THE WORLD WITHIN
‘Mind, soul and body, these three are like a tripod; the World sustained by their combination. This is the subject matter of this Veda (Ayurveda); it is for this that this Veda is brought to light’
Charaka Samhita. Sutrasthana. 1.46-47
This work book is written as an at home guide for Yogis but anyone can learn and start using the principles of Ayurveda to enhance their at home health care plans.
Ayurveda is often considered the sister science of Yoga. Traditionally, Ayurveda and Yoga would be taught alongside each other as Ayurveda and Yoga are both methods of attaining the four goals of life; Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha and illness is seen as an obstacle to enjoyment of these four aims.
‘Good health stands at the very root of virtuous acts, acquirement of wealth, gratification of desire and final emancipation. Diseases are destroyers of health, well being and life. This has manifested itself as a great obstacle in the way of human life.’
Charaka Samhita. Sutrasthana. 1.15-17
The first aim, Dharma, leads all the others. Dharma, meaning Nature/ Virtue is our calling or our duty. What was it that you were born to do? This is your first activity for the book, as every other Ayurvedic and Yogic pursuit follows behind this. Here is a simple exercise allowing the Nature of the self to be expressed, if only momentarily, so that you may glimpse the life that you are born for. What is it that you can do easily? That you’ve been doing since you were little, that no one taught you how to do? What you would do even if you earned no money at all, just because of the sheer joy it brings you? We all have a core of the heart, burning, innermost deepest held desire that has brought us into the material World. What do you know that no one else knows? What no one could ever take away from you? It is as much you as your breath. It is the intimate wealth that you offer the World around you. It is the only thing in life that can bring you Peace. What is this which would be your highest daily practice!? One traditional meaning of Ayurveda is the truth of mankind and one traditional meaning of Yoga is that which is already united into one. Knowledge and practice of both is a practice of love towards ourselves and the World around us. I think of the serenity prayer when I muse on this. God, give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (Yoga) and the courage to change the things I can (Ayurveda) and the wisdom to know the difference. Yoga and Ayurveda invite us to step back into our true nature and to share this through our choices, relationships, work and our connection to the Divine. Ayurveda, like Yoga, is a daily practice (Dinacharya).
This ebook is in the format of a manual/ workbook guiding you into using the principles of Ayurveda in your everyday life. First things first. We need to know the language of Ayurveda. I don’t mean Sanskrit. Here, I am talking about the language of guna. Guna means quality. It is the way we describe the world around us as we take information in through the senses. Remember! It is not important to learn each Sanskrit word (there will always be English translations next to them. But for those of you that would like to, learning the Sanskrit words will help when you read other Ayurvedic literature.
THE LANGUAGE OF AYURVEDA
Please take out your pen and fill in the questions below. Your answers in this work-book will become your own personal guide into the world of Ayurveda.
Please describe to me (using three adjectives only):
- The weather outside today (i.e. cold, wet, hot, dry, etc) ______________________
- The qualities of your last meal (i.e. oily, heavy, cold, sparse, etc) ______________________
- Your favorite person (warm, dry, loving, kind, etc) ______________________
- Your least favorite person (cold, hard, intimidating, etc) ______________________
Of course, you have listed a number of qualities. These are Guna. Ayurveda states twenty definitive guna in its ancient text. The twenty Guna are the key to Ayurvedic diagnosis and treatment! Guna means quality, merit or worth. These twenty Guna are paired in ten opposites.[ 1]
The English translation is given on the top line. The Sanskrit word is given beside this. There are other examples of how we may intimate these qualities with our language along with traditional Ayurvedic explanations of that particular Guna/ quality. As you work you will find that Ayurveda is a subject that is felt rather than memorized…………………..
Ayurveda for the Yogi Home is available here and here.