Yoga, Ayurveda and Tantra
Every embodied individual is composed of a body, a mind and a spirit. India’s ancient seers (rishis) organized the wisdom, which became the Science of Life, into three bodies of knowledge. Ayurveda deals mainly with the physical body, Yoga deals mainly with the spirit, and Tantra is mainly concerned with the mind. All three disciplines share the same philosophy.
Ayurveda is the Vedic science for healing the body and mind and was designed for those individuals who want enjoy the world healthily. Ayurveda possesses a long history with many layers, much diversity and continuous development that makes it relevant for all people and all time. That most remarkable holistic system in the world includes all methods of healing from diet, herbs and exercise and lifestyle regimens to yogic practices and meditation. It shows us how to understand the language of nature, so that we can live in harmony with the grater universe.
Yoga is the Vedic science of Self-realization that covers the entire field of our existence – from physical postures, ethical disciplines, breath control, sensory methods, affirmations and visualizations, prayer and mantra (sounds), and complex meditative disciplines. Its main concern is spiritual practice, mainly through meditation to take us beyond the sorrow and ignorance of the world. It teaches us how to move from our outer bodily and ego-bound identity to our immortal self that dwells within the heart.
Tantra literally means technology and refers to various techniques of yoga including mantra (sounds), yantra (geometric meditation forms), visualization and worship. Tantra is an energetic approach teaching us how to work with energy on a subtle level. The sexual tantra is part of the vamachara or “left-handed” tantra that employs practices not considered to be dharmic or pure, including indulgence in sex, meat, and fish. It is considered appropriate for individuals who have not yet advanced to the stage of higher yoga. It is always important to start where you are in life. But such tantra should not be confused with higher tantric yoga practices that proceed through mantra and meditation and follow the way of renunciation. In Tantra we find the clearest description of the subtle body, its energy centers (chakras), and the higher forces like kundalini working through them.
TODAY’S TIP: It is easiest to harmonize the body-mind-spirit complex by starting with the body, which is relatively stable. Balance of the mind and spirit comes more easily once the body has been made firm and healthy.
Svoboda Robert E. Prakriti Your Ayurvedic constitution. Lotus Press, 2008
Frawley David. Self-Healing and Self-Realization. Lotus Press, 1999.