We rarely think about health.
If we were to play a game called health, we would most probably lose.
It is because we rarely play this game, and we do not understand its rules, there is no training offered for this game anywhere.
And of course, there is no money, and no interest in the game called health.
It is not the World Cup of cricket, it is not the Championship otherwise called the Wimbledon. It is not the Olympics, it is definitely not the IPL.
There is no excitement, no cheerleaders, no sponsorship or support for a mundane game called health.
In fact the game called health is played only once you start losing it.
For example, a large majority of young people in their teens or early twenties, go about life, pretty much unconcerned about the body and the mind. Unless it has to do with fitness, or super fitness, or excelling in sports, or developing concentration to excel in studies or at competitions.
Young people take some medicine to recover from brief illnesses that beset them from time to time.
There is no formal education on this important aspect of a person’s life.
There is no subject formally studied over a period of time, called health, as we grow up into adult life, anywhere.
Nothing in school, nothing college, nothing in post grad.
There is not even formal coaching about exercise or diet and its importance in our lives.
It is only when we get to the late twenties and transit to the thirties and definitely the forties that health becomes a concern.
By then it is too late to start an education about our bodies, about our minds, about the environment and all the factors that are collectively responsible for our health, and the prevention and cure of illness.
More specifically, when the aches and pains, and the constant reminder of illness in the form of a companionship of doctors and medicine, begin to make their presence felt, we have no options left.
And even at this time we are more concerned about intermittent or chronic pain, not about health.
We just need to get a handle on an annoying but serious illness like blood pressure or diabetes or back pain, or the constant attack of fever, cold and throat infection, not ways of curing it forever, and to have perfect health.
Maybe there is someone in the house who is sick and you visit the doctors every few days, weeks or months, but the thought never occurs that this is abnormal, or can be eliminated forever.
We are still not concerned about normal, about health.
We do not know that normal is normal.
That health is normal.
That it is okay to be okay.
It seems as if there is only a doctor, who is also completely of course, is not a teacher of health but a dispenser of medical advice and medicines, who becomes our constant companion, advisor, friend, consultant, who can suggest what is good for us, and what should or should not be done to have a life maintained, it seems to us, “normal life” through the advent of medicines. This is no normal life.
Where is an approach to health and well-being?
Where are the trainers, the coaches, the manual and rule book for the game called health?
Someone stole them, maybe, or they have just gone missing.
When is it the last time you read a book called ‘Healthy at 100’ or ‘Ageless Body Timeless Mind’ or its sequel ‘Perfect Health’?
Did you hear an eminent cardiac surgeon Dr Dean Ornish on Ted Talk or the Oprah Winfrey show declare that heart surgery can be reversed without surgery and drugs?
What if I showed you a book called 1001 Home Remedies? Would you be excited, or would prefer to surf Facebook on your smartphone?
Would you be interested in know how cancer can be treated without drugs or surgery, in a moving exposition called Forks over Knives, or would you watch Netflix instead?
Did you know that Ayurveda, far from the science of healing or a traditional way of curing simple diseases with black medicine, is an exact presentation on the right mode of living?
Ayur means to live, and Veda, the knowledge and it is one of the most profound expressions on how to live a balanced life filled with perfect health.
More than five thousand years ago, Ayurveda was revealed to humanity through sages in deep meditation.
Tried and tested over centuries, it has survived because of its miraculous power in providing direction and cure to human tendencies for sickness of every kind.
The promise and the deliverance of Yoga has been the same for five thousand years.
Yet, it seems that humanity somehow turned its face on the science of health, and got sick collectively, and now spends most of its time, money and energy in the game of illness, pain, unending medication, hospitals, doctors, surgeries and abnormal endings to life.
Health is normal.
It is what animals have, and plants have, and our forefathers had.
Some of it is obvious, it is common sense.
If animals do not remain sick for the entire period of their lives and humans do (for example with hypertension), then animals have access to health, and we have access to disease and its prolongation.
If we use our common sense, become more aware, more conscious about what our nature is, we can be free from illness that lasts not more than a few days.
We can access permanent health.
In modern medicine, the closest I have heard a term signifying health, is homeostasis.
A state of dynamic balance.
A state of physical, mental, emotional, and psychological well-being.
Swami Vishnudevananda, one of the most charismatic yoga teachers of the 20th century, declared famously in the 1970s – Health is Wealth. Peace of Mind is Happiness. Yoga Shows The Way. He suggested that humanity can find its way back to good health, through the time-honoured practice of yoga.
Yoga is a way, one of the tried and tested ways, to actualizing, to fulfilling one’s full potential.
Yoga moves you from despair to hope, from restlessness to focused action, from limited options to a life of infinite possibilities, from anger and frustration, anxiety and annoyance, to a life of purity, calmness, peace and stability.
Yoga brings strength to the weak, stamina to those who are tired, happiness and joy to those in whose life there is gloom and tears. Yoga makes life flower, it makes it creative, simpler, more colourful, more worthwhile and valuable.
Yoga is the cultivation of good health, one day at a time. Just like a plant in a garden grows slowly through care and attention, and the right inputs, so does yoga work, slowly, on building a beautiful human being.
Yoga gives immunity and makes each and every part of the body more flexible. Muscles and bones become stronger, digestive power increases, weight of a sedentary lifestyle is countered. Yoga increases endurance, reduces blood pressure, harmonizes the endocrine system, nourishes the brain and the nervous system. Yoga makes the skin glow, adds lustre to the eyes, youthfulness to the skin, and a spring to the step.
Yoga improves our powers of perception and provides deeper insights into our physical mental and spiritual being.
Yes, yoga is a practical approach to health. It is the non-believer’s way to getting fitness – no theory, just practice. Results are guaranteed!
So, rather than investigate disease in all its dimensions, how about a new approach?
How about not working on maintaining and cultivating disease and illness and sickness and darkness and doom, we look out for sunshine, hope, wellness and light?
How about exploring the infinite and joyful world of good health, abundance and exuberance born out of a freedom to be human?
We have ancient wisdom to guide us. We have common sense and awareness. We have education and training. We are interconnected in so many ways, we can share.
Some yoga, some Ayurveda, some exercise, some attention to diet, some common sense and traditional wisdom, some companionship and community, some cleansing of self and the environment, a little quiet time, a tiny period of fasting and rest, a bit of sharing and caring, some simple cultivating habits.
That is all!
Are you game?
Do you want disease, or do you want ease?
Do you want pain or you want to find peace?
I am here with a game called health.
If you are ready, let us play!
Let us become world champions, of health!
Let the game begin!