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Ayurveda and Yoga

By trangnguyencpa Jul 20, 2014 1260 Words

SOCH111 History of Healing
Assignment 1
Student Name: Trang Nguyen
Student ID : 243640
Word Count : 1098 words

Question 1:

The whole healing system and modality that will be discussed in this assignment are Ayurveda and Yoga respectively. A modality is a class of intervention that used to diagnose part of the body. Whole healing system or whole medical system is a system with defined philosophy focusing on a person as a whole to provide treatment for cure chronic condition. A whole healing system is usually formalized and documented. A whole healing system includes different modalities.

Together with Siddha and Unani, Ayurveda are the three famous Indian Systems of Medicine (ISMs). According to the Vedas, Ayurveda is probably originated 5000 years ago in Himalaya, India and is invented by the enlightened wise men. In Sanskrit, “Ayur” means “ living” and “ved” means “knowledge”, therefore Ayurveda is the “knowledge of living” (altMD – What is Ayurveda 2014). It has a strong connection with the beginning of Hinduism in India. Ayurveda focuses on achieving the harmony of health in all practices of everyday life (Misani 2007).

In comparison, Yoga is a modality that practices as part of the Whole Healing System Ayurveda. Yoga is originated about 10000 - 5000 years ago in ancient India and is the product of the Indus-Sarasvati civilization. It is found in the oldest-existing text, Rig-Veda. Yoga means to “yoke” (to unite or integrate) with the source of our being. Yoga is believed to be the by-product of thousand years of research done by Rishis.

History of Ayurveda was dated back from 5000 years ago, written in Sanskrit on palm leaves and formed the basis of Ayurveda training today. This healing system is part of daily life and considered the mainstream medical system in India, Nepal, Laddak and countries close to the borders of India and China. The earlier system of testing for Ayurveda was rather ad hoc, hence the lack of scientifically reliability of the system. Today, with scientific methods we can determine what is superstition and what is fact. Recently Indian government have implemented the followings: licensing of Ayurvedic medicine governed under Drugs and Cosmetic Act, 1940; establish of AYUSH – an organization to promote Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, Homoeopathy systems – in March 1995; and establish and upgrade of drug testing laboratories (Patwardhan, B et al 2005, p. 1-9). However, the unavailability of required plant, lack of proper processing, toxic contamination of market botanical and lack of standardization still pose as challenges for promotion of Ayurvedic medicine on the global market (Singh Ram H 2010, Vol. 1, Issue 2, p. 91-95).

For a better discussion of the history of Yoga, we could divide it into four periods: the Vedic Period, Pre-Classical Period, Classical Period, and Post-Classical Period (ABC of Yoga 2013). Vedic Period was the most ancient period of Yoga, in which Yoga teaching was found in Vedas and the Yogis lived in seclusion. It is characterised by rituals and ceremonies that strive to surpass the limitation of the mind. Pre-Classical Period is marked by the creation of Upanishads, which further explains the teaching of the Vedas. Also in this period, the Buddhism characteristic of Yoga is discovered, such as meditation and physical postures. The Classical Period is marked by the creation of the Yoga Sutra, which outlines the principle Eight Limbs. The present Yoga is the Post-Classical Period. It is no longer strives to liberate a person from reality but rather teach one to accept and live in the moment.

Philosophies of Ayurvedic medicine are preventative and healing therapies, which can be achieved through purification and rejuvenation. Ayurveda considers that in the body there are three humors (doshas) which are the combination of different elements: vata – space and air, pitta – fire and water, kapha – water and earth. (History of Herbology, Herbolism 2014). Health in Ayurveda is defined as an order of the followings: balanced condition of digestive fire (agni), equilibrium of the humours, normal produce and elimination of waste products, normal function of the seven tissues (rasa, rakta, mamsa, meda, asthi, majja and shukra/ artava) and the harmonious working of mind, senses and consciousness for higher existence. Disease is simply the disorder or imbalance of these systems. When disorder occurs, it affects the gastric fire (agni) or digestion and produces toxins (ama). Toxins then enter blood and blog the channels. If the body cannot eliminate those toxins, their retention causes disease. Imbalance can be caused by various factors such as wrong diet, incompatible food combination, lifestyle or emotion stress. Therefore, the best way to prevent disease is to eliminate toxins from the body and maintain the order of tridoshas.

As Yoga is an aspect of purification within Ayurveda, its philosophies are quite similar. Yoga considers a healthy person is someone in complete harmony between body and mind. Disease is the absent of this complete harmony. The way to achieve this balance is through Asana (posture), Pranayama (breathing) and Meditation. Toxins are removed from muscle and joint by Proper Asana, carbon oxide is eliminated through Proper Pranayama and Proper Savasana achieves thorough rejunevation of all cells. Lastly, Proper Vegetarian advocates a vegetarian diet. (Angel Messenger 2014).

In conclusion, Ayurveda and Yoga share a lot of similarities. Both focus on the patient as a whole rather than symptoms or disease. Their foundation base on the capability of the individual for self-healing. Moreover, health is not just free from disease or symptoms; health is the harmony of mind and body. On the other hand, both Yoga and Ayurveda are needed in order to achieve a truly holistic and healing approach to healing. In which, Ayurveda provides the medical foundation and Yoga the spiritual aspect and practice.

Image 1.1 – Tridoshas and the combination (Ingram I.)

Question 2:

In my opinion, health is the energy and vitality to enable a person live to his fullest potential. It is the state of not only free from all illness, injuries but also no physical, mental or social hindrance preventing him from executing his daily routine and life goals. Disease is any condition whether physical, mental or social well-being that causes pain, dysfunction, distress, social problems, or death to the person afflicted. Disease inhibits a person to live his life as he sees fit. Therefore, a person, who has a disability prevent him from normal walking but accepts it, uses a wheel chair and lives a happy life, is an absolutely healthy person.

A similarity of this definition and the definition of Ayurveda is that health is a state, which enables a person to function normally, and disease is a condition that inhibits it. On the other hand, the difference between two definitions probably lies in the importance of state of mind, or acceptance of a condition. Given if the condition is stable and contained, even though it cannot be completely cured, an acceptance state of mind is the difference between a healthy and ill person.

Reference:

(1) altMD Smart Alternatives, What is Ayurveda, viewed 01 April 2014, < http://www.altmd.com/Articles/What-Is-Ayurveda>. (2) Misani, K (dir.) 2007, Secrets of Ayurveda, altMD Smart Alternatives, (3) Reading 4.2 - Patwardhan, B et al 2005 ‘Ayurveda and TCM: A comparative overview’, eCAM pp. 1-9 (4) Ram, Singh 2010, Exploring issues in the development of Ayurvedic research methodology, Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, Vol. 1, Issue 2 p. 91-95. (5) Wicke, R. 1995, A world history of herbology and medical herbalism: oppressed arts, History of Herbologym, Herbalism (6) ABC of Yoga, History of Yoga - A Complete Overview of the Yoga History, viewed 02 April 2014, < http://www.abc-of-yoga.com/beginnersguide/yogahistory.asp> (7) Angel Messenger, A Beginner’s Guide to Yoga and Meditation, viewed 04 April 2014, < http://www.angelmessenger.net/wp-content/uploads/beginners-guide-to-yoga-meditation.pdf> (8) Ingram, Ivy, The Tridosha – Ayurveda Foundations #2, viewed 03 April 2014, < http://ayurvedaintranslation.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/the-tridosha-ayurveda-f

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