Ayurveda is an ancient holistic system of healing, which looks to the elements in nature and their relationship to the human body as a means to determine a way to return them to harmony with one another.
It is primarily preventative and functional in nature, although remedies and treatments for existing illnesses (thought of as ‘imbalances’ in Ayurveda) exist and can have very positive effects on existing imbalances.
The goal is, and always has been, simple;.
To balance out the unique combination of the Pancha Mahabhutus (or 5 Great Elements) – Earth, Water, Fire, Air & Ether – within each individual system, using aspects of Diet (Ahar), lifestyle routines (Dinacharya), Yoga Asana, Pranayama, Meditation and Ayurvedic principles to do so.
Ayurveda looks at the human body, mind & spirit as part of a whole – our individual bodily systems all working together in tandem to create a balanced being. It is this holistic approach which makes Ayurveda so condusive to yoga practice – in fact, Ayurveda was initially developed within the context of Yoga.
Many of the practices Ayurveda promotes are practiced in order to prepare the mind and body for advanced yoga (and specifically, meditation) practices. In this way we can see that having a prior knowledge and practice of Ayurveda lends itself hugely to deepening our practice of yoga.