One other study area that I was privileged to be able to experience alongside my many visits to study Yoga Practice Techniques and Associated texts in Chennai with my teacher TKV Desikachar, within the intimacy and vitality of private lessons, was that of Āyurveda and its application within Yoga.
“In Āyurveda, it gives certain behaviour by which we can stay well.
If a person follows the following he will freer of sickness.
Regularly, systematically he eats, rests and exercises adequately.
Both in amount and quality. Food or Ahāra,
along with Vihāra – recreation, rest, exercise, other activities.”
– TKV Desikachar
Thus during my many visits to India, between 1979 and 2002, my work in Yoga was complemented by the study of Āyurveda constitutional diagnosis and prognosis, along with Nādī Parīkṣā or pulse diagnosis and the application skills or the viniyoga of Āyurveda, into Yoga practice and lifestyle, according to the teachings of T Krishnmacharya within Yoga Rakṣaṇa (lifestyle support) or Yoga Cikitsā (therapeutic recovery) situations.
The presence and actions of Prāṇa Śakti
Generally the purpose of Yoga is to bring about a change within the prominence of awareness and its subsequent impact on the attitude and function of the individual.
Whether this change is explored as a yoking of two opposites, as in Prāṇa and Apāna, or an unyoking of two seemingly inseparable aspects, as in Puruṣa and Prakṛti, time and a process are involved. Also this notion of change may be initiated within an individual’s physical body, energetic processes, mental attitude and emotional responses.
However, within Indian thought there is a concept that is common to the different philosophies and to the different aspects of the individual. This concept is the presence, power and actions of Prāṇa.
Following on from yesterdays post on Bṛṃhaṇa Kriyā and Laṅghana Kriyā as expansive and contractive activities I felt it could be helpful to republish a post from last year developing the concept and application of Laṅghana Kriyā. There is little published information available on these important concepts that Krishnamacharya drew from Āyurveda and applied through his Yoga teaching. For more on this teaching relationship of Yoga and Āyurveda view ‘The Krishnamacharya methodology of melding the viniyoga of Āyurveda with that of Yoga‘.
Whilst reposting this piece on Laṅghana Kriyā and its application within the teaching concepts of Śamanam Kriyā and Śodhanam Kriyā, I have also added links so the reader can further reference the Saṃskṛta Words Compendium, with its now 750 Saṃskṛta word database cross linking concepts and texts.
Finally the original piece can be downloaded as a PDF and is listed on the Yoga Posts as PDF’s Repository, a further resource now approaching 150 downloadable PDF Links.
Laṅghana Kriyā is the viniyoga methodology with its reducing, lightening or contractive potentials within the practice of Āsana, Mudrā and Prāṇāyāma. As a practice process it is actualised through an understanding of the primary principles that inform Haṭha Yoga and Āyurveda.
Bṛṃhaṇa Kriyā and Laṅghana Kriyā as expansive and contractive activities are two potentials actualised through the Breath and Āsana.
Within the practice of Āsana, Mudrā and Prāṇāyāma they are actualised through an understanding of the primary principles that inform Haṭha Yoga and Āyurveda.
Āyurveda was the one of the first medical systems to realise the crucial importance of the kind of food we eat and to appreciate the interaction between health and disease, disease and food, and food and health. It will be from this point that this article will explore the question of diet by examining the concepts of elements and taste in food.
Previous articles have presented some ideas of Prāṇa so we can now move towards presenting a more complete picture of how Āyurveda sees the human body. This article looks at how Ayurveda sees the types of bodily tissues and waste products as vital to the effective construction and working of the body.
This article intended to introduce Prāṇa, its origin, function and malfunction. However, Prāṇa is such an important part of Yoga and Āyurveda that I have concentrated on presenting some basic ideas on its relationship to the individual, to Yoga and to the understanding of life known as Āyurveda.
This article introduces the concept of Prāṇa and its place in Āyurveda within the three principles or Tridoṣa.
This article explores the balance of the Three Principles in the individual and their effect on the processes of change and age.
This article explores the relationship between the three principles or Tridoṣa, with the three qualities or Guṇa, and how Āyurveda views their qualities and modes of expression in the functions of the body.
One of the threads that links Āyurveda and Yoga with the Vedic schools of thought and non-Vedic schools such as Buddhism, is that everything is subject to change.
ĀYURVEDA & YOGA.
“Now is Āyurveda explained:
the expression of the five elements,
and the three principles most fundamental to life.”
So far in this series we have presented some ideas on the place of Yoga within Indian thought, with comments on the problems in distinguishing the different threads in the tapestry that holds together the cultural, religious and philosophical ideals of India.
ĀYURVEDA & YOGA.
A Series of articles exploring Yoga and Āyurveda. This one looks at the philosophical structure within Sāṃkhya upon which the principles supporting the ancient Indian system of medicine are based.
The previous article on Āyurveda and Yoga began with a brief introduction to Indian thought and its links with Yoga. It is sometimes difficult, living within our western culture, to recognise what is Yoga and what is not Yoga.
ĀYURVEDA & YOGA
There is an increasing interest in the field of traditional Indian medicine. Until recently little was available in the West on this subject, but now there are many more avenues though which one can explore and learn about the form of holistic medicine known as Āyurveda.
Traditionally Āyurveda and Yoga went hand in hand, so for students of Yoga an understanding of Āyurveda will complement and help their Yoga study and practice.
Furthermore in the application of Yoga as a therapy (cikitsa) an understanding of Āyurveda is essential in working with imbalances that can cause or aggravate the disease process.
In this article some ideas will be presented on the links between Yoga and India’s spiritual tradition before presenting the background to Āyurveda.
Yoga in the West