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Growing Around Obstacles

Jiva Ananda Yoga

"Jiva" means the eternal living being--
you and me and all living things
"Ananda" means perfect and
 endless pleasure or bliss
"Yoga" is the science of achieving union
 with the Eternal Truth

Jiva Ananda Yoga teaches that the true
happiness of the living being is to be
reunited in loving service with the
 Absolute Truth and all living beings


by Jivan

    Ayurveda, which means the science of life, shares the same understanding of reality as yoga. Yoga teaches that the jiva, the purely spiritual living being, is covered by gross and subtle material bodies while in the material dimension. Ayurveda teaches how these gross and subtle material coverings are constituted and how the jiva can best deal with these coverings to attain the goal of life. The goal of life is for the jivatma, or soul, to become purified of all material coverings and return to her primal state of eternal existence, pure unlimited consciousness and uninterrupted happiness, or bliss--sat-chit-ananda. A healthy body and peaceful mind help us reach this goal of life.

   The life force, chaitanya in sanskrit, manifests in 3 modalities called prana--the primal life force, tejas--inner radiance,  and ojas--primal vigor. Prana, tejas and ojas are often referred to as the subtle forms of the three doshas: vata, pitta and kapha. I think it more accurate to think of the doshas, which literally means "stains", as the shadow forms of prana, tejas and ojas. The embodied soul, or jivatma, cannot perceive the life force itself with the material senses, so in our "shadow" consciousness we deal with what we can perceive--the "shadows" or doshas of vata, pitta and kapha. Most people who have any understanding at all of ayurveda know of the doshas and may know that they themselves have bodies that have a predominantly vata, pitta or kapha nature, or prakriti.

    The dosha of the yogis affect everything they do, and an inbalance in the doshas in their bodies or minds cause distress, lack of focus and bodily disease. Likewise, yoga asanas are a very important part of ayurvedic treatment, to help balance the doshas and clear the subtle channels in the body. This is why we stress that students in Jiva Ananda Yoga are familiar with their dosha type and  practice the specific yoga asanas in the proper way to bring their bodies and minds into better alignment with their spiritual goal.

    Ayurveda is a deep and complex practice which can literally take lifetimes to master. We are fortunate here in Santa Fe to have access to many experienced and knowledgable ayurvedic practitioners with whom our students can consult to learn more about how ayurveda can help them in their yoga practice. I am personally training under Dr. David Frawley to become a certified Ayurvedic Lifestyle Counselor. In our free classes, we use Dr. Frawley's book Yoga for Your Type to help students determine their dosha and find the best asanas to use in their yoga practice.

Want to know your predominant dosha? Find it HERE.
    Ayurveda Challenge