From the Art of Living Retreat Center:
Ayurveda and Yoga for Optimum Health
A disease-free body,
A quiver-free breath,
A Stress-free Mind,
An Inhibition-free Intellect,
An Obsession-free Memory,
An Ego that includes all,
And… a Soul which is free from sorrow.” ~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Health is the very nature of life. It denotes vibrancy and enthusiasm. It is the optimum life force. Real health is when your consciousness is alert, intellect is sharp, energy is high and there is a willingness to learn more and more. If you are physically fit but mentally lethargic or depressed, there is no health. The harmony between the rhythms of body, breath, intellect and memory is health. If you look at it this way then health assumes a different dimension. Health is not just lack of illness. If you are sick then the term health means lack of illness. ~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
World Health Organization’s Perspective:
Health is universally acknowledged to be more than simply the absence of disease or infirmity. The World Health Organization Constitution defines health to be state of complete mental, physical and social well-being.
Introduction to the Two Complete Healing Sciences – Ayurveda and Yoga:
The beginning of the 21st century marks the importance of holistic health like never before. It has seen the intensification of global crises impacting personal to global wellness, and a search for its long lasting solutions. The psycho-somatic dimensions of most of ailments are now well proven. The modern era is of life-style disorders which requires solutions in terms of leading a healthy and holistic life. Any system which is limited only to physical aspects is not likely to lead to sustainable outcome. The modern medicine has its own importance but it is inadequate till it is not interwoven with the ancient healing methods which are wholesome and all inclusive. Ayurveda and Yoga are two sister sciences of the same great Vedic knowledge that address such problems and also has methods to tackle the existing crisis. It is important to understand the respective roles of Ayurveda and Yoga in well-being and healing. Though Yoga and Ayurveda are two separate entities but they are well connected ancient healing disciplines. Each has its unique place and function yet overlaps in a way to perfectly balance each other. As per classical Vedic study, Ayurveda is the Vedic system developed specifically for healing purposes. Yoga is the Vedic system of spiritual practices. All Vedic spiritual practice involves some form of Yoga practice.
Ayurvedawhich translates as “knowledge of life,” dates back 5,000 years to the ancient Sanskrit texts, the Vedas. It’s a system of healing that examines physical constitution, mental disposition, and spiritual outlook in the context of the whole existence. The term Yoga itself means to unite, combine, harmonize or integrate. There are seven level of this human existence namely; body, breath (prana), mind, intellect, memory, ego and self (spirit). A true yogic approach comprises of the blend of all the above mentioned levels. A truly yogic approach is inherently an integrative approach harmonizing all the seven levels. That is why classical Yoga has an eightfold approach which also guides into life-style practices and values: 1. Yama (ethical and moral codes), 2. Niyama (respect for the self), 3. Asana (physical postures), 4. Pranayama (breathing techniques), 5. Pratyahara (sensory discipline), 6. Dharana (concentration) 7. Dhyana (meditation), and 8. Samadhi (ultimate bliss and self-realization). Yoga thus is the way of living. It is when we practice these eight limbs of yoga together that we derive its whole benefit for self-transformation. If we limit Yoga practice to asana or physical postures alone, it is not whole and we might still be having the tendencies of focusing on the outer material reality and losing track on the inner reality of prana, mind and consciousness. It will be similar to playing on the shore of the vastly deep ocean. In the west, yoga has almost taken the form of fitness regimen. Yet it heartwarming that there are many yoga teachers in the west who have realized the importance of going beyond the physical level.
Though both the sciences are complete by themselves but when we integrate both together, we go to the real depth and potential of each for complete healing. Without such integration, both may be reduced to physical model of modern system of healing. Ayurveda provides the appropriate life-style recommendations for Yoga practice, as well as the background to unfold the full healing potential of all aspects of Yoga. Yoga provides the physical, spiritual and psychological basis for Ayurveda and its higher applications.
Combining Yoga and Ayurveda offers a complete system of well-being for body, mind and consciousness, which perhaps has no parallel anywhere else in the world. It can become the prime force of universal healing that is so much needed today. It can add a spiritual and preventative aspect to modern medicine as well as deeper dimensions for the understanding of disease and for practicing natural therapies that can be extremely cost effective and long lasting in contrast to high tech modern medicine.
Upcoming International conference – a platform to understand health with a greater vision:
The Art of Living Retreat center in Boone, NC, USA will host a wonderful international conference – “Ayurveda and Yoga for Optimum Health” from July 4-6 2014. This conference is being organized by AAPNA – Association of Ayurvedic Professionals of North America with the support of The Art of Living Foundation, The World Community Service Center (WCSC) Foundation, The World Institute for Scientific Exploration(WISE), Amrit Yoga, and California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine. The conference will give a great opportunity to understand both these sciences from many renowned speakers and legends of this field.
This 3-day conference will be inaugurated by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a humanitarian and spiritual leader and an ambassador of peace and human values. He is the founder of one of the largest non-profit organization – The Art of Living foundation which has its reach in more than 150 countries. As a spiritual teacher, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has rekindled the traditions of yoga, meditation and Ayurveda and offered them to suit the modern world. He has made pioneering contribution since many years to preserve these two these sciences. Beyond reviving ancient wisdom, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has also created novel techniques for enhancing personal and social development through various modalities that he has harnessed from Ancient India. As an outcome of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s efforts, the Art of Living foundation established a world class Ayurveda College and Hospital in Bangalore in Southern India that has the state of the art medical facilities and highly renowned doctors (vaidyas). Recently it has also established Sri Sri University in Odhisha, India which will introduce courses in Yoga and Naturopathy starting from August 2014.
The other eminent Ayurvedic and Yogic Scholars and their presentations at the conference include – Dr. David Frawley (The Interrelationship and Continuity of Veda, Raja Yoga and Ayurveda), Yogini Shambhavi (Yogic Art of Restorative Healing), Mother Maya Tiwari (Women’s Health & Spirituality: The Role of Ahimsa in Ayurveda and Yoga), Yogi Amrit Desai (Yogic Healing), Shunya Pratichi Mathur (Ayurveda Psychology – Invitation to Self-Mastery and Self Transformation), Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar (Ayurveda & Yoga for Blissful Mind), Dr. Vivek Shanbhag (Ayurveda & Yoga User’s Manual), etc.
The highlights of the conference include:
- Blessings and Inauguration Speech by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
- 3-day multi-track events
- 8 Keynote Presentations
- 15 general lectures on Ayurveda & Yoga
- 20 workshops on various topics of Ayurveda & Yoga Therapies
- 10 workshops on Morning Meditation, Yoga, and Chanting
- Special 90-minutes presentation by Legally Mine
- Sattvic Vegetarian Meals
- 20 hours CEUs Certificate toward AAPNA membership renewal
- Networking with Ayurveda, yoga, integrative health professionals
To register for the conference: http://aapna.org/conferences/11th-conference-july-2014-boone-nc
Just after the conference, the retreat will also host auspicious Guru Purnima- a celebration to honor the tradition of the great teachers (Gurus). The highlight of this celebration will be “Weeklong Silence Retreat” (July 6-13) in peaceful presence of Sri Sri, who will be personally guiding some of the mediations.
More information about the conference and Guru Purnima celebrations can be found on www.artoflivingretreatcenter.org
- Dr Sejal Shah, Conference Coordinator and Art of Living Faculty