What does “Health” mean to you? To most, health indicates a disease-free body. What about disease-free emotions and mind? When a person is not in touch with his body, emotions, mind and spirit it reflects as DIS ease. It is the uneasiness of being in the company of a stranger as opposed to a friend. Due to this DIS ease with himself he escapes into alcohol, television, gossip, power plays, ego trips or activities that further distance himself from himself. A person needs to move towards his true self, his highest potential, else he will manifest this stagnation as disease.

Modern medicine now acknowledges that most diseases are psychosomatic. The human being is a web of connections and one cannot isolate a part and treat it as though the system is independent of it. The pill popping culture is common in India today due to the easy availability of antibiotics and other suppressants over the counter. It is a symptomatic treatment that does not address the root cause of the disease. In fact it causes more harm as the person gets addicted to quick results and does not want to put in effort into self improvement. The individual also become less sensitive to the signals that the body is sending.

Health is the sum total of an individual’s well being. The health of the individual is reflected in a healthy body, healthy expression and processing of emotions, healthy attitudes, a healthy connection to the universal spirit, healthy relationships, healthy work culture, a healthy environment where he can grow and a healthy zest for life. Healthy individuals constitute a healthy society. If we were to take this model of stability and growth, then most of us are unhealthy in some way. This is also reflected in the state of our society.

Yoga is about creating health within and without. The primary disease in Yoga is duality. We live in a state of separateness and feel that whatever we do has no impact on others or ourselves. All of us intellectually understand the law of karma “As you sow, so you reap”, yet it does not reflect in our behavior. This is the lack of alignment or lack of integration. With awareness we can see the disparity between thought and behavior. Then we can unite body and mind and the individual consciousness with supreme consciousness.

Yoga re-balances the system, which has taken the toll of years of neglect or obsessiveness. A balanced attitude towards health is necessary without getting too hung up about it. The simple things in life if practiced go a long way in increasing the well being of the individual. But nowadays it is the packaging that matters, so most fall prey to miracle drugs and savvy advertising. One cannot come to terms with the fact that by changing a sitting position, by working on the breath, reducing intake of junk food changing an attitude, letting go of an emotion, having trust in life, cultivating healthy interests or making active choices, one can alter many conditions. Lifestyle and attitudinal changes go a long way in instilling balance in the system. But lifestyles nowadays are dictated by the consumerist culture. The more you consume the better your ego feels. The consumer is king. Yet there is no kingdom left as the very caretakers have ravaged the earth.

So we must inculcate a reverence for life and what we have. When we value it we will not misuse it. We will be more aware and see the signs of degeneration much earlier and not wait till gangrene sets in. Yet to do away with a part is normal now as a heart or kidney is available for a price. Decay and deadening of the human has started and it is up to each one of us to keep ourselves alive. So be alive to your bodies, to your emotions, to your mind and spirit, and to everything around you. Let us not sleepwalk through our lives.

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