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Updated on: Sunday, October 24, 2021, 09:08 AM IST

Five Ayurvedic rituals that every yoga enthusiast must follow

Want to get better at pranayama, asanas and supercharge your yoga practice to boost holistic well-being? These five practices will indeed come in handy
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Yoga is a holistic practice for our physical and mental well-being, which includes asana, pranayama and meditation. Ayurveda is one of the oldest systems of natural medicine and healing; its cornerstone is the identification of individual personality types and one’s dominant forces of nature (doshas) – whether vata (air and space), pitta (fire and water), or kapha (water and earth).

Both are sister sciences that complement each other by enhancing their respective benefits and Ayurveda, in particular, can help customise your yoga practice to your unique needs, health conditions, and environment.

Here are a few ways to incorporate Ayurveda to supercharge your yoga practice:

Panchkarma

This is a type of Ayurvedic detox that includes five purification practices, including enema and purgatives. This is a great way to bring the whole body and system in balance, which brings vitality in the physical body and our mind. These therapies effectively remove imbalances in our doshas and give us an excellent foundation to begin our yoga practices.

Diet

Ayurveda recommends a sattvic diet for yogis, which includes fruits, fasting, minimal spices and processing, raw foods and whole grains. Those who do very intense yoga practices benefit from it as it is cooling by nature and helps balance the increase in digestive fire (agni). Those who practice yoga in moderation can also benefit from a moderate wholesome vegetarian diet that includes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, sweet spices, herbal teas, natural sugars, etc.

Asanas

Just as Ayurveda recommends a specific diet for each dosha, it suggests a blend of postures that are suitable for your particular prakriti. For instance, single-leg balances are very good for vata as they have a grounding effect on the air element. Side bends are good for pitta as they are cooling and calm the fire element, and dynamic flows like surya namaskara are reommended for kapha dosha, which struggles with inertia. In this manner, asanas become conducive, not only for physical health but also for our spiritual progress.

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Massage

Massage is an integral aspect of Ayurvedic treatments. Regular oil massage can help reduce rigidity in the body, making it easier to move into yoga postures. Massage done with herbs cooked in sesame oil is particularly recommended for yogis as it helps reduce stiffness in joints and muscles.

Herbs and incense

Herbs have been traditionally used by yogis, both as food and aromatic fragrances, to enhance their yogic experiences. Ashwagandha helps increase overall energy levels and is suitable for kapha. Turmeric and guggul are said to help improve flexibility and prevent arthritis; these are good for vata. Brahmi can help promote awareness levels and mental clarity and is suitable for pitta.

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When it comes to incense, herbs like camphor and eucalyptus have a clarifying effect on the sinuses and can aid pranayama practice. Fragrances like rose or jasmine are suitable for devotional practices. Others like ginger can stimulate the mind and improve our perception.

As you can see, Ayurveda re-emphasizes, in multiple ways, that yoga is not just asana practice, but includes pranayama and meditation and it helps enhance all these practices. Furthermore, it can be customised to one’s unique temperament and personality type, thereby assisting in developing a complete yoga practice and lifestyle.

(The author is a Yoga, and Ayurveda Lifestyle Specialist, Founder – Yoganama)

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Published on: Sunday, October 24, 2021, 09:07 AM IST
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