I would like to present some ideas regarding the attainment of robust health and inner harmony by personal practice in Yoga and Ayurveda.
Yoga has a goal of optimum health without needing to depend on any external help. It was devised to support the Yogi on the path to spiritual fulfilment. So Yoga is a unique approach to health that is different to the medical approach. Many people’s perception of Ayurveda is medical treatment given by Ayurvedic doctors and spa treatments that are now becoming popular. There is another aspect of Ayurveda which is Sadhana. Sadhana is the means to a goal and is the sustained effort leading to accomplishment. I integrate Ayurveda with Yoga and encourage practices that promote good health rather than giving treatments as therapy. This is then in alignment with Yoga as an independant health practice. I am not suggesting that medical treatment and therapy should not be used but that we can seek to move toward and maintain a state of ultrahealth. Let me explain.
There are four levels of healing in Ayurveda.
1) Disease treatment
2) Disease prevention
3) Life Enhancement
4) Awareness Development
At level 1 we need healing from a disease state. Medical treatments (drugs and surgery)may be necessary and alternative therapies (herbs, massage, acupuncture etc) can be used.
At level 2 prevention of illness is the focus through lifestyle, diet, tonic herbs, living in harmony with nature, yogasana and pranayama.
Level 3 is the effort we make to promote vitality, immunity and longevity. Once we have attained this level our full potential in life can be realised.
Level 4 Many of our problems arise from lack of awareness, cultivating this leads to a spiritual approach to life which brings true peace, harmony and health.
The Yoga model is:
1) Cikitsa – Therapy
2) Raksana – Protection
3) Siksana – Development
4) Adhyatmika – transcendence
Viniyoga (application) of Yoga must be appropriate for the level that applies to the student.
Vyadhi (illness) is listed as an impediment to the accomplishment of Yoga in the Sutras, I:30. Effort is needed to overcome illness and cultivate vibrant good health and vitality.
Ayurveda suggests that each person should make efforts to improve their health all through the life.
Moving through the 4 levels of health by appropriate, life enhancing methods, we can arrive at a place of independance, radiant health, natural beauty and inner harmony far from the reach of illness.
Begin the journey today by making a commitment to Sadhana. May you find health, harmony and peace. Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.