By Arun Goel
Our stomach is a factory to churn and burn food – an efficient workhorse of an organ. In yoga, this corresponds to the Heat center or the Manipura chakra. In association with the Intestines etc., it comprises the digestive system that gives the nutrition one needs.
On the other hand, we have the mind – the playful mind, the monkey mind that just LOVES jumping from one thought to another. It loves to race around, form complex thoughts comprising ideas, desires, worries and what have you. The mind with its endless thoughts creates a whirlpool and over time we find ourselves getting sucked into it.
Often it happens that, when we are tensed about some matter and in the night when we carry that worry with us to bed, it leads to a disturbed sleep. That disturbed sleep leads to a not-so-fresh morning. Invariably you will discover that on that particular morning your bowel movement is not that satisfactory.
But often you tend to ignore this signal, and move on with your daily life. Again, the next day that unresolved issue and your inability to let go of that thought pushes the matter deeper into your mind. You may not even be aware of the issue in your conscious mind but somewhere deep it still lies there unresolved. Meanwhile, your problem of bowel movement gradually develops into the problem of chronic constipation.
The body is giving you signals all the time in the form of indigestion – asking you to resolve issues, to meditate, to stop and think. But you ignore these signals and what do you do instead? Pop in pills (laxatives in various forms), feel momentarily relief but only to get the constipation back once you stop using your OTC laxatives.
It goes on for several weeks till that imbalance increases. The imbalance can lead to weight gain, skin infections, building up of toxins in the body, acidity, gas, cramps, feeling of heaviness, migraine.
As the symptoms keep appearing, you tackle them by using more drugs for those assorted symptoms - Creams for skin infection, pain killers for migraine and backaches, antacids for stomach gas, laxatives for constipation, etc. All of these ultimately lead to a greater toxin buildup and an even greater imbalance.
These imbalances, if not taken care of, turn into diseases like diabetes, heart problems, obesity, skin conditions, varicose veins, etc.
So what should you do?
Take charge of your body and health; be independent, be FREE. We all love freedom, but ironically when it comes to our own body, we always depend upon external help.
Preventive health maintenance is the path toward the freedom that we truly seek. Rather than some “difficult to practice” path, incremental steps toward this goal will be very fulfilling in themselves.
Adopt the simple Mantra – "Detoxify and Discover"
This two pronged approach is adequate to help you lead a life where YOU are in charge.
Understand detoxification, its necessity and the techniques. Also called cleansing or purification techniques in yoga, these are a must in today’s context where our lifestyle is leading to a continuous build up of toxins within us, at an alarming pace. Detoxification removes the CAUSE of disease and makes the body strong, resilient and capable of withstanding onslaughts.
It helps us become truly independent by helping us tackle assorted health issues at the initial stage itself. These self-empowering techniques have the natural effect of enhancing our self confidence – the self confidence that can only come when WE are in control! Contrary to popular perception, these are not some fear inspiring techniques nor do they require elaborate help. Many of these can be mastered and self administered quite easily. You can read more about cleansing and associated articles on the HealthAndYoga website.
Parallel to the detoxification process, we must develop ways to slow the build up of toxins in the body. To do so, we must develop the habit of ‘Awareness’. Though a simple word, this word alone perhaps forms the bedrock of yoga. If you develop the habit of awareness of every moment, you will find that it has a remarkable effect on your health and well being.
While awareness is confused with meditation by many schools of thought, it is actually a precursor to the meditative state. Awareness LEADS to meditation. We should work at developing an awareness of every moment of every activity that we are involved in. Contrary to myth, awareness does not mean a withdrawal or a ‘disconnect’ with our daily life. In fact, awareness means a total presence in your present activity without any wavering thoughts. This has the effect of enhancing performance manifold.
Awareness forms a kind of bio-feedback mechanism that automatically alerts us of imbalances (internal or external) or undesirable situations and guides us to take corrective steps.
Through Practicing Awareness we develop an uncanny knack of being able to discern what is right for us and what is not. We overcome inner contradictions and mental turmoil and are able to take decisions easily. Life becomes much simpler, manageable and enjoyable and this has the automatic side effect of retarding the toxin build up. (Incidentally, one of the biggest contributors to toxin build up is our stress-ridden and negative thinking process). There is much literature available on Awareness techniques and you can begin incorporating these practices in your daily regimen.
Incorporate the "Detoxify and Discover" Mantra for YOU to take charge of your life and your health. Start with small, incremental steps. The immediate results will spur you on to the next level.