Book - Yoga and Ayurveda - Self-Healing and Self-Realization - Dr David Frawley

Book - Yoga and Ayurveda - Self-Healing and Self-Realization - Dr David Frawley

Yoga and Ayurveda - Self-Healing and Self-Realization
Author: Dr David Frawley
Publishers: Lotus Press, USA / Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, India
ISBN: 81-208-1879-2 (Paperback)

Excerpts from book-reviews

"Once again Dr David Frawley demonstrates his ability to make timeless wisdom relvant for the modern person. His new book illustrates why I consider David to be a true Rishi - knower of reality. Yoga and Ayurveda should be in the library of every serious student of Yoga and Vedic knowledge."
: Dr Deepak Chopra

"Yoga and Ayurveda impels, guides and teaches you how to connect our earthly physicality with our soulful aspirations, in the process teaching us the inner art of controlling our subtle energies."
: Hinduism Today

"Through a skillful exploration of the inner dimensions of these two great sister sciences, Dr David Frawley has performed a wonderful service to anyone seeking to restore wholeness in body, mind and spirit."
: Pandit Rajmani Tigunait
Spiritual Director of the Himalayan Institute

Prana (breath) is the main link between Yoga and Ayurveda.

Book excerpt

Chapter 9: Secrets of the Five Pranas

"All that exists in the three heavens rests in the control of Prana. As a mother her children, O Prana, protect us and give us splendor and wisdom." : Prashna Upanishad II.13

To change something we must alter the energy which creates it. This fact is true in the practice of Yoga as well as in Ayurveda.

To bring about positive changes in body and mind we must understand the energy through which they work. This is called prana in Sanskrit, meaning primary energy. It is sometimes translated as breath or vital force, though it is more than these.

While the subject of prana is common in yogic and ayurvedic thought, prana and its different subtypes are seldom examined in depth. For this reason, the vast and profound science of prana is rarely understood. In this chapter we will look into this force because prana is the main link between Yoga and Ayurveda.

There is an old Vedic story about prana that occurs in various Upanishads. The five main faculties of our nature - the mind, breath (prana), speech, ear and eye - were arguing with each other as to which was the best and most important. This reflects the ordinary human condition in which our faculties are not integrated but fight with each other, competing for their rule over our attention.

To resolve this dispute they decided that each would leave the body and see whose absence was most missed.

First speech left the body, but the body continued though mute. Next the eye left, but the body continued though blind. Next the ear left, but the body continued though deaf. Then the mind left, but the body continued though unconscious. Finally the prana began to leave the body and the body began to die and all the other faculties began to lose their energies. So all rushed to prana and told it to stay, lauding its supremacy. Clearly prana won the argument.

Prana gives energy to all our faculties, without which they cannot function. Prana takes the first place and without it we do not have the energy to do anything. The moral of this story is that to control all our faculties the key is the control of prana.

Prana is the master. Prana is the boss. It is the power of God within us. Without the sanction of prana nothing can be done at a voluntary or involuntary level in the body and mind. Unless we learn how to work with our prana, we cannot get anything done.

Prana has many levels of meaning - from the breath to the energy of consciousness itself. Prana is not only the basic life-force, it is the master form of all energy working on the levels of mind, life and body. Indeed the entire universe is a manifestation of prana, which is the original creative power...

Foreword by Georg Feuerstein, PhD, Director, Yoga Research Center

I have come to think of my friend David Frawley as a Hindu pundit in a Western body. This is well captured by his spiritual name Vamadeva Shastri.

In Sanskrit, a shastrin (nominative shastri) is a person learned in the shastras, the scholastic textbooks. David Frawley's entire thinking and life revolve around Indic culture and spirituality, and whenever I ask him any questions about Yoga, Ayurveda, or the Vedas, his knowledge (vijnana) and wisdom (jnana) invariably bubble forth like a refreshing spring. Since the early 1980s, he has made his insights into India's magnificent spiritual and medical traditions available to Western students through a series of publications.

This new book highlights the close connection between Yoga and Ayurveda, both of which are fundamental holistic disciplines. They intersect in the concept of somatic and pshycho-spiritual wholeness. Yoga focuses on spiritual integration through comprehensive health care culminating in openness to self-transcendence and self-realization.

One of the hallmarks of Yoga is balance, and thus practitioners of this ancient art and science must pay proper attention to both the body and the mind. Sometimes over-zealous Yoga enthusiasts seek to cultivate meditation and higher states of consciousness apart from the physical body, but the body is the ground for realizing enlightenment. If we don't take care of the body, it is likely to succumb to illness sooner or later. remember, we all have our karmas (read: genetic program and external life situations) to contend with!

In Yoga, illness is considered one of the obstacles to successful completion of the yogic process.

If you question this, try meditating with a toothache or while feeling sick to your stomach. It can be done, of course, but it presupposes considerable skill in concentration. Somatic imbalances readily give rise to mental disturbances, and vice versa.

Therefore, cultivating a strong, healthy body and training the mind should go hand in hand, and both pursuits should ideally be powered by a desire for self-realization.

Both Yoga and Ayurveda are enjoying immense popularity in the West at the moment. But both disciplines are also subject to considerable distortion. David Frawley's new book could not have been more timely. It offers a most valuable overview of the connecting points between Yoga and Ayurveda and shows how both disciplines are relevant to contemporary spiritual practice.

In particular, this book contains many helpful practical pointers, which will help you understand your constitutional type in ayurvedic terms. This, in turn, will assist you in choosing the right kind of yogic postural or meditation practice. The yogic path is intrinsically challenging, and wise practitioners welcome any information that will benefit them even a little bit.

Thus the typological knowledge of Ayurveda is one of the best-kept secrets of Yoga. If you make little progress on the yogic path, it is perhaps because you are on the wrong track. Understanding your constitutional type is important not only when determining your diet or a course of medical treatment but also when embarking on spiritual practice. All tracks are equally good and serviceable, but you must have the right axle width to fit on a given track and reach your destination smoothly and safely, or at all.

If you have arrived at the understanding that life is a pilgrimage that ends (or really begins) with enlightenment (moksha), then you will find this book to be an indispensable guide.

[Georg Feuerstein has authored several titles, including: The Shambhala Encyclopedia of Yoga, The Shamballa Guide to Yoga, Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy, etc.]

Anisha Sharma
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