For the past month or so, i’ve experienced tightness in my lower back. This tightness is a result of my second job as a valet at a local hotel and indoor water park, where I worked during the spring and summer of this year. The main cause was the casual hi-tops I wore to work. Although they were all black as required by my job, they lacked the cushioning needed for the frequent back and forth running I did. Although I later began to do stretches before each shift, by the time summer ended I was experiencing lower back discomfort. This was the first time in my life I had encountered back tightness to that extent. Last week I was still experiencing discomfort in my back so for the first time in my life I tried a couple of basic yoga poses to provide some relief. I tried a hamstring stretch laying on my back, then something called the sphinx, then a two knee twist, and finally a stretch called the pigeon. These, along with a hot towel I placed at the sight of the tightness really provided my with some relief. I definitely noticed a difference in the way my back felt.
Yoga is one of the most popular and most enduring forms of exercise. It’s used to strengthen muscles, improve core strength, relieve stress, improve blood flow, eliminate toxins from the human body, and provide relief from acute pain and discomfort (as im my case). Yoga’s origins date back almost 6,000 years to the forth and fifth centuries BCE. Although yoga has a physical component to it and it highly beneficial to the physical body, yoga is actually a complete set of philosophies whose purpose is to unite the body, mind, and spirit. In fact, the word yoga come from the Sanskrit language meaning “to join” or “to unite”. To engage in yoga in the truest sense is to unite the mind with the Self. By Self, we refer to the body, its thought processes, its physical processes, and its spiritual being. Yoga is a holistic philosophy like Ayurveda is. The purpose of both is to achieve the highest level of balance one can achieve. Through this balance and optimization of mind, body, and spirit we can obtain true self knowledge and liberation from struggle and suffering, i.e salvation. We find our highest levels of self consciousness we can achieve. In other words, we achieve nirvana.
The conclusion can be made that neither ayurveda nor yoga cannot be done without the other. As I’ve covered before, Ayurveda is a Vedic philosophy that focuses on holistic physical healing though “pre-emptive” (eliminating detrimental relationships, diet, environment, stress reduction) and “after the fact” means such as panchakama in order to balance the doshas. Yoga is the process of “yoking” the body to the mind to achieve the highest self attainment and enlightenment possible. Yoga is also one of the methods used to promote healing and realign the doshas. The two therefore are best utilized together.