Fun-damentals of the Vedic Sciences

How does health serve to align me (and YOU) with the best version of my-Self?

Where do I start?

How do I serve?

These are all questions I have been contemplating over the past couple of months.

I have been brainstorming a million ways to help make the depth of wisdom contained within the Vedic sciences applicable to our modern lives.

I started with the basics. Like a new name -  Ayurv-Erica – clever, huh? ;) 

And we have a new platform (yay Squarespace!).

And even a new logo.

[Om Aim Saraswatyai Namah, with deepest reverence to the Divine knowledge and Divine teachers. *see below for explanation*]

But behind all of these details, I have been stuck. 

I have been pondering how do to take a 5000-year-old worldview and translate it into our modern worldview. To be honest, in a lot of ways it doesn’t translate.  So instead I will share how I began to see with new eyes.  And perhaps my story will be of benefit.

I will walk you through the processes I have used in my daily life to create more health and wellness, starting with the fun-damentals.  I know we have a tendency to become excited by the exotic and want to learn the most complex practices first.  I can tell you, I was (okay, in some ways, I still am) attracted to Yoga and Ayurveda in that way too. 

 
 

 

My first experience with Yoga and Ayurveda came through one of Pattabhi Jois’ direct disciples, Lisa Schrempp. 

I had the honor of volunteering at a yoga studio in which she taught.  I was tasked with setting up the altar in exchange for classes.  It seemed like such a small effort to be graced with the depth of knowledge that was received.

On the superficial level, I had a super toned, lean body, and could bend into all sorts of contortions.  On a deeper level, it was through this experience that the seeds were planted as introductions to the Vedic scriptures of the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. 

And while this was very much a worthwhile effort, in order to truly experience the benefits of Yoga and Ayurveda, for my own personal journey, I had to take a few steps back, and start at the beginning.

You know, I was not very aware of myself at this stage.  I can now see that living in Arizona, with a Pitta (fiery) predominate constitution, the form of hatha (physical) yoga I was practicing, especially without the strict adherence to the ethical foundations, was not beneficial for me. 

Now, let’s be clear here, this is not to say that it is not beneficial to others.   In my case, I found myself becoming more critical.  Feelings of jealousy and anger were arising.  With the understanding I have no, these are all considered Pitta (hot) emotions. 

Of course, I didn’t know this at the time.  Retrospect is 20/20.

So what is yoga?  And what are these fundamentals we speak of?

 
Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha
— Yoga Sutras 1.2
 

This is the defining sutra on Yoga.  It means, Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations in the mind.

 
Sat Chit Ananda
— Truth, Conciousness, Bliss
 

After being exposed to Vedanta, a form of philosophy deeply connected to yoga, I found this to be a wonderful guiding principle.  The goal of yoga being to experience Truth, Consciousness, Bliss. 

I had a very superficial understanding of these definitions at the time, but  it was this Bliss thing I really got stuck on. 

I realized on some level that external objects did not provide this everlasting happiness.  But where to begin?

Since Yoga and Ayurveda are tools for Self-knowledge and Self-awareness, it became imperative for my progression to start doing the internal work.  It became imperative to find my Bliss.  After all, that is all we want anyway.

So how does this relate to Ayurveda? 

Ayurveda is defined as the science (veda) of life (ayur).  In Sanskrit, health is defined as svestha, or establishment of the self in the Self.  Ultimately, we are healthy when we have strong self-esteem (self) and are aware of our intimate connection with the Divine (Self).

So to begin our deep dive into Ayurveda, since this is where I began, we will actually begin with Yoga.

Ashtanga is defined as eight (ashta) limbed (anga).  Yoga means “to yoke”, or union.

It is the eightfold path to union. 

Therefore, Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga gives us the eightfold path – the path to Self-Realization, to Health, to Wholeness, Peace and Happiness.

Our mind is intimately (more than we realize….) tied to our health.  So our first steps to wellness will be the use of the basics of Yoga.  I would like to take you through each step and give some reflection on what I have learned from my teachers and through direct experience along the way.

The 8 steps as classically defined are:

  1. Yamas – external disciplines (like, be nice, tell the truth… you know, the universal codes of right and wrong)

  2. Niyamas – internal disciplines (HOW to think)

  3. Asana – postures (what we think of when we think of yoga)

  4. Pranayama – breath control (the breath is intimately tied with the mind)

  5. Pratyahara – control of the prana by withdrawl of the senses (our 5 senses take us away from our internal Self)

  6. Dharana – Concentration

  7. Dhyana – Mediation

  8. Samadhi – Self-Realization, Wholeness, Peace

Guys, it wasn’t until 2014, when I began to examine my beliefs, my thought patterns and habits that yoga really proved its worth beyond the external nice-bod.  I cannot begin to explain how much more fulfilled my life has become due to these simple, albeit difficult, practices.

Join me as I take you, one step at a time, through the timeless Vedic wisdom to health, happiness and prosperity.   

Join me as I share my continued journey to find my Bliss.

Add your address below to be notified of any new content, and as I begin to launch various projects on this site.  I am so looking forward to sharing with you all, what I have learned, through Grace.

Om Aim Saraswatyai Namah

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

 

*Saraswati in the Hindu tradition represents the Divinity of Knowledge and it dispels the darkness of ignorance.  The symbol is used in the new logo. In an effort to remain humble to this knowledge, we express our reverence.*