In what ways are Yoga and Ayurveda linked?
Yoga and Ayurveda are sister sciences of each other that share two very similar paths, almost like being two sides to the same coin.
With many overlaps between the two as both share the same origin and goal of the traditional Vedic system of health care, which is to gain better health through a complete union or integration with the mind, body and soul - towards a reconnection to one’s true nature and spiritual truth. Yoga seeks this through spiritual and practical practices whereas Ayurveda seeks it through more healing modalities.
Yoga is the practice by which the body and mind are prepared for liberation and eventual enlightenment, whereas Ayurveda provides pathways to keep the mind and body healthy - we can start to see how they work to support each other.
Both yoga and Ayurveda work to be in harmony with nature and acknowledge that we are intrinsically linked to our environment. Some of the common principles between yoga and Ayurveda are that they are both based upon the three maha gunas - Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. With this approach (which includes the 5 great elements - air, ether, fire, water, earth) yoga and Ayurveda seek to attain the health of the body and mind through equilibrium of the Doshas (which are groups of mind/body types that come under the umbrella of the maha gunas). Both Yoga and Ayurveda uphold that we are not just physical matter, but that we spiritual beings ourselves (atma) and are connected to the universe and the Supreme Soul (Para-atma).
The way they seek this balance and union is just a little different to each other. For instance, yoga is wonderful for dissolving the physical stress and calms the mind, leading into a meditation - all of which are a part of the Ayurvedic principal of a daily routine (Dhinacharya). Yoga asanas tone the body, helps cleanse the organs of toxins (ama), and there are a variety of postures which help balance each dosha - principals found in Ayurveda but perhaps attained a little differently. Ayurveda may look at achieving these physical detoxifying benefits through herbs, or oil massages such as abhyanga or even lifestyle choices. They work like natural, complimentary counterparts of a whole system.
Yoga and Ayurveda are indeed pieces of the same puzzle that provide an amazing natural, sensible approach to well-being and healing which leads to union with the greater spirit and universe. They both empower the individual to actively engage in their well-being and spiritual growth in any given circumstance! To have come from an ancient Vedic texts and yet hold true in this current day is but truly a formidable set of practices. How lucky are we that what was old is new again?