Why is an Ayurvedic approach to yoga practice is important and how does it benefit the practitioner.
An Ayurvedic approach to yoga practice can help the practitioner create more balance in their day and life in general.
The Ayurvedic approach is to recognise the gunas and how they are playing out in your mind~Body and current situation so that you can adapt a yoga practice that will decrease the Gunas that are influencing dis-harmony and increase the Gunas that will promote balance, lightness & harmony.
The three Guna's are Sattva - Light/consciousness, Raja - Mode of passion, action & Tamas - Inertia, stagnation, darkness.
Yoga is a phenomenal tool to bring more sattva into your life, when truly practicing yoga you are moving beyond the mind-body complex towards your higher self, your true essence of being. The practice of yoga is a spiritual practice whereby you move into a deeper awareness and heightened consciousness. When we are practicing yoga to benefit the Mind~body, we are in fact practicing an Ayurvedic method as part of the holistic health & healing complex that makes up Ayurveda.
As we, modern Yogis, are here experiencing our existence in human form we encounter the three Guna’s – Sattva, Raja, Tamas as part of our being and day to day lives.
We are not excluded in experiencing mental Tamas just because we practice yoga & in some cases we need to invite the qualities of tamas (lethargy, slow, dense) into our practice if our unique constitution is out of balance, such as experiencing feelings of heightened anxiety and nervousness from being on the ‘go’ all week and stimulating our central nervous system to the point that it is screaming at us.
The beauty of taking an Ayurvedic approach to practice is that we become more aware of the qualities and how they are affecting us as individuals and with that knowledge we can create a practice that invites the needed guna’s in to settle our mind~body into a more balanced state of being, returning to our prukriti (Original & unique constitution).
As practitioners, we need to be aware that each day will hold new challenges and the different Guna’s will present themselves. It is our job to become aware of this so that we can effectively use yoga as not only a tool to bring us into a more balanced or sattvic state but also a way to reach our higher self, speaking directly to Atman.
A yin or restorative practice would be perfect for someone who has been overstimulated, knowing that a vigorous vinyasa practice will only push them further into overdrive and they will feel less settles as they walk off the mat.
A vinyasa practice would be perfect for someone who is needing some motivation, drive or help processing/moving their mental block. Moving the body whilst flowing with breath in a rhythmic and gentle way can be very calming and meditative if you practice with love and kindness to your body and self. It can not only help with physical digestion but also mental digestion of thoughts and worry.
Through applying the knowledge of the guna’s to our practice we can see how taking the Ayurvedic approach is not only important in gaining balance and clarity but beneficial in many ways to the individual practitioner/student.
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