Podcast Episode 117: Karma, Gurus, and How Yoga and Ayurveda are Related with Christa Kuberry, PhD and Anya Foxen, PhD

Podcast Episode 117: Karma, Gurus, and How Yoga and Ayurveda are Related with Christa Kuberry, PhD and Anya Foxen, PhD

October 5, 2021 | 65 minutes, 40 seconds

In This Article

Podcast Show Notes

In this episode of the Ayurveda Meets Modern Science podcast, host John Douillard, DC, CAP, interviews co-authors of Is This Yoga?: Concepts, Histories, and the Complexities of Modern Practice Christa Kuberry, PhD, and Anya Foxen, PhD, on the connection between yoga and Ayurveda, as well as the sometimes complicated history of modern yoga and spiritual traditions.

Is This Yoga?

Is This Yoga? serves both as an academic textbook and a thoughtful read about the practice of yoga. Kuberry and Foxen set out to help teachers and students looking for guidance on how to understand yoga historically and in the context of modern issues, including globalization, colonialism, capitalism, abuse of power, and cultural appropriation. The book honors differences of opinion in yoga, and offers space to work alongside folks from different lineages and practices.  

See also How Yoga, Meditation, and Antioxidants Make You Smarter

How are Yoga and Ayurveda Sister Sciences?

You may have heard that yoga and Ayurveda are sister sciences. Ayurveda is the “science of life,” or the truth of your life, while the word yoga comes from the Sanskrit root “yuji,” meaning “to unite.”

Yoga and Ayurveda align in many ways, particularly when it comes to philosophies about the power of self-awareness.

Both practices are built on the concept that you can’t change the world until you change yourself. And both use wellness and healing action to connect the mind and body. But they may also differ in their goals as they relate to the complex relationship between embodiment and transcendence.

See also Changing the World Through Yoga and Ayurveda from the Inside Out


What is karma? Some know it as escaping the birth, death, and rebirth cycle; others know of it as the relationship between your actions and the consequences it produces; or people think of it as both.

Karma simply means action! One way of thinking about karma is if you do your dharma, or purpose, without caring about your karma, karma will take care of itself. Simply put, follow your duty and life will do the rest.

See also What is Karma? Finding the Truth


Gurus have taken many shapes and forms over the centuries. The word guru comes from the Sanskrit word meaning “spiritual teacher.” Gurus are known to pass along wisdom to guide future generations of students. The credentials to embody the sacred connection between student and teacher as a guru have changed with the times, changing the notion of the word.

See also The Purusharthas: Ayurveda’s Road Map for Finding the Meaning in Life

Ayurveda Meets Modern Science is hosted by Dr. John Douillard, DC, CAP, founder of LifeSpa and author of seven health books (including bestselling Eat Wheat and The 3-Season Diet), seven online courses (including Yoga Journal courses Ayurveda 101 and 201), and numerous free eBooks.

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