07 April 2019
Bhubaneswar: While people across globe are celebrating World Health Day, founder of Art of Living Foundation, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, has explained the true meaning of being healthy and shared some tips in this regard.
Ravi Shankar says, Health is being physically strong, mentally calm and steady, and emotionally soft inside. One is not healthy when he or she feels rough inside. When the mind is stiff or the mind is in judgement, it is not in good health. When the emotions are rough, one is not emotionally healthy. Health is that flow from the innermost to the outer, and vice-versa, from the outer to the inner.
Life has four characteristics: it exists, evolves, expresses and extinguishes. And for life to exist, evolve, express and extinguish, it depends on the five elements: earth, water, air, ether and fire, he adds.
According to Ayurveda, life does not consist of rigid compartments. It is a harmonious flow. Even these five elements which the whole universe is made up of are not tight compartments of defined objects. They flow into one another - fire cannot exist without air, earth and water have space within them.
Ayurveda is the study of life. Veda means knowledge, to know and Ayur is life. The holistic approach of Ayurveda includes exercise, diet, breathing and meditation, he opines.
"How do you attain good health? First, by attending to the ether element, that is the mind element. If your mind is bogged with too many impressions and thoughts, it is draining you of your immunity and preparing your body for some illness. If the mind is clear, calm, meditative and pleasant, the body’s resistance will increase and it will not allow an illness to come," says the spiritual leader while sharing some remedies.
The first remedy is calming down the mind - coming from the subtlest aspect of creation, the ether. Then comes the air element. Breathing, aromatherapy, etc can be used to create a change at this level. And then light or colour therapy. By energising one’s system with Prana, life energy, and breath, one can prevent the illness before it starts.
That is what yoga does, says Ravi Shankar. In the Yoga Sutras Patanjali has said that the purpose of yoga is stopping the sorrow before it arises, to burn the seed before it sprouts. That is one of the most beautiful Sutras, he adds.
Next is the water element. Fasting and purifying the system with water can bring a lot of balance in the system. And the final recourse, of course, is different herbs, medicines and surgery - the earth element. All this comes in the final stage when everything else fails or when one neglects the other steps and the illness becomes inevitable, says Ravi Shankar.
He further asserts that our breath has a lot of secrets to offer us, because for every emotion in the mind, there is a corresponding rhythm in the breath. And each rhythm affects certain parts of the body, physically. One only needs to observe it and the person can feel it. Observing this correlation between sensations and moods of the mind is meditation, attending to it is meditation.
The spiritual leader gives emphasis on proper food habits. Proper food in the sense that one eats only as much as is essential. It should be well-digested so that one doesn’t feel too heavy, even when the person goes to bed or when wakes up in the morning or comes for meditation. One needs to take the right amount of food - sweet, fresh and gently spiced.
He finally suggests, "Take one week off every year for yourself. During that time, align yourself with nature. Wake up with the sunrise, eat proper food - just as much is necessary – do some exercises: yoga and breathing exercises, a few minutes of singing, keeping silence and enjoying the creation. By aligning yourself with nature, your whole system gets recharged and you will feel vibrant and enthusiastic for a long time to come."