Up to 30 percent of Americans practice yoga today, with the number rising more and more. This dramatic rise in yoga practitioners has also lead to a renewed interest in yoga’s sister science of Ayurveda.
Although Ayurveda is now only beginning to garner significant attention in its own right the Vedas intended these sciences to be practised in a union, the very word yoga means union, It is derived from the Sanskrit root “yuj,” meaning to join, to unite but also to control and to discipline.
Have you ever attended a yoga class? And if you have, what was it you were looking to achieve with the lesson? Was the reasoning to become one with the Godhead, the higher source of the universe? Or was it to become fitter, healthier and live a more balanced life? If your intention and ambition were the former, then indeed truly you were practising yoga. If your purpose was the latter, then in truth your practice was actually Ayurveda.
Ayurveda’s main ambitions and purpose are to achieve and maintain health, whilst the true purpose of yoga is the pursuit of a spiritual awaking and enlightenment. Needless to say, the majority of people attending yoga classes are most likely practising Ayurveda as opposed to yoga, due to the fact that they are seeking health benefits instead of a union with the divine source.
The more we nourish and care for our physical bodies, the more easily we become in tune with our inner consciousness. Hence the reason Ayurveda and yoga are sister sciences and are intended to be practised in conjunction, the healthier we are, the more easily we find it to become spiritually in tune and aware.
The purpose of all daily Ayurvedic practices in the elevation of our consciousness, by maintaining our physical bodies, and allowing the vehicles for our spiritual bodies to operate at optimum health. Health is not our end goal but rather our means of obtaining the end goal. The end goal is our waking awareness and our spiritual transcendence. Yoga, meditation techniques and practice, blossoming self-awareness and a healthy body and mind are only tools to reach this end goal.