Ayurveda, Yoga and The Nature of the Mind: 8 facts
I wrote recently on Yoga beyond the mat. We’ve all felt the impact of our practice on our state of mind: many of us have cried on the mat as deeply held emotions are released, and more frequently we leave the mat feeling more at peace and happier within ourselves than when we started. In truth I think most of us would agree it is this effect that keeps us coming back to practice, at least as much as the physical benefits.
As my next workshop approaches, Ayurveda and The Mind: A Deeper Perspective on Health and Healing, I wanted to share a few of the main points about the perspective of Yoga and Ayurveda on the mind. There is actually so much that Yoga and Ayurveda teach us on this subject, but below are the 8 points that first come to mind now on this subject. I hope these points give you a taster of the promise of Yoga and Ayurveda as guides towards understanding the nature of the mind, as roadmaps for happier, more fulfilled as well as healthier lives. Hopefully, that sparks a thirst in you to learn some more. There is a link below also to a text that I totally recommend if you really would like to know more about Yoga and the Mind.
Here are the 8 points from Yoga and Ayurveda –
- Ayurveda believes the natural state of the mind is Sattva. Sattva is a wonderful Sanskrit word which does not translate directly into English and encompasses the following qualities: purity, peace, light, harmony, clarity, contentment. We could say that “all” the practices of Yoga and Ayurveda are essentially intended to return the mind to a state of Sattva. When Sattva dominates the mind, we can glimpse our essential nature, our unlimited, compassionate, intuitive, knowing, loving Self.
- Rather than these qualities of Sattva, we mostly find that the mind tends more towards any or all of the following: restlessness, agitation, anxiety, worry, dissipation, despondency, confusion, fogginess. This can be from a combined result of lifestyle, conditioning, environment and diet, wrong use of the intellect, and over-use of senses.
- The mind is affected positively or negatively by lifestyle, environment, social, cultural and familial conditioning, by foods we take in and also by the type of nourishment we give to the senses. We nourish the senses for better or for worse with the types of programmes we watch or material that we read, the types of music we listen to or the type of talk we expose ourselves to, the company we keep.
- The mind is therefore very impressionable. The part of the mind that most of us know and are governed by is a bundle of past impressions, experiences and memories.
- The mind does impact our physical health and our body’s state of health affects our state of mind. We all know that when we feel anxious, there are sensations felt in the body as adrenaline rushes through the body and we feel that shaky, buzzing, wired feeling as the body’s stress response is kicked into action. When we feel depressed, the body feels heavy and low in energy. When Sattva resides in the mind, the mind does not disturb the body and thereby nor does it adversely affect our physical health. Likewise, when the body is unwell, the mind is affected. In fact, disease is said to be one of the obstacles on the path of Yoga (in the larger sense of Yoga as a science for spiritual evolution, not as a physical exercise practice that we do on the mat).
- We are not our minds and yet we tend toward identification with our minds and acquired beliefs, memories and past experiences. We believe the stories our minds tell us and we react to life and the events of life according to the ways that the mind moves.
- Yoga and Ayurveda help us to purify and steady the mind, just as we purify and strengthen the body. Then the Sattvic nature of the mind begins to be revealed to us.
- When the mind is quiet and in a state of Sattva, we glimpse the greater wisdom, contentment and love that lies within us. This, Yoga and Ayurveda tells us, is who we are in truth, beyond the stories of the mind, and in our heart of being.
If you are interested to learn more about all that Yoga and Ayurveda have to offer us for greater mental and emotional well-being, then please join me on Saturday April 27th 2019. I will teach a workshop on Ayurveda and The Mind: A Deeper Perspective on Health and Healing.
In the workshop you will learn:
i) Yoga and Ayurveda teachings on the nature of the mind, intellect, and subconscious
.ii) the tendencies of the mind within your individual Ayurveda constitutional type when in balance and out of balance
iii) how to support and maintain mental and emotional balance and well- being generally through Yoga breathing, posture, and mind techniques for states such as anxiety and depression (the theory and practice).
iv) Ayurveda recommendations for supporting mental and emotional well-being according to your specific Ayurveda constitutional type.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK HERE Also, to move more deeply into the Yogic way to work with the mind, I recommend getting a copy of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Please click here for a link to one of my favourite commentaries on this ancient classical text.
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