Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine & Surgery (B.A.M.S.), a Master of Ayurvedic Science (M.A.Sc.) and his academic and practical training includes the study of allopathic medicine (Western Medicine). In the U.S., he is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the Ayurvedic Institute, which he founded in 1984. Vasant Lad is the author of numerous books and respected throughout the world for his knowledge of Ayurveda.
You’re known to say that a good Ayurveda practitioner should understand and practice yoga and that a Yogi should be familiar with Ayurveda. Why?
Ayurveda and yoga, both are very ancient healing systems that originated in India. Both have roots in Vedic philosophy and help to achieve a wholesome happy life. Yoga is a union of the lower self with the higher self. The goals of Yoga and Ayurveda are the same; Dharma, Hatha, Karma and Moksha. Dharma means righteous duty. Hatha means monetary success. Karma means fulfillment of positive desire. And Moksha means enlightenment, realization, self realization.
In order to achieve all four pillars of light, a person must have a healthy body, mind, prana, and consciousness. These can be achieved by combining Ayurveda and yoga. Ayurveda and yoga are concurrent and inherent healing systems. Yoga heals through Asana, Pranayama and meditation. Ayurveda heals through panchakarma (detox program), rejuvenation, herbs, and proper diet and lifestyle regimen. That is why a Yogi who doesn’t know Ayurveda, he is a half Yogi and Ayurvedic physician who doesn’t know yoga, he’s a half physician. Ayurveda and yoga go hand in hand. They are two sides of the same coin.
Ayurveda says that a poor digestion is the root cause of many diseases. However, modern doctors rarely ask about diet and digestion. Why is digestion so important in ayurveda?
Ayurveda talks a great deal about digestion and Agni. Agni means gastric fire, enzymes, and metabolism. A healthy strong Agni is really important for maintaining health. If Agni is low, then food will not be digested properly and undigested food will create toxic morbid metabolic waste. Undigested waste products create AMA – an ayurvedic term for toxins. According to ayurveda, Ama is the root cause of all disease. Ama is very sticky by nature and clogs up internal channels in the body. Toxins accumulated in the body weaken the immune system and we become vulnerable to infections; they adversely effect our digestion and eventually can lead to serious neurological problems. As you can see, low digestive fire (agni) and excess production of toxins in the body is the main reason that we get sick according to ayurveda. Ayurveda put a great emphasis on maintaining a healthy efficient digestion and elimination.
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