Ancient yogic wisdom offers practical advice for good health
Eight steps to good health
According to yogic literature the normal nature of the body and mind is to stay healthy. Usually it is our lifestyle that tips the balance of health negatively. Yoga texts also offer eight simple rules to maintain or re-establish good health. If we ignore these simple rules, there is apparently no therapy or medicine that can be effective in the long- term.
1. Regularity in daily living – Normal daily activities like sleeping, eating and working should happen at a regular time every day. This allows law and order to prevail and so life will go on easily. If there is irregularity and chaos, we cannot stay healthy and grow.
2. Moderation in all things – All good things or activities are only good when limited to the appropriate quantity. Too much or too little of anything is harmful. Yoga advocates the middle path.
3. Balance between physical and mental activity – Every person, of any age, must have eight hours productive work daily, seven day per week. Of these eight hours, at least two should be spent in hard physical work and two in intellectual work. This will keep both the body and mind healthy and sharp. If either aspect is neglected, its faculties will degenerate.
4. Simple nourishing diet – The diet should be balanced in all nutrients and elements, easy to digest, clean, fresh, seasonal, moderate in quantity and consumed whilst in a positive state of mind. It is said that what you eat, so you become. Food is directly responsible for the state of your body. The type of food consumed influences the type of thoughts crossing the mind.
5. Being in alignment with nature – Our way of living should be appropriate for the place and time. For example, in hot weather cooling food should be consumed, in cold weather the body should be protected with adequate clothing, at sunrise the body should be active and after sunset it should gradually withdraw from activity. A lifestyle that follows the natural cycles and rhythms allows one to draw strength from nature. Spending time enjoying the beauty of nature is energizing, de-stressing and helps create a positive frame of mind.
6. Being in good company – Spending time regularly in the company of wise and pure-hearted people, studying inspiring books and other sources of information and participating in uplifting activities stimulates our own dormant positive qualities.
7. Self-observation and analysis – Regular reflection of our own behaviour, words and thoughts shows us how we need to change so that we can fulfil our goals in life. Such positive transformation helps us to become better, more satisfied people.
8. Expanding the horizon beyond “I and Mine” – Expanding our sphere of care beyond our immediate family and friends to include other unknown people, animals or plants. Such actions help us to experience peace, contentment and true happiness.
Reference: Yogic Management of Cancer, Dr Swami Nirmalananda, Yoga Publications Trust Bihar India, p9-11