Knowledge Center

Welcome to American Institute of Vedic Studies's Knowledge Center presenting articles on Yoga, Ayurveda, Mantra, Meditation and Vedanta by Dr David Frawley a.k.a. Acharya Vamadeva Shastri, Yogini Shambhavi and other associated scholars.

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Vairagya, Non-attachment and Ananda in Yoga

  Vairagya is one of the most important terms in the Yoga Sutras, which starting from the first Sutras of the text is emphasized as defining Yoga practice.  Vairagya is commonly translated as detachment or non-attachment. While these indicate aspects of Vairagya, they are approximations that can mislead us. Vairagya is an untranslatable term like Yoga, Dharma or Karma, with no real equivalent in the English language. We need to understand it directly to move into deeper Yoga practice, for which it is definitive.   Vairagya is the state of vi-raga, or absence of raga, which refers to attractions and cravings for anything external in the realm of body and mind. These are defined according to the three gunas of sattva, rajas and tamas, as the three basic factors behind the external world and its enjoyments, including mental, sensory and physical enjoyments, not only in the physical realm but in

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Managing Kapha Dosha Today

This is the third of our three articles on management of the three Doshas of Ayurveda in our difficult world situation today and the necessary lifestyle, attitude and behavioral changes involved.   Kapha dosha in Ayurveda is generally defined as the biological water humor but also has earthy characteristics. Kapha physical types tend to hold weight and water accordingly. They move more slowly and have a slower metabolism than the other types, but are more grounded, consistent and stable. They prefer to stay where they are and tend to avoid change, holding to and accumulating what they already have. This leads to inertia if their awareness is undeveloped but to a state of calm when their awareness is cultivated.   Kapha types most commonly suffer diseases of excess mucus and fluids, including disorders of the lungs and respiratory system. They more commonly develop overweight and obesity which further leads to

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Managing Pitta Dosha Today

This is the second of our three articles on management of the three Doshas of Ayurveda in our difficult world situation today, and  helpful lifestyle, attitude and behavioral changes to consider.   Pitta dosha is one of the three main biological forces and mind-body types at the basis of Ayurvedic medicine. Pitta is easy to understand as it primarily represents the fire element, the powers of heat, light, and digestion in the body and mind, which cause disease when in excess or when imbalanced.   Pitta type individuals are usually warm or hot in their overall energy, with a strong appetite and thirst, good circulation, sweat easily, and are sensitive to heat and sunlight. High Pitta causes diseases of acidity, fever, bleeding, and high blood pressure, including small intestine and liver disorders. High Pitta often brings rising heat to the head, but depending upon the circulation, can affect other parts

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Managing Vata Dosha Today

This is the first  of our three articles on management of the three Doshas of Ayurveda in our difficult world situation today and helpful lifestyle, attitude and behavioral changes to consider.   Vata dosha is the most disease-causing of the three Doshas or biological humors of Vata, Pitta and Kapha in Ayurvedic medicine. It represents the air element that tends to disturb us, unground us and remove us from the heavier elements Earth and Water elements that nurture and sustain our physical existence.   Vata types in their physical appearance are usually thin, low or variable in body weight, taller or shorter than average. They are sensitive, volatile, nervous and anxious, easily disturbed by the uncertainties and challenges of life, particularly those in our new time of stress in the high tech era and the many electrical stimuli around us. Yet we all can get disturbed in this stressful world

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Articles on Ayurveda

Consciousness and Immunity

Consciousness and Immunity Strong immunity is the basis for physical and mental health. It has ramifications outwardly relative to our social order and natural environment, and inwardly for our own deeper awareness. This includes karmic factors at individual and collective levels. A good immune system requires an expansive connection to Prana as the healing force of

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Everyone Should Learn Ayurveda

Ayurveda is a science and yoga of right living that can be widely used by everyone. Everyone can benefit from learning the basics of Ayurveda as part of understanding one’s body and mind, how nature works and the deeper Consciousness behind the universe.   Ayurveda has always been an integral part of Vedic education and

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Ayurvedic Astrology: Hinduism Today

Ayurvedic Astrology: Hinduism Today   With the Covid-19 era focusing humanity on wellness more than ever before, we present a little-known branch of knowledge—medical astrology. By Vamadeva Shastri Seeking knowledge: A mother holds a lamp aloft to illumine the cosmic darkness, to find answers for her life and her daughter’s among the distant stars. (Inset)

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Pranayama and Immunity

  Prana upholds the immunity of both body and mind. This power of prana is not simply the breath, with which it is related, but the deeper vital energy that sustains our entire embodied existence. Prana forms the subtle or energy body of the chakras, which gives life to the physical body, but also transcends

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Meditation in Yoga and Ayurveda

Meditation is the key practice of traditional Yoga and the prime factor behind an authentic Ayurvedic lifestyle. Meditation goes to the root of our consciousness and prana, connecting us to our higher Self and aligning us with the healing and transformational forces of the greater Self-aware universe. If we don’t meditate daily we lose our

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The Three Gunas: How to Balance Your Consciousness

Ayurveda provides a special language for understanding the primal forces of Nature and shows us how to work with them on all levels. According to Yoga and Ayurveda, Nature consists of three primal qualities, which are the main powers of Cosmic Intelligence that determine our spiritual growth. These are called gunas in Sanskrit, meaning “what

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Yoga and Ayurveda’s View of Depression and How to Overcome It

Depression is becoming epidemic, particularly in the affluent Western world. It is afflicting young and old, rich and poor, educated and uneducated alike. To counter it special anti-depressant drugs are being prescribed in ever increasing amounts, with new varieties regularly introduced into the market. Yet the problem of depression continues to increase.   The question

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Anxiety and its Treatment through Yoga and Ayurveda

Anxiety is almost epidemic in the modern higher tech world, though it is a long standing human problem. It is increasing globally during this coronavirus pandemic. Anxiety is largely Vata Dosha disorder in Ayurvedic medicine, a problem that arises from an excess of the air and space elements and lack of earth, water and fire,

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Articles on Yoga

Vairagya, Non-attachment and Ananda in Yoga

  Vairagya is one of the most important terms in the Yoga Sutras, which starting from the first Sutras of the text is emphasized as defining Yoga practice.  Vairagya is commonly translated as detachment or non-attachment. While these indicate aspects of Vairagya, they are approximations that can mislead us. Vairagya is an untranslatable term like

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Raja Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Asana

Raja Yoga commonly refers to the royal or higher Yoga of meditation. While the term is not specifically mentioned in the Yoga Sutras, the Yoga Sutra tradition has been commonly called Raja Yoga over time. Raja Yoga is an ancient term found in the works of Adi Shankara. It aims directly at a change of

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Mauna: The Yoga of Silence

Mauna as the Secret Silent Limb of Yoga Mauna refers to the practice of not-speaking, and one who does this regularly is called a Muni, a sign of great respect in Hindu and yogic thought. While not-speaking is an important part of Mauna, it is much more than that. Certainly, most of us would be

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Releasing the Knots of the Heart: Hridaya Granthi

Yogic literature, starting with the Upanishads, speak of the knots of the heart and the necessity to release, cut or break these in order to free ourselves from ignorance, death and sorrow. This is necessary to realize our true Self that is one with all, which dwells at the core of the spiritual heart. It

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Yogic Pratyahara and Psychological Immunity

Pratyahara Yoga   What is the main Yoga practice we can do for developing our psychological immunity, emotional calm, and inner equipoise in these difficult times? First, we must note that the principles and practices of Yoga overall are about mastery over the mind, so they all aid in psychological immunity, resilience, and the ability

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Shiva Ayurveda – The Yogic Power of Healing and Transformation

We follow an ancient tradition of Shiva Ayurveda connected to the Himalayan domain of Shiva and the great Yogis, including Yoga traditions from Kashmir to Uttar Khand and Nepal, but with connections throughout India. ******* Most Ayurvedic practitioners look upon Lord Dhanvantari, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, as the deity of Ayurveda and ideal doctor.

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Ojas: The Power of Immunity in Yoga and Ayurveda

Ojas is the ultimate resort of strength, patience and endurance for body and mind. Ojas is cultivated in Ayurveda for disease prevention, deep healing, rejuvenation and longevity. It is cultivated in Yoga for inner strength, determination and vitality, steadiness and focus of mind and prana.   Ojas is the essence of all seven bodily tissues

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Yoga Therapy and Ayurveda: The Meaning of Chikitsa

YOGA THERAPY OR YOGA CHIKITSA   The Sanskrit term for therapy throughout its medical literature is Chikitsa, which literally refers to the application of consciousness (chit) or caring. Yoga Therapy is called Yoga Chikitsa. Yet chikitsa as a specific term occurs rarely in traditional yogic texts. Yoga texts do mention disease as one of the

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The Non-Dual Reality of Lord Shiva

Shiva Mahadeva represents the non-dualistic Absolute beyond all the contraries and oppositions of this dualistic world of time, space, and karma. He is the force of transcendent unity that is more than the combination of opposites and holds simultaneously the power of both sides of all dualities. Shiva transcends duality in his very nature, appearance

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Articles on Meditation & the Mind

Transforming Emotions through Pranayama and Meditation

Which aspects of our nature are emotions rooted in and how can we best understand them? Emotions are most connected to Prana in yogic thought and have their roots in pranamaya kosha, the Pranic sheath or covering that mediates between body and mind.   Emotions are based in instincts, notably hunger, thirst, survival and reproduction,

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Meditation in Yoga and Ayurveda

Meditation is the key practice of traditional Yoga and the prime factor behind an authentic Ayurvedic lifestyle. Meditation goes to the root of our consciousness and prana, connecting us to our higher Self and aligning us with the healing and transformational forces of the greater Self-aware universe. If we don’t meditate daily we lose our

Read the full article »

Yoga and Ayurveda View of the Mind: Audio

Yoga and Ayurveda View of the Mind Audio In modern medicine brain, mind and consciousness are equated, with the mind regarded as only a function of the brain, and consciousness merely a function of the mind.  Mind and consciousness are reduced to brain chemistry, as if there were no real intelligence or real person there.

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Mantra, Concentration and Meditation

  Concentration and Meditation   To reach the meditative state, concentration is required first. A scattered, distracted, and inattentive mind cannot truly meditate, even if one sits silently for long periods of time. As the Yoga Sutras teach us, one must first develop the one-pointed mind (ekagra chitta) in order to reach state in which

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Articles on Jyotish (Vedic Astrology)

Lord Vishnu and Vedic Astrology

Vishnu is the primary Devata for the Sun in Vedic thought, notably in the form of Surya-Narayana.  Narayana is the cosmic form of Vishnu who rules over the entire universe. The mantra – OM Namo Narayanaya! – is a mantra of sadhus and connects us with the supreme Consciousness. It can be used to draw

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Lord Shiva in Vedic Astrology

Lord Shiva has a central yet complex role in Vedic astrology, associated with a number of planetary energies, though he has specific planetary associations. We will explore these from my years of research in Vedic texts and Shaivite Yoga.   Shiva and the Sun and Moon   Shiva’s connections to the Sun are powerful and

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Ayurvedic Astrology

All great ancient civilizations centered their cultures on profound systems of astrology, connecting conditions and events on the Earth with cosmic influences deriving from the stars. Whether it is India or China, Egypt or Babylonia, or the Mayas and Incas of America, we find in each case an astrological foundation for their spiritual cultures. Astrology

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The Milky Way and the Cosmic Soma

An indepth study of the Vedic Understanding of the Milky Way and the Zodiac Soma and the Orientation of the Zodiac The key to the meaning of the signs of the zodiac should be evident from the orientation of the zodiac itself. The most dramatic factor in stellar observation for any person is the Milky

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