It was a huge surprise to me that during my two month stay at an ashram in India I was strongly confronted with Ayurveda. Maybe this is a little bit short-sighted given we all should ‘know’ that the two go hand in hand, but I had not yet understood in my own experience the relationship between yoga and ayurveda. I was on a yoga vacation of a sort so my mind was wrapped around yoga. My daily schedule was full of yogasana, pranayama and meditation but heavily focused on yogasana.  I was there to explore yoga in a deeper way and I expected to learn some great truths about yoga. But what I actually got were some big truths about Ayurveda and it’s relationship to yoga.

What I learned were things that Ayurveda professionals had been saying to me for so long. Things that I had read and known in some sense to be true. I just hadn’t really experienced these truths as my own so they never really settled in until this trip. Shortly after I arrived home I called my practitioner and said, ‘I’ve got it.’

Here’s what I encountered on my journey:

You must bring balance to the doshas if you want to move on from wherever you are.
I have often felt like I was dancing between experiencing yoga and treating the doshas. Yoga practice breaks boundaries and clears the way. Doshas are like markers that indicate how we’ve treated ourselves and where we’ve been. Sure our health will always fluctuate to some degree just as the weather changes but if we are out of balance, we should do the right things to take care of ourselves and bring balance to our system. Only this will allow us to surely step forward.

Yoga and Ayurveda are truly intertwined.
The past few years the two disciplines have actually seemed at odds to me despite what the texts say. My mind likes to see things in black and white. My experience with yoga is that it allows one to push forward into new dimensions and break free of old patterns. Ayurveda gently deals with these old patterns and their residue by encouraging proper eating, appropriate lifestyle habits and the use of herbs. Two very different approaches. At the ashram however recognizing the five elements and the doshas was a part of daily life. Both avenues seemed to be happening everywhere: barriers were breaking and doshas (imbalances, impurities) were manifesting. Now I could see the grey area and experience the dance between the two.

The lifestyle principles set forth by Ayurveda have a profound impact on our well being. 
What do you do when you wake up everyday? How do you care for yourself? How are you neglecting yourself? The actions we take on a daily basis are profoundly affecting our health. It may take some awareness or maybe some life event to bring attention to this but it is true. Every day the choices we make affect our well being. Not sure what choices are right for you? Seek the guidance of a qualified practitioner to determine the appropriate diet and lifestyle. Everyone is different.

Keeping a daily routine maintains good health.
I had not heard this enough. I thought I was superwoman and could do anything because I was doing yoga and my energy was so strong. I didn’t see the impact that working nights was having on my system until I couldn’t sleep through the night and couldn’t focus during the day. Derailing myself from this path was a challenge somehow. It was clear to me that I had done myself in. Now all that my practitioner had been saying to me made sense and I knew what to do. I got it.

My trust in Ayurveda rooted. I’ve changed my lifestyle so it suits my doshas and my well-being seems to improve every day. I’m surprised and happy to wake up feeling so healthy and it only required some simple changes to my life.

Photo courtesy of Morguefile.com.