Ayurveda is the science, and yoga is the practice of the science.- An Ayurvedic doctor
Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paved the way for a separate ministry (AAYUSH) to look after Ayurveda, yoga and other traditional health sciences in India. In light of this increased focus, experts of these healing disciplines explain how yoga and Ayurveda can be beneficial to an individual’s health.
“People practise yoga to be healthy, both physically as well as mentally. It works wonders for those who have back pain and lifestyle-related problems. Yoga can also help people in quitting smoking, curing insomnia or migraines and boosting confidence,” says yoga expert Deepak Jha, founder of Prana Yoga. “Yoga is beneficial in many ways,” says Dr. Anu Gupta, a Delhi-based weight loss specialist. “One of the lifestyle problems is stress which can further aggravate diseases such as obesity, infertility, heart problems as well as disturb the digestive system. There is a strong link between stress and digestion. Our body produces a hormone called cortisol that’s released when we’re stressed. The trouble is that excess of cortisol remains in the body if you’re under chronic stress and it contributes to excess belly fat.”
The solution, she says, is conscious breathing, which “is a powerful tool that can transform your life and help you shed pounds in the process. Conscious breathing turns on the parasympathetic response, which ensures better digestion, absorption and assimilation.” On how Ayurveda can work to strengthen the body, Dr. Partap Chauhan, director of Jiva Ayurveda, says: “Ayurveda works on the root cause of the disease and is, therefore, able to cure the problem permanently. The medicines are made from natural herbs and minerals which, if taken in proper dosage, do not have any side effects.” The most common ailments for which people, according to him, choose the Ayurvedic route are diabetes, arthritis, skin diseases, hair fall, acne, digestive disorders, asthma, high blood pressure, depression and anxiety, etc.
“The treatment methods include medicinal, where we give internal medicines to neutralise the increased dosha (a fundamental bodily humour whose lack of balance can lead to diseases). In addition to medicines, the patient is also advised diet and lifestyle changes, exercises, relaxation techniques, breathing regimes and meditation. All these form a part of Ayurvedic treatment. Another type of treatment is ‘Panchakarma’ which focuses on detoxification. Depending on the disease, the patient is made to undergo special detox treatments. In addition, special oil massages, potli massages, shirodhara (pouring oil on the forehead), nasya (putting medicated oil in the nose) and steaming treatments are also done,” he concludes.