Doshas are a fundamental concept in Ayurveda & Yoga. They describe the physical body as a manifestation of spirit and matter. They are very useful tool for assessing health and illness of the body in a way that relates to Vedic philosphy and Yoga tools. They offer a fresh and holistic perspective for personal observation. They can also be confusing and misleading – so we’ll be taking small and careful steps as we explore them.
Doshas tell a story of a Fire that we all have burning inside. This fire is intricately related to a Yogic energy system of the body. Understanding this relationship is a key to understanding, and avoiding misunderstanding of the Doshas. An understanding of the purpose of the fire within is an anchor for exploring the Doshas.
There is a natural tendency to associate Fire with energy – the hotter the fire and more intense the flames, the more energy is generated. In Yoga the relationship between fire and energy is more subtle and elaborate:
- First we need to recall that in Yoga, energy is about quality and not about quantity. We have a given and fixed capacity for energy. “Low Energy” is actually defused energy. “High Energy” is actually concentrated energy.
- Second we need to recall that in Yoga energy flows through channels (called Nadis) in the body. Concentrated energy is experienced when the channels are open and energy can flow freely. Defused energy is experienced when there are blockages that prevent the energy from flowing freely.
- Cakras are major junctions of energy channels, when they are blocked they are called Granthis – literally translated as knots. Healing occurs when energy can flow freely, illness occurs when it’s blocked.
Therefore Yoga practices are not about creating more energy. Yoga practices are designed to remove blockages and obstacles that prevent the flow of energy. This is purification which is achieved through the use of fire. Yoga practices effect the fire that burns within – a good practice will foster a steady and healthy fire. A healthy fire purifies – removes obstacles that inhibit the flow of energy throughout the body. A healthy fire means we sleep well, digest well & excrete well – in body and mind.
As we continue to explore Doshas, please keep in mind that we are not aiming to increase energy but intervening in a more elaborate relationship of elements:
Fire Purifies >>>Clearing the Channels >>> Energy Flows Better