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Perhaps the most concise way to describe Ayurveda, meditation and yoga is to call them self-awareness techniques. All three are forms of mindfulness therapies that naturally increase the self-awareness of the body, mind and emotions. These tools allow us to be aware of our problems and then make real changes to fix them.
A new study published in the JAMA Psychiatry journal evaluated the effects of mindfulness therapies on individuals with mood-related concerns. (1) In this study, 1300 patients with depression were given meditative-based mindfulness therapies compared to other therapies, including antidepressants.
In a 60-week follow-up, they found that the mindfulness group was less likely to have a relapse compared to all other therapies, including anti-depressants. The researchers suggested that mindfulness therapies have a scope of benefit that exists beyond mood-related concerns. (1)
One the researchers of this study, Jill Emanuele, PhD, uses mindfulness-based therapies successfully on her patients and suggests that there is growing evidence that “increased awareness of emotions and thoughts allows patients to effectively cope with them.” (1)
In this study, the researchers acknowledged that mindfulness therapies (such as yoga, breathing, meditation and Ayurveda) were originally designed as contemplative or self-awareness techniques.
If I had to boil down the premise of yoga, breathing, meditation and Ayurveda in four words, they would be: Establish Being (awareness), Perform Action. This comes from chapter 2, vs. 48 of the Bhagavad Gita. In many cases, as seen in the JAMA study, we see that just by establishing more awareness, the mind spontaneously settled down and moods were balanced more effectively than the drugs. (1)
But… this is only half of the equation!
The second half of establishing awareness is to perform action. The purpose of these Ayurvedic awareness techniques including yoga, breathing and meditation is to enhance awareness of the self. Once we are more self-aware, we can then take action to free ourselves from old patterns of behavior that do not serve us any longer — even childhood protective patterns that we may still project on the screen as adults.
Interestingly, Ayur means “life” and veda means “truth.” Put together, they mean “the truth of your life” or living in truth. The goal of all of these awareness tools is to become aware of what part of your personality is non-truth or protective in some way, and then begin to take action on the more delicate, vulnerable and even more powerful version of you — your truth.
Learn more about how to take life-changing action through meditation in my 6-week Transformational Awareness Technique (TAT) Meditation eCourse. You can also find many free articles on this topic in the Emotional Health section of my article archives.