The Beliefs and Goals of Ayurvedic Yoga Practitioners

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to feel stronger, more energetic, more at ease with yourself and life in general? Have you tried taking the time to learn yoga? For as much as five thousand years the practice of yoga has been a central part of the Indian culture.

Ayurvedic Yoga, which comes directly from India, has been described as an elegant art form, and yet it is really deeply based in philosophy and the health sciences. It has become very popular in parts of the Western world, and has certainly benefited all the people who choose to perform it regularly. If you are willing to take a short amount of time out of your daily schedule, then you can be one of those people too.

Many people who have looked for help with physical and mental issues have found Yoga to be the source of relief from stress, pains and illnesses. Ayurveda is translated from the Indian Sanskrit as meaning “the science of long life” and the movements used in the Yoga postures are designed to promote good health. There are deep connections between your mental state and your physical state. In yoga the balance of the two states are very important to your good health and long life. In order to perform Ayurvedic yoga correctly, and to your best benefit, you will have to learn how to breathe correctly, practice the right postures, and learn to truly meditate.

In the Western culture Yoga is mostly popular as an exercise program that promotes health and relieves stress. It is hardly ever practiced as a life-long philosophical study except in India, and the Western yoga programs in schools, hospitals and health clubs rarely explain the traditional India teachings. You may have heard of yoga, and thought, it’s just meditation. How hard can it be?

The common misconception about yoga is that it’s just for sitting cross-legged on the floor and relaxing, but it is so much more! In order to understand why the Indian culture has been deeply immersed in disciplines such as yoga for the last five millennium, then you will have to learn a little bit about the Hindu philosophy – the connection between man and the universe. Ayurvedic yoga is practiced to keep the body and mind healthy, as well as to help the yoga student reach a higher understanding of “oneness”.

Within Hindu philosophy, the word Yoga is used to refer to one of the six orthodox (astika) schools of Hindu philosophy. [1] Yoga is a companion to the school of Vedanta, and is, in fact, incorporated within the four other schools of traditional Hindu philosophy. These systems of philosophy are called Sankhya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa and Nyaya.

Sankhya is a philosophy that suggests that reality is divided into Purusha, which is consciousness, and Prakriti, which is the matter of the universe. Sankhya denies the existence of Ishvara (God) or any other exterior influence.[2] Vaisheshika and Nyaya are closely related schools of philosophy. Vaisheshika is based on atomism and belief that true knowledge is found through inference and perception; Nyaya includes those two ways of understanding knowledge, with an additional two more true sources, testimony and comparison. Mimamsa is based on the idea that knowledge is not sufficient for “liberation” and instead, rituals and an understanding of the Vedas will provide “a heavenly life after death”.

The first type of meditation practice in yoga is to learn how to think only about acceptance and compassion, supportiveness and lovingness. You next need to think deeply on how to reduce ill feelings, like fear and dislikes, as well as bias, ego and ignorance. Once you have developed your depth of meditation to the point of being able to ignore outside influences and distractions, then you can learn how to seek “The Cosmic Man” or the Self which encompasses the universe, known as Purusha.

Finally, having accomplished the previous steps, it may be possible to achieve the ultimate bliss, and you can go outside your mind and travel beyond. This point in the achievement is called Bhindu, also known as the Seed, the Pearl, or more literally, the Point or the Dot. Yoga can help you reach the point where you are experienced enough at meditating to begin learning the next step, which is considered Advanced Meditation.

If you are interested in learning more about yoga, it would be best to find a book or teacher who can explain the entire system. There is much to learn about the Hindu philosophies, and the best teachers, called yogi (men) and yoginis (women) are often the best source of information.

There have been many books written over the centuries with records of Yoga practices and benefits. The Bhagavad Gita (‘Song of the Lord’) uses the term “yoga” extensively in a variety of ways. In addition to an entire chapter (ch. 6) dedicated to traditional yoga practice, including meditation, [3] it introduces three prominent types of yoga.[4] There is Karma yoga which is considered the yoga of action, the Bhakti yoga which is based on devotion (which also ties in with action), and the third class of yoga is Jnana, known as the yoga of knowledge. The study of yoga will present you with great insight and lead you on the path to wisdom.

Please understand that Yoga is not a religion or a cult in any sort of way. It does have its own set of morals, or yamas that goes along with the Yoga experience. Those who follow these yamas are encouraged to be truthful, non-violent, chaste, as well as to not be greedy or to be a thief.

Along with the five yamas there are also five niyamas: contentedness, self-discipline, self-study, pureness of spirit, and focus on Divinity. The set of values practiced within Ayurvedic Yoga can easily followed by anyone, in any religion. In the case of yoga especially, the saying, “Practice makes perfect” is backed by five thousand years of Indians learning all about achieving long life and true enlightenment.

[1] “Yoga has five principal meanings: 1) yoga as a disciplined method for attaining a goal; 2) yoga as techniques of controlling the body and the mind; 3) yoga as a name of one of the schools or systems of philosophy (darśana); 4) yoga in connection with other words, such as “hatha-, mantra-, and laya-,” referring to traditions specialising in particular techniques of yoga; 5) yoga as the goal of yoga practice.” Jacobsen, p. 4.
[2] Dasgupta, Surendranath (1992). A history of Indian philosophy, Volume 1. Motilal Banarsidass Publ.. p. 258. ISBN 9788120804128.
[3] a b Jacobsen, p. 10.
[4] “…Bhagavad Gita, including a complete chapter (ch. 6) devoted to traditional yoga practice. The Gita also introduces the famous three kinds of yoga, ‘knowledge’ (jnana), ‘action’ (karma), and ‘love’ (bhakti).” Flood, p. 96.

Author: Dr Maulik Vyas

I am a holistic Doctor with 10 yr of experience in medical/health and wellness industry. Also, I am a professional content writer with 1000s of articles published across the web. I'm available for content writing, natural treatment consultancy, business ideas about healthcare/wellness industry. I am the proprietor of company named Mouls Incorporation.

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