Ayurveda and Yoga
An interview of Sophia Maamouri
By Lisa Rockenmacher
From the Yoga Life Institute.
Sophia loves sharing what she has learned over the years and the healing tools that Ayurveda provides. She is an Ayurvedic practitioner at her own private practice, Blue Heron Synergy, based in Portland, Maine.
Ayurveda, being the "science of life" teaches us how to live simply and in balance by understanding ourselves and our environment. Sophia believes that health is the free expression of our true Nature. Her retreats offer the opportunity to explore your body/mind/spirit unit using Ayurvedic concepts that include tools for self-care, diet, and lifestyle for your particular constitution.
Tell us about yourself and how you found your way to the study and practice of yoga and Ayurveda:
Ayurveda has helped me to understand myself on a much deeper level and put my life in perspective. It has helped me to find some of the missing pieces of my puzzle! It is actually through Ayurveda that I found yoga, not that I did not know about yoga or did not take classes beforehand, but as part of my Ayurvedic training program we had to commit to practice yoga everyday 6:30-8:00am. At the time, this was a scary thing for me to commit to because waking up before 7:30 was torture. Obviously, it worked out in the end as I am now a certified yoga teacher and participating in the yoga therapy certification program here at YogaLifeNH.
How would you describe Ayurveda and its relationship to yoga?
Ayurveda is "a science of life." It is an ancient holistic system of health that is about 5000 years old based on nature. The wonderful aspect of Ayurveda that makes it unique is that it looks at the human being as a particular individual with its own characteristics and its own energy. The principals of Ayurveda are extremely useful in daily life because they teach us how to keep balanced and prevent disease. Yoga and Ayurveda are twin sisters! We really cannot separate them! Yoga is an integral part of the Ayurvedic treatments.
Do you have any quotes, book excerpts, or definitions about Ayurveda that inspire or guide you?
This is a difficult question because we are lucky to have so many inspiring teachers in the U.S like Dr. Lad, Dr. Douillard, Dr. Joshi to name a few. I was lucky to study with them at Kripalu and at the Ayurvedic Center in New Mexico. All of them have written excellent books!
My favorite quote at the moment is: "The body is a mandala, if you look into it you see the source of endless revelation. Without embodiment there is no foundation for enlightenment " by Dr. Tsampa Ngawang, who is a Tibetan doctor. Ayurvedic and Tibetan medicine are closely related.
My favorite Ayurvedic proverb is: "When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need".
What is an Ayurvedic practice that you would recommend?
Ayurveda recommends certain daily and seasonal routines for everyone to stay healthy, like scraping of the tongue in the morning, using a neti pot to clean nasal passages, and self-oiling or abhyanga to name a few.
But for each of the practices, it depends on the person! Everyone has different imbalances and presents particular challenges so there is no one size fits all recipe; what I seek to do in individual sessions, is to give people enough tools so they can start to apply a few simple and profound principles to their daily lives. Life is like a laboratory and we have to experiment and see the cause and effects. For me, that is the wonder of Ayurveda. It gives us the tools and empowers us to take our health in our own hands. That is, if we listen soon enough before the imbalances becomes diseases. The principles and practices of Ayurveda help us to sustain and maintain health and wellness throughout our lives.
It is easier to stay well than get well.