As I travel the yoga path, (which as we already know by now is not linear!) I am increasingly inspired by the connection between the many different aspects; few of which initially seemed interrelated to me. In this short article I want to introduce and touch on the synergy between Ayurveda and the Chakra systems, as I understand them.
Ayurveda is the companion study to yoga, it asks us to live in tune with nature just as Yoga helps us to find our true nature, the perfect life partners!
Ayurveda is a Sanskrit name which translates as, ‘the knowledge for long life’ it is based on an understanding of the five elements (similar to the Chinese system) and how each living organism (including ourselves) is made up of different proportions of these elements. Three constitution types (dosha) are referenced, Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
You may ask why I am focusing on a topic that most of us do not hear about, read about or relate to on a daily basis; but that is the travesty as a basic understanding of the subject is the key to staying in perfect health (in balance) and learning to live more intuitively. Ayurveda offers guidance on how to function in tune with the cycles of the day, the seasons of the year, the food we eat and also the type of yoga practice that best suits our individual needs and/or the type of group practice that may best suit a particular season or time of the day.
In Summer time the dosha that is predominant is Pitta, which combines the elements of fire and water. It is located in the abdomen behind the navel and is connected to the small intestine. The asana that stimulate Pitta are standing and seated twists and prone poses (belly down) like locust (Shalabhasana) bow (Dhanurasana) and upward facing dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana). By default if an individual is predominantly Pitta then focusing too much on the postures mentioned above or doing a hot practice especially in hot weather can aggravate an already hot temperament in the same way as spicy food may over heat us. It all makes perfect sense right?
The Chakras are energy wheels that run along the body from the root (base of the spine) to the crown of the head; there are seven of these and they each have related sounds, colours, mantra, physiological and psychological characteristics that give them individual and interdependent characteristics. Pitta or fire in the Ayurvedic system has as it’s related Chakra, Manipura which is also located in the abdomen (solar plexus) and represents our ability to digest our lives, to manifest the things we want and to be confident and purposeful in our actions, (maybe that is why we get butterflies in our tummy when we are about to do something that means a lot to us). It makes sense then that those of us who are cool and calm could sometimes do with a little ‘fire in the belly’ and visa versa. This is why following a tailor made practice is very useful in helping us work with our individual needs.
These are vast and infinitely interesting topics that will resonate with us all in different ways. It is our own personal experience of this five thousand year old system that offers a customized blueprint for healthy and well-balanced living. ‘Yoga meets us where we are at in life’, and it can be as vast or as specific a subject as we need it to be. As I said at the beginning it is not a linear journey and we find ourselves resonating with different parts and joining dots back and fourth when new insights come our way, which is why it is always fresh and new.
Lisa teaches at YogaRathmines every Tuesday at 6:30 pm. Lisa often plans her class based on the weather, the season and of course the energy that shows up on the night! If you have any questions on this article please feel free to chat to Lisa after class, or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Perfect Health by Deepak Chopra
Ayurveda the Ancient Indian Healing Art by Scott Gerson,
Chakra Workbook by Pauline Willis,