“Swastha” is a Sanskrit term used in Ayurveda to describe vibrant health. Perfect health according to Ayurveda, does not merely mean an absence of disease. True health is experienced when a person is physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually in balance. In fact the definition of Swastha can be translated as “One who is established in Self” or “One who is totally happy within oneself.”
So how does one achieve such a perfectly balanced state of health?
There are 3 main physical components. First of all, it means that our doshas – vata, pitta and kapha, are functioning normally. These doshas should not become aggravated due to diet, lifestyle, stress, sleep, etc. Secondly, our “Agni” or metabolic fire, should be strong. When we eat the correct foods, at the right time, our bodies should be able to digest and fully absorb the nutrients we need to build healthy tissues. Therefore, a healthy Agni leads to properly formed bodily tissues (plasma, blood, fat, muscle, bone, marrow, nerve, and reproductive fluids). Thirdly, we must regularly eliminate toxins and waste from our bodies through sweat, urine, and daily bowel movements.
However, unlike modern allopathic medicine, Ayurveda understands that total health lies beyond the physical activities of the body. Ayurvedic texts state that only one “whose mind, soul, and senses are full of bliss” is considered to be a healthy person.
We can see this in our own lives. We all have counters full of herbs and supplements, try to eat the best organic foods, practice yoga asanas and exercise. Despite all these efforts and expenses, are we truly healthy? Do we go to bed at night fully content with our day? Do we experience a mind, soul and senses full of bliss? Are truly happy within ourselves? Are we truly happy with all of our relationships and interactions with others?
In order to experience this state of vibrant health, we must look within and find a way to become fully happy and love ourselves. All healing begins with self examination. Where are we blocked emotionally? What are our fixed mental patterns which prevent us from feeling joy and living peacefully? As we clear our emotional body and completely forgive past hurts, we start to create openings and space in the body. We must let go of all thoughts, activities, and expectations which keep us closed and stuck. Once we let go of those behaviors that don’t serve us, we create room for Prana to enter.
Prana is the universal life force. It is the divine energy that keeps us alive. This pranic healing energy runs through our “nadis” or energy channels. As it circulates throughout the body, it can heal all physical health problems. The key is to allow Prana in, to wash away the negative, and bring divine healing energy into all aspect our lives.
At the National Ayurvedic Medical Conference last month in San Francisco, almost every single speaker emphasized to importance of pranayama and meditation. When must have a daily Sadhana or ritual of self examination. Begin by practicing pranayama, yogic breath exercises, which help to pull in prana from the ethers and quiet the mind. The prana fills our physical and emotional bodies with the higher universal forces of love and light. Then we follow the pranayama with at least twenty minutes of silent meditation. It is during meditation that we digest and process all events, situations, and stimuli of the day. We can absorb the good, and let go of the negative. We can start to accept ourselves and others with unconditional love. This is the secret to all healing. We must be fully happy within ourselves.
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