religions, and later as a health science and practice for spiritual uplift.
It is a unique ritual for personal spiritual upliftment and longevity, using natural techniques of physical exercise called Yogasana, breathing techniques called Pranayam and mental and Spiritual calming technique called Dhyan- meditation.
The ancient Indian Sage Patanjali Yogi is acknowledged as the Father of Modern Yoga as he formalised and documented the systematic treatise on Yoga called Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra , laying down each section in a coherent and rational format sometime around 200-300 BC or earlier.
Some ancient texts mention Rishi Patanjali as a contemporary of Lord Charak, the father of modern Ayurveda, just around the time of Lord Budha or before.
Yoga practice became an Integral part of many of the religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism for several thousand years.
It kept changing and developing with time and came to the Western world in the 19th century. Swami Vivekananda was probably the first ambassador of Yoga who travelled to Europe and then the USA as a yoga teacher and brought awareness of the real Hindu philosophy of Sanatan Dharma – universal Religion.
How can Yoga help your wellbeing?
Yoga helps us to calm our mind, improve our mental function and mood, create a positive feeling in us, help us meditate, breathe better, improve our general wellbeing, prevent disease, improve the functioning of our inner organs, and most importantly enhance our immunity to prevent and fight infections.
Yoga can help you stay motivated at home and adopt a healthy lifestyle by doing yoga exercise, breathing and meditation without having to go to the gym or out to do exercise! Yoga also recommends going out in the fresh air and do walking, running, or yogasana exercises in natural surroundings, open air, parks, or by the sea as fresh clean air full of oxygen helps your body to be healthy.
So many people are suffering from anxiety and depression, gaining weight due to overeating and lack of motivation to do exercise.
Well, here is an easy way to prevent yourself from going into a downward spiral and picking yourself up with self-motivation.
The theme “Yoga for wellbeing” for the International Yoga Day 2021 is so relevant for all of us, as people round the world try to cope with the psychological, physical and emotional impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown which is still affecting many lives in many countries.
How does Yoga and Meditation improve your wellbeing?
Scientific and clinical studies clearly show that Yoga, meditation, and Pranayama breathing improves our immune system by making healthy white blood cells, improving the neuro-hormonal function.
You can improve your positive mood with this ritual as it calms the mind and triggers the brain to produce neurotransmitters like serotonin, which are the happy molecules in the brain. This helps us out of depression and anxiety.
Meditation has been shown to slow down the heart rate and the breathing thereby helping lower blood pressure.
By practicing this ritual of proper breathing not only relieves anxiety, but also regulates your breathing and heart rate, thus normalising you blood pressure.
Clinical studies have shown that meditation changes the structure of the brain to be more calm and conscious and the electric wave patterns in the brain from beta - active agitation to theta or delta waves - a calm sleep like state which promotes healing in the body, mind and emotions.
Hatha Yoga Pradipika, a classic fifteenth-century text authored by Swami Svatmarama – considered to be the most influential text on Hatha Yoga, in verse 29 of chapter 4 defines the link between the body, mind and breath as:
Which Ayurvedic herbs can help you enhance the benefits of Yoga for your wellbeing?
The most widely prescribed rejuvenators in Ayurveda are:
Ashwagandha, Amla and Pipli – long pepper enhance the immune system.
Ashwaganhda and Brahmi are stress adaptogens which protect the brain against the harmful effects of stress ,anxiety and depression.
Herbal infusions are very popular in Ayurveda and using herbs like Brahmi, Tulsi, Chamomile, Lemon verbena and Ginger can help maintain our mind health.
The most powerful tonic for staying healthy and maintaining our resistance to infection is Chyawanprash- made from Amla – fresh Indian Gooseberry and 26 rejuvenating herbs which include immunity boosters and herbs that help with respiration and healthy lungs.
Ever wondered how yoga is connected with Ayurveda?
Yoga is a most powerful natural way to look after our wellbeing. Yoga is also an integral part of Ayurveda – the traditional Indian medicine and Natural science of living a healthy fulfilling life.
The aim of Yoga is to maintain a healthy body so we can meditate and achieve spiritual enlightenment.
The aim of Ayurveda is to live 100 years of healthy life with the right diet, lifestyle and herbs, to prevent illness, but also to treat illness with natural means. Both sciences help us to live longer and healthier and live a fulfilling life!
How does Ayurveda explain Yoga as the essential practice to maintain wellbeing in mind, body and spirit ?
The Sloka from Charak Samhita says: ( abbreviated sloka)
Atmasye mansi sthire - When you still your mind in your Soul by meditation
Vishtwam ch upajayate sa sharirasya - A supernatural power is generated inside your body, which heals your body and mind, and creates wellbeing
Yoga gnastam, yogam rishiyo vidu hu!” That is described as Yoga by our Yoga Rishis/Sage!
So ultimately, we realise that doing Meditation and Yoga is the vital ritual to maintain equanimity, poise and wellbeing in mind, body, motions and spirit. This allows us to enjoy life and gives us positive strength to cope with difficult situations in life on a daily basis.
Why Yoga and Ayurveda?
Ashtanga Yoga gives us the techniques like wholesome thinking, personal and social discipline, simple yet powerful exercise postures- Asanas, breathing techniques like Pranayam, and explains meditation rituals.
Ayurveda gives us the science of holistic health and is the overarching science which offers clear advice on natural ways to understand and maintain our inner body equilibrium called the Doshas.
Ayurveda offers a store house of useful herbs to heal us, improve digestion, detoxify our body, strengthen our mind, delay ageing, and build our immune system.
When practised together, Yoga and Ayurveda provide us with a powerful shield of protection against illness, and a simple system for our wellbeing and longevity.
How dose Ayurveda work?
Ayurveda teaches us a life of Balance. We can learn to understand our body better if we understand our unique body type- Prakriti and transform our healthy wellbeing by modifying our diet- Ahar , lifestyle- Vihar how to modify our diet according to or body types.
We can easily learn correct rituals to remain healthy and happy, prevent disease, remove toxic waste build up in our body on a daily basis, be youthful and delay ageing.
Ayurveda offers a complete authentic natural medicine which has developed over more than 5000 years in the subcontinent of India. Today we want to share with you the common Ayurvedic herbs which people are using with great benefit to their daily wellbeing.
Ayurveda is a treasure trove of wonderful safe and effective herbs and mineral preparations which work as gentle yet powerful healers, rejuvenators, revitalisers, detoxifiers and aphrodisiacs!
Here are some Ayurvedic herbs you could try in your daily wellbeing routine:
Ashwagandha: Withania Somnifera- is called Medhya Rasayan- Rejuvenator of higher consciousness an aphrodisiac and immunity booster.
As Ashwagandha strengthens the brain chemistry and brain cells, it helps revive and calm down from stress. Ashwagandha is said to stimulate energy production and increase libido and sexual health in both men and women.
Brahmi: Bacopa Monierri: Another Medhya Rasayan – The word Brahmi denotes an enhanced awareness of higher consciousness. Practically, Brahmi has been shown to help memory and concentration, relieve anxiety, improve learning and help sleep.
Shatavari: Asparagus Racemosus: Is a general Rasayan rejuvenator which cools the body down, soothing, and healing the tissues . It is also considered to improve reproductive and sexual health.
Amla: Indian Gooseberry- are the richest source of Vitamin C, fibre, and Gallic acid – a polyphenol antioxidant which helps clear free radicals in the body, thereby helping prevent diseases like heart disease, cholesterol and skin problems.
Trifala: Three myrobalan fruit berries are shown to cleanse our body with the rich antioxidant nutrients.
Turmeric: Curcuma longa is now a popular health supplement, which is extensively recommended in Ayurveda as a multi-function healing agent as one of the richest sources of antioxidants called curcuminoids.
According to Ayurveda it is a natural anti-viral and anti-inflammatory with miraculous healing powers.
Chyawanprash: Amla Indian gooseberry preserve: It is said that the ancient Ayurvedic Celestial physicians made this formula for an old sage Chavan and revived his youthfulness!
The amla and other herbs in Chyawanprash are used for preventing and treating respiratory infections, warding off infections, delaying ageing process and healing the tissues after infection.
Tulsi Holy basil: Is called holy because of its multiple miraculous healing powers – to soothe emotions, calm the mind, fight viral infections, improve breathing and heal the skin!
Taking these simple herbs as part of your daily ritual with yoga, breathing and meditation can provide you with regular protection and wellbeing!
Ever wondered how you could start doing Yoga, Pranayam and Meditation?
Everyone can start learning simple yoga postures to start with. While You need to practice Yoga properly, it can be fun to start at home with the family.
Young children as old as 2 years specially love to show off the simple postures!
This can motivate parents to do it with them.
Once you have learned some basic postures like Surya Namaskar- sun salute which is a combination of 12 postures, Padmasan-Lotus position for meditation and breathing ritual, and shavasana or corpse pose for relaxing the mind and body as a run up to good peaceful sleep, you are on your way to wellbeing!
Practising your daily ritual of Yoga asana, Pranayam breathing and meditation daily, taking Ashwagandha-Brahmi Rasayan and Chyawanprash and doing a daily massage with Mahanarayan oil will keep you living a happy, healthy and joyful life!
If you follow our tips above, you will remain positive, maintain your wellbeing and enjoy a positive energy with enhanced immunity.