Ayurveda - Yoga
Ayurveda - Harmony of body, mind and soul
Ayurveda can be defined as a system, which uses the inherent principles of nature, to help maintain health in a person by keeping the individual’s body, mind and spirit in perfect equilibrium with nature.
Ayurveda, the science of life and longevity, is the oldest healthcare system in the world and it combines the profound thoughts of medicine and philosophy. Since then Ayurveda has stood for the wholesome physical, mental and spiritual growth of humanity around the world. Today, it's a unique, indispensable branch of medicine. A complete naturalistic system that depends on the diagnosis of your body's humours - vata, pitta and kapha - to achieve the right balance. It is based on the premise that the universe is made up of five elements: air, fire, water, earth and ether.
Kerala, the Land of Ayurveda
Kerala possesses an unbroken tradition of Ayurveda that has surpassed the many invasions and intrusions both foreign and native. For hundreds of years the Ayurveda Vaidyas (traditional practitioners of Ayurveda) were almost the only access for people seeking healing from every kind of disease in Kerala. The legendary eight families of Vaidyas (Ashta vaidyas) and their successors treated the entire state for centuries.
Unlike the other Indian states the status of Ayurveda in Kerala is not alternative but mainstream. In fact, today, Kerala is the only State in India which practices this system of medicine with absolute dedication. Being the only resort of treatment for the people, the Vaidyars of Kerala were challenged to interpret the theories of Ayurveda and adapt them actively into effective healing systems in everyday life. Thus almost all the contemporary procedures and protocols of Ayurveda have evolved in and around Kerala.
In the lap of Mother Nature
Its equable climate, natural abundance of forests and the cool monsoon season are best suited for Ayurveda's curative and restorative packages. Kerala is perhaps one of the few places on earth where a temperature of 24-28 degrees is maintained during a period of continuous rain. This prevalence of moisture in the air and on the surface of the skin makes it the ideal place for natural medicines to work at their highest levels of potency. The land is also blessed with innumerous medicinal plants and provides the continuity and consistency of Ayurveda medicines needed for effective treatment procedures. The same herbs with the same potency are available year after year across every season.
The rich alkaloid content of the soil enhances the intensity and potency of many Ayurvedic medicines when compared to places with different soil constitution. The Benefits Ashtangahridayam, the practical, user friendly interpretation of Ayurveda, compiled by the great Vagbata is seldom used anywhere in the world as it is extensively done in Kerala. The Vaidyars of Kerala are proficient in this most contemporary treatise of Ayurveda which many scholars consider an advancement over the earlier samhitas of Charaka and Sushruta, the pioneers of Ayurveda. It is in Kerala that Kashaya Chikitsa (treatment with concoction) has become a standardised protocol involving hundreds of Kashayams that were scientifically classified and organised according to various treatment needs. Keralite Vaidyars where the first to focus on the anti oxidant properties of Abayangam leading to the profusion of kizhis. The largest number of Ayurveda colleges and the largest number of practitioners in comparison to any place in the world has led to a tradition of Ayurveda research in a scientific manner in Kerala.
As a lifestyle
In Kerala Ayurveda is not just a healthcare system but it is a part and parcel of every aspect of life, in fact it is a lifestyle in Kerala so to speak. The miracles like paralysed people walk, incurable diseases cured etc. that happen even today inspires respect and awe for the Vaidyars of Kerala.
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice or discipline, that aims to transform body and mind. The origins of Yoga have been speculated to date back to pre-vedic Indian traditions. Yoga physiology described humans as existing of three bodies (physical, subtle and causal) and five sheets (food sheet, prana-breath, mind sheet, intellect, and bliss) which cover the atman, and energy flowing through energy channels and concentrated in chakras. Derived from the Sanskrit word yuj, Yoga means union of the individual consciousness or soul with the Universal Consciousness or Spirit. Yoga is a 5000 year old Indian body of knowledge. Though many think of yoga only as a physical exercise where people twist, turn, stretch, and breathe in the most complex ways, these are actually only the most superficial aspect of this profound science of unfolding the infinite potentials of the human mind and soul
The science of Yoga imbibe itself the complete essence of the Way of Life, including - Gyan Yoga or philosophy, Bhakti Yoga or path of devotional bliss, Karma Yoga or path of blissful action, and Raja Yoga or path of mind control. Raja Yoga is further divided into eight parts. At the heart of the Raja Yoga system, balancing and unifying these various approaches, is the practice of Yoga Asana. Many studies have tried to determine the effectiveness of yoga as a complementary intervention for cancer, schizophrenia, asthma, and heart disease. Apart from the spiritual goals, the physical postures of yoga are used to alleviate health problems, reduce stress and make the spine supple in contemporary times.
Yoga is also used as a complete exercise program and physical therapy routine. It is claimed that yoga can be an excellent training for children and adolescents, both as a form of physical exercise and for breathing, focus, mindfulness, and stress relief. One of the beauties of the physical practice of yoga is that the poses support and sustain you no matter how old or young, or fit or frail, you come to your mat. As you age, your understanding of asana becomes more sophisticated. You move from working on the external alignment and mechanics of the pose to refining the inner actions to finally just being in the asana.
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