YOGIC CONCEPT OF HEALTH :
16 Feb 2022 HYN Himalayan Yoga Academy
Concept of health, aspects of health and Hygienic Yogic Practices Leading toward Health; yogic concept of Illness; Cause of Illness; Yogic Role for both Health and Illness management
Health is the level of functional or metabolic efficiency of a living organism. In humans it is the ability of individuals to adapt and self-manage when facing physical, mental or social challenges.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defined health in its broader sense in its 1948 constitution as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Health is that balanced condition of the living organism in which the integral, harmonious performance of the vital functions tends to the preservation of the organism and the normal development of the individual.
Definition of Health :
“samadoshah-samaagnishcha-samadhaatu- mala kriya!
The Ayurvedic definition of health is that state in which the structure and function of a particular individual is operating optimally and the individual is in a state of physical, mental, and spiritual equilibrium.
All three doshas are in equilibrium with regard to the individual prakriti. All seven tissues, dhatus, are in the proper state of strength and integrity The digestive fires, agnis, are balanced resulting in proper appetite, digestion, and assimilation The waste materials, malas, are being produced and eliminated in a regular manner The sense organs , indriyani, are functioning normally and the mind is undisturbed The individual is experiencing happiness and contentment
Disease manifests as the opposite of some or all of the criteria for health listed above. It is a state of dysequilibrium of the doshas, dhatus, agnis, and malas; The individual is out of harmony both internally and with relation to the environment and experiences unpleasant sensations and misery in some form (duhkya).
How is health defined in Yoga and where is it defined?
Health is discussed in different ways in the field of Yoga. The Yogasutra of Patanjali presents optimum health as a state of mind that is alert and in peace at the same time. This state is termed as cittavrttinirodha, the very definition of Yoga. So from one perspective health may be defined to achieve and refrain in a state of Yoga where the mind is able to achieve its full potential and at the same time be relaxed.
Characteristics of a healthy person
From the point of view of Yoga, a healthy person has a body that has the wealth of the body (kaya sampat), the vitality of the breath, the peace of mind, positive attitudes and a healthy expression of emotions. Yoga views health and disease in a holistic way and hence it does not look at health or disease in a one-dimensional manner. In fact it makes it clear that unless the harmony of the complete human system is achieved, the person is not in a state of health.
How to stay healthy:
Of course Yoga gives ideas how to stay healthy. Yoga prescribes four major approaches to a healthy living. Ahara, healthy diet, vihara, a healthy and spiritually conscious lifestyle, bhavana, healthy and positive attitudes towards oneself and the world, and finally sadhana or abhyasa, practices which include engaging the body, breath, and mind. In sadhana we have tools such as asana, pranayama, mudra, etc.
By practicing all the four we use a holistic approach to regain holistic health. The greatness of Yoga is that it offers a multidimensional approach to healthy living with a multitude of tools. Yoga also teaches us that we have to find tools that are appropriate for us, considering different parameters such as our age, our stage in life, our capacities, the seasons of the year and other such individual centric parameters. Thus for optimum health each individual needs to adopt a personalized practice. The theory of one size fits all doesn’t work for Yoga.
Maintaining health :
Achieving and maintaining health is an ongoing process, shaped by both the evolution of health care knowledge and practices as well as personal strategies and organized interventions for staying healthy.
An important way to maintain your personal health is to have a healthy diet. A healthy diet includes a variety of plant-based and animal-based foods that provide nutrients to your body. Such nutrients give you energy and keep your body running. Nutrients help build and strengthen bones, muscles, and tendons and also regulate body processes (i.e. blood pressure). The food guide pyramid is a pyramid-shaped guide of healthy foods divided into sections. Each section shows the recommended intake for each food group (i.e. Protein, Fat, Carbohydrates, and Sugars). Making healthy food choices is important because it can lower your risk of heart disease, developing some types of cancer, and it will contribute to maintaining a healthy weight.
Physical exercise enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness. It strengthens muscles and improves the cardiovascular system.
To rest means to relax into something and let it support you. Rest yourself on the couch for a while, if you’re tired. The word rest comes from the German rasta meaning “league of miles.” If you walked that far, you’d need a good rest too.
In yoga, relaxation refers to the loosening of bodily and mental tension. Keeping muscles in a constant alert state expends a great amount of your energy, which then is unavailable when your muscles are called upon to really function.
Relaxation differs from rest, in that relaxation is our mind’s way of rejuvenating, and can assist in reducing the arousal we experience from stress and/or anxiety. This means that while rest occurs while we are asleep, relaxation occurs while we are awake, and involves us engaging in activities that we enjoy.
In one study, people with chronic insufficient sleep, set as six hours of sleep a night or less, were found to be four times more likely to catch a cold compared to those who reported sleeping for seven hours or more a night. The role of sleep in regulating metabolism, insufficient sleep may also play a role in weight gain or, conversely, in impeding weight loss.