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Ayurveda and Yoga are sister sciences first mentioned together in the Vedas (original documents of India) around 3500 BC. They share the same philosophy, known as Samkhya, which teaches the concepts of Gunas (the three qualities of the mind): sattva, rajas, and tamas and the three Doshas (bio-energies of the body) understood by the five elements in nature.  Ayurveda encompasses physical and mental well-being, and Yoga focuses on cognitive and spiritual balance with asana and pranayama. Together, the practice is encompassed in AyurYoga.


These two sciences are also united by the word Ashtanga, meaning eight. In the context of yoga, this refers to the eight limbs (steps) of yoga documented by Patanjali around 500 BC. This path to enlightenment consists of the rules of social and personal behaviors, asanas (toning of the physical body), pranayama (breathing control), control of mind and senses, concentration (control of perception), meditation, and finally, union and enlightenment.  The word “yoga” means “union”; the ultimate goal of yoga is to transcend the self and become one with the highest being, Ishvara. 


Ayurveda’s eight (ashtanga) branches are Internal medicine, pediatrics, ear/nose/throat diseases, toxicology, surgery, psychology, rejuvenation through rasayana practices (herbal remedies), rejuvenation through vajikarana (sexual health), which bring balance to the body, mind, and spirit.


How to use yoga for the doshas and seasons:


Vata is associated with the air and space elements and is cold, dry, light, and mobile in nature. It is most prevalent during the fall and early winter. The Vata dosha is creative, energetic, in constant motion, and easily distracted. They can suffer from anxiety, constipation, joint pain, and insomnia. Their yoga practice should be in a calm, quiet environment, and attention should be given to grounding and focusing on warming asanas. Because of restlessness, a slower, rejuvenative, and meditative practice is best.


Pitta is associated with the fire and water elements, which are hot, wet, light, and mobile, and is most prevalent during the summer. Pitta's tend to be intense, passionate, and highly focused and can suffer from inflammation and heated emotions. Their practice should be slower and have heart-opening asanas that bring cooling, stability, and groundedness. This dosha benefits belly back bends, twists, and restorative and rejuvenative asanas and pranayama.


Kapha is associated with the earth and water elements that are cool, wet, heavy, stable, and most prevalent during winter and early spring. Kapha's tend to be heavy, slow, and calm and can suffer from excess weight and watery conditions. Their practice should be more vigorous and intense, focusing on creating heat and movement. This practice will increase energy, strengthen the lungs, abdomen, and back, bring an energetic, uplifting mood, and improve overall health.

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