Why do certain foods harm some people and help others? Why do the results of a weight loss programme vary from individual to individual? And why do some people fall sick more often than others?
The science of Ayurveda holds answers to these questions and many more. Its scriptures took a holistic approach to health by combining our lifestyle with our natural tendencies (which vary from one person to another).
This groundbreaking new work from Urn Swami combines the yogic view of food as sattvic, rajasic and tamasic with the Ayurvedic perspective, and further relates it to the modern view of foods as acidic and alkaline. This is also the .fust time that Ayurvedic prakriti (vata, pitta and kapha) has been discussed in the context of yogic prakriti (sattvic, rajasic and tamasic) in a truly cohesive fashion.
The Wellness Sense is a simple, step-by-step handbook on how to take better care of yourself. Accessibly written, deeply researched and distilled from Om Swami's own lived. experience, The Wellness Sense puts your health and happiness in your hands.
In these pages, I have combined my reflections on major Ayurvedic texts with my years of experience in yoga and tantra, to give you the essence of health and well-being. To make the most out of this book, read it patiently as if chewing gum, to enjoy and absorb the knowledge contained herein.
Although I received my formal education in information technology and business, for years I have practised healing and experimented across the disciplines of astrology, mantra, tantra, meditation and alchemy. While Ayurvedic texts mostly focus on physical health, and yogic scriptures on mental well-being, tantric scriptures pay attention to the metaphysical aspects of our existence.
When we synthesize the wisdom across the three disciplines of Ayurveda, yoga and tantra, we gain a unique and holistic understanding of health. Because all three insist that we are an integral part of nature, anything that happens in the play of nature affects us. Therefore, the more you are in harmony with nature, the more peaceful and healthy you will be. The objective of this book is to help you see how your body -your health and well-being -is intricately linked to Mother Nature, and how living in harmony with nature brings changes in your own nature.
I have always been passionate about health and natural remedies. So much so, I once owned an Ayurvedic health care company with a research team comprising some of the most brilliant Ayurvedic doctors in India. During the clinical trials of our products, I had the opportunity to meet and interview many patients. Except for Vishy's example (in Chapter 6), all case studies in this book are real. I have only changed the names and, at times, places to protect the privacy of the individuals concerned. I have mostly used the masculine pronoun in general references for convenience purposes only; the teachings of Ayurveda and yoga are universally applicable.
I hope this book motivates you to lead a more natural, healthier and more peaceful life.
Om Swami is a mystic who lives in the Himalayan foothills. An advanced yogin, Swami has done thousands of hours of intense meditation in complete seclusion in Himalayan caves and woods.
Prior to renunciation, he founded and ran a multimillion-dollar software company with offices in San Francisco, New York, Toronto, London, Sydney and India. Om Swami has a bachelor's degree in business and an MBA from Sydney, Australia. He completely renounced his business interests a few years ago to pursue a full-time spiritual life.
He is also the author of the bestselling book, If Truth be Told:eldfonk:i Memoir. You can connect with him on his blog, omswami.com, which is read by millions all over the world.
Even though I grew up reading Ayurvedic, yogic and tantric scriptures expounding on health, yoga and alchemy, my own health was never good. For the greater part of my life, as a patient of asthma, I was allergic to pollen. I don't remember a change of season when I didn't fall sick. I was living proof of modern medicine's belief that allergies could only be treated temporarily. I had given up my asthma medication with the help of a controlled diet. Yet, every year, at the dawn of spring, my asthma would get worse and I would start gobbling up cough syrups and cold and flu tablets. With a red nose, heavy head and a wheezing chest, I would increase the dosage of my inhalers and lose most of my appetite.
My body needed rest, but time was perhaps the one thing I could not afford. My projects, teams and clients needed me every day, in five different time zones, and the immense stress at work left me gasping for breath. Exercising at the gym, playing badminton, eating organic food and taking supplements only helped a little. The fact remained that whenever seasons changed, I fell sick. I would notice those who remained mostly healthy, regardless of the pressure at work or the challenges at home they endured. Many of these healthy people even ate unhealthily, yet they remained mostly fit. I seriously wondered: 'What is the secret to their health?' There is no secret, really. In accordance with Ayurveda, I came to the conclusion that each one of us is truly different, and some of us are more prone to certain diseases than others. I accepted the fact that asthma was my way of life.
A few years later, however, I renounced the material world and went to the Himalayas to begin my life as a monk. I stayed in the woods and caves for nearly thirteen months, and while there, I didn't even so much as contract a common cold, let alone any major ailments or asthma. Surviving on one frugal meal a day - and sometimes just on snow - when I emerged from my but many months later after intense meditation, I felt fitter and stronger than ever before. I meditated in open fields during spring and in caves during winters, yet there was no sign of any allergy.
I had never felt this before: being completely free of any physical ailments for months at a stretch. This experience challenged my earlier conclusion. I figured that it's never too late to take control of your well-being and, no matter what your genetic disposition, you can attain near-perfect health. Having said that, I observed that we, as a human race, fall ill more frequently and for longer durations than any other species. The animals we have tamed also fall sick more often than their wild counterparts.
I reflected on my perfect health in the Himalayas and figured that there were many factors contributing to my well-being there. I realized that living in harmony with nature and adopting some of the yogic principles were the primary reasons why I did not fall sick at all. I examined the truths of Ayurvedic and yogic scriptures in a new light now. Just Ayurvedic concoctions, some yogasanas or tantric practices alone, were not sufficient to cure my illness. The key was to combine all of them. But, most notably, what had worked was leading a simple life in the most natural way. While in the woods, I was in constant touch with Mother Nature, and her incredible healing powers brought about profound changes in my body and mind.
I do understand that many of us can't afford to leave the hustle and bustle of the town even for a day, let alone go away and live in the woods for months. It is for this reason that I have written this book, because this is what is remarkable about Ayurveda and yoga: you do not have to live in the woods or in the Himalayas to be in touch with nature. An entire cosmos exists within you. You do not have to be flexible like a rubber doll either, because I won't be asking you to assume any complicated postures. You just need the willingness to understand health in its entirety, and the discipline to take control of your physical and emotional well-being.
Our body is the finest, in fact the only, medium of experiencing all pleasures and sorrows. In Ayurveda, as in yoga and tantra, the health of an individual is not just the state of his physical body but an aggregate of the body, senses, mind and soul. Your immune system is directly impacted by your state of mind. The more positive and happy you are, the stronger your immunity.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
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