For decades, seekers of truth have taken pilgrimages to India in search of wisdom and spirituality – and with good reason. With its vast array of cultures and religions, India offers an equally diverse range of healing traditions, many of which have been adapted and popularized by the West. Little wonder that India is now home to some of the world’s best destination wellness retreats, spas and yoga ashrams. Here are 3 healing traditions of India to explore….
India is home to one of the world’s oldest medicine systems known as Ayurveda, ‘the science of life’. Ayurveda is based on a ‘prevention is better than cure’ holistic approach to health. It’s an intelligent model that considers all aspects of wellness including food and nutrition, yoga, meditation, tantra, treatments and massage, herbal medicine and even acupuncture. Ayurveda is based on the understanding that our health thrives when we are in balance with our mind, body and spirit and is fast gaining respect as one of the most important health systems in modern times.
There’s no denying that most cultures have their own variation of spiritual practices such as meditation. That said, it’s widely understood that the oldest record of meditation does originate from India (apparently several thousand years BCE). When we think of meditation we may imagine ourselves sitting cross-legged with our eyes closed chanting OM. However, the practices of meditation are wide and varied. Some of these include chanting mantras, walking, silence, as well as Buddhist, Vipassana, and even prayer. Whatever your choice, a regular meditation practice is said to build inner calm, centeredness and inspire a more balanced perspective towards life. Om!
Yoga is an ancient system of relaxation and exercise that helps to promote flexibility, circulation, awareness and peace of mind. Similar to Ayurveda, there’s an increasing amount of evidence-based research into the benefits of yoga. There are hundreds of yoga movement postures recorded in the early Sanskrit scriptures yet it’s important to remember that meditation and pranayama breathing are also an essential part of yoga. While yoga is a personal experience and no two practices are ever the same, most people with a regular yoga practice report they feel stronger, grounded, clearer and calmer – see you on the mat!