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Ayurveda: Definition of "Healthy"

These days, "yoga" is a household term in the United States, while the term Ayurveda is still unknown. Ayurveda, yoga's sister science, is also Sanskrit and means Science or Wisdom of Life. It is the oldest and most complete holistic mind-body medicine still practiced on this planet. The ancient texts and complete medical books of Ayurveda are over 5,000 years old! Yes, even Chinese Medicine has its roots in Ayurveda. Ayurveda and yoga are two of many ancient wisdom traditions that have laid the successful path of self discovery, awareness and transformation. Together they are a complementary medical system that helps us to understand ourselves from all levels of existence: physical, emotional, mental, higher/spiritual self and Soul Self. The image above is a visual guideline of this roadmap showing the interconnectedness between self and others and how your personal health and wellbeing can affect others.

Ayurveda gives us guidance and blue prints of what it means to be a Whole Being. It is the same map that helps one to understand what it means to be healthy. This road-map to wholeness and wellbeing is called “Swasthavritta" or the science of being established in one’s self. Ayurveda acknowledges each person as an unique individual with different needs AND at the same time is part of a massive whole (like the image above). Ayurveda celebrates the connection of physical, sensory, mental, spiritual AND social wellbeing! Yes, you heard me right, SOCIAL wellbeing! Recognizing that individual health is just the starting point and social health is a direct reflection of healthy people coming together in union, or yoga.

You might be asking yourself, "Established in one's self? Don't I live with myself each day?"

True, however, are you at peace and acceptance with yourself each day? Do you make mindful choices and decisions about food, beverage, recreation, medicine, work and relationships that support your Whole Being and, thus, your family and community's wellbeing? Do you know Who you are at the core of your being? I truly believe that each person on this planet is here to understand this question and to discover it for him or herself. According to Ayurveda, to be healthy means to have awareness and make choices that support and nurture your Whole Being—body, mind and spirit.

The concept of being established in one's self as part of a medical system truly paves a way for a global paradigm shift in what it means to be healthy. Healthy is not just being pain or disease free. It's more than that. Healthy is swasthavritta, being established in one's self. Healthy is recognizing that each decision you make affects the whole, including your family and society's wellbeing. This ancient wisdom has many keys that can help unlock our current medical structure and evolve medicine to new horizons where people come first, not their disease.

Originally published on September 24, 2014

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