Transitioning to Ayurveda and Yoga
Ayurveda and Yoga are built on this model of change followed by rest. This is why panchakarma includes a rejuvenation period after the toxins have been released. It’s the reason we do savasana at the end of a Yoga asana practice. By allowing this ebb and flow in our growth, we follow nature -- seasons of growth are followed by seasons of stillness.
Why drastic change brings imbalance
The ego, which is at the root of attachment, makes us blind to anything but our attachments. This blindness is damaging to ourselves and those around us. This is true even if the goals we are attached to were created in the name of health or spiritual development. But you can reach goals without allowing the ego to lead. When you are connected to your higher self, you can move toward your intention at a steady pace without attachment to what will happen afterward.
It’s simple to know if your ego or higher self is in charge: Just pay attention to the tone of the voice guiding you. If your goal is to do 108 surya namaskar once a week, your ego will demand that you fly through the poses so you can check the accomplishment off your list. The voice of your higher self will be softer, reminding you to pay attention to your breath and alignment (read our tutorial on adho mukha svanasana, downward dog).
Following the voice of the ego will lead to injury and disharmony. But listen to your higher self and you will deepen your practice and expand beyond your current abilities.
Steps to begin
If you want to deepen your journey toward health this year, here are a few ideas:
- Take three days of kitchadi (or sign up for Panchakarma Home Therapy when the weather is warm where you are). By resetting agni, digestive fire, you clear the subtle channels in your body and mind. The world then opens up in beautiful and profound ways.
- Add one new practice this month. Work on a new asana that challenges your mind or add bhramari pranayama before your morning meditation.
- Stock your kitchen with tools that make cooking easier, like a pressure cooker. Initiate yours with our recipe for Ayurvedic hummus. Cooking chickpeas fresh will make you feel far better than anything that comes from a can.
Here’s one final practice that I’d like to suggest you do as you are embarking on any transition: Take a picture of yourself at the beginning. Then in a few months, take another. Look for the physical and energetic shifts. Is your smile softer now that you’ve calmed pitta dosha? Are some of your “worry lines” fading as you have learned to cultivate more samtosha, contentment? Use these photos to document your progress and remind you whenever doubt lingers in your mind.
When you point yourself in the direction of sattva, balance and harmony, positive change is inevitable. Be open to the journey, be gentle with yourself along the way and enjoy the process of remembering your true self.