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The Relationship Between Yoga, Ayurveda, and Mental Health

Updated: Feb 11, 2021

By Claudia Carballal

December 10, 2020

As a life coach with a Vedic counseling background and a focus on Yoga psychology, I am equally interested in Yoga and Ayurveda for mental health. When people refer to Yoga, they think of the Yoga asanas or exercises. However, Yoga asanas are only a small portion of what the entire body of Yoga science offers.

Similarly, when people refer to Ayurveda, they think primarily of Panchakarma treatments and nutrition for body detox. Although Ayurveda is a wonderful alternative medicine method for healing and rejuvenation of the body, Ayurvedic treatments and approaches also have a direct effect on the mind and overall well-being of a person.

Ayurvedic Psychology: Providing Balance for Mental Health

We refer to Ayurvedic Psychology as the area of Ayurveda that focuses on improving mental health and psychological well-being. Because the mind and body are interconnected, when there is a cleansing of body toxins and waste product, there is also a purification of the mind, and vice versa. Treating our body from the inside and outside has an impact on our mental health. Our state of mind has an impact on our body.

Yoga and Ayurveda, both branches of the Vedic sciences, treat a person's body, mind, and spirit. Ayurveda's behavioral and lifestyle approaches include methods that are oriented at improving and maintaining mental health.

Some of these methods for psychological health include:



~Pranayama (breathing techniques).

~Ayurvedic herbs for the mind.

~Daily rituals that enhance psychological health and overall well-being.

Dr. David Frawley, a Pandit Vamadeva Shastri, Author, Teacher of Vedic studies, and Doctor of Ayurveda, says that Ayurveda "is inherently as much a psychological therapy as a physical treatment. Its emphasis on reducing the doshas and improving sattva guna provides it with a foundation on both levels."

Our Natural State is Health

Ayurvedaa 5000-year-old system of natural medicine in India—is considered a time tested, scientifically proven approach to health. Ayurveda prevents and cures disease and maintains health of both body and mind. According to Ayurveda, our natural state is health, happiness, and well-being. Health is present when the body is clear of toxins, the mind is at peace, and emotions are calm and positive. In Ayurveda, we intend to bring a person back to a state of peace and harmony in both mind and body.

"Ayurveda is inherently as much a psychological therapy as a physical treatment. Its emphasis on reducing the doshas and improving sattva guna provides it with a foundation on both levels." ~ David Frawley

My Learning Experience with Ayurveda

During two of my visits to India to study traditional Yoga and Ayurveda, I had the opportunity to learn from local Ayurvedic Doctors and Ayurvedic Practitioners at PDI— an Ayurvedic Clinic and Yoga Center in India. It was a wonderful experience to observe Ayurvedic Practitioners collect herbs and products from the local markets and prepare herbal oils and natural treatments in-house.

Equally rewarding was to directly observe the effect that these medicinal and detoxifying treatments have on the client's well-being and state of mind.

The natural surroundings, vegetarian meals, Yoga sessions, comfortable accommodations, and the warmth of the clinic's staff, provided a quiet and peaceful environment for cleansing, healing, and rejuvenation.

Some of the basic treatment methods that we learn in Ayurveda include:

Abhyanga: a two-person synchronized herbal oil massage. The herbal oil is made with ingredients that are best suited for the client's goals and treatment.

Shirodhara: herbal oil is warmed up and slowly poured over the person's forehead.

Udhulana: dusting of the body with herbs and other natural ingredients for exfoliation, cleansing, and detox.

Shiro Abhyanga: head massage with herbal oils.

Nasya: nasal oil therapy with curative and preventive effects.

Until the next one, stay healthy!



Claudia Carballal, founder of InnerWellbeing, works as a coach-guide-teacher of Yogic Spirituality, mental health, and various healing modalities. With traditional training in India and the USA, Claudia's work covers a variety of topics including Yoga, Psychology, Vedanta, Ayurveda, Kriya, and Jnana. For more than 20 years, Claudia has helped thousands of people through change, healing, and recovery in the areas of mental health, human rights and international law. For the past three years, Claudia studies a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and is doing her clinical experience with a local organization. For daily inspiration, join her on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or join InnerWellbeing's Mailing List!

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