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Meditation is a place where we step out of the thinking mind and experience a feeling of disappearing, a deep trance state where we lose track of our edges. These edges are the mind’s attachment to the idea that the physical body is who we are. In the meditative state, we realize that the body is a flesh-robe that we wear and that our true state of being is infinite.
There are many pathways into the state of meditation, and three distinct levels. Many of us experience the first stage of finding deep relaxation after physical exertion. This is the “zone” spoken about by so many athletes when hitting their stride, either in competition or a personal workout. Modern culture is now popularizing guided meditation; this integrative state of relaxation is the second level. The third level is the timeless deep trance state of being.
The true meditative state gives us the ability to harmonize and integrate the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of our existence. In the deep trance state of meditation, we disarm the voice of the thoughts and the mind. This is the true practice of Yoga, in which we can become a witness to the modifications of the mind. The restlessness of the three levels of the mind is what the great sage Patanjali6 calls Chitta7 in his famous sutra, “Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha.” This means that the practice of yoga helps us to become a witness to mind-wave disturbances. The true meditative state gives us the ability to harmonize and integrate the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of our existence.
Meditation is the subtlest form of human activity that lets us experience the true nature of self. Our true self is the underlying field of pure consciousness and is the state of bliss, optimum health, and happiness. When we are established in this state, we don’t need external sources to make us happy—we are just happy. Meditation guides us to the realization that everything in the universe is connected. In the state of meditation, we can witness an occurrence yet have a full sense of being removed from it. This means we are joyous, content, blissful, and connected. We are accepting of the present moment as it is without any feeling of needing to change.
Once we are able to easily find our way into a meditative state, we can then walk and function in this condition. Our actions are guided spontaneously to fulfill our needs and our desires according to the laws of nature. Living our life is free of suffering when every thought and action is spontaneously correct. This creates an ease of giving in love and relationships and connecting at deeper levels with all beings.
Ayurveda (from the Sanskrit words Ayur meaning life and Veda meaning knowledge) is an approach to healthy living based on holistic wisdom of the ancient eastern sciences. Ayurveda is the sister science of yoga and literally means science of life. It is an approach to living in harmony with the universe, the seasons, and nature to achieve optimum health.
Through a variety of detoxification and rejuvenation treatments combined with specific diet and lifestyle changes, Ayurveda aims to re-balance body, mind and spirit. Once established in that harmonious state, vibrant health arises spontaneously and naturally.
Five basic tenets of Ayurveda are:
2. Lifestyle based on individual constitution (includes exercise and stress reduction techniques)
3. Nutrition based on individual constitution (includes what to eat, how to eat, what not to eat, when to eat and what combinations of foods to eat)
4. Herbs, spices and supplements to augment homeostasis (internal balance)
5. Cellular Detoxification and Rejuvenation techniques (Panchakarma and Rasayana therapies).
Cellular Detoxification and Rejuvenation techniques (Panchakarma and Rasayana therapies) to improve the quality of the extracellular fluid which influences genetic expression (Science of Epigenetics). This is extremely helpful in management of chronic illnesses like Auto-immune diseases, arthritis, gastrointestinal diseases, recovery from cancer and major surgeries, Diabetes, skin conditions and degenerative neurological diseases. It is also one of the best techniques to prevent disease and slow down ageing.
Cellular detoxification called Panchakarma are the fivefold techniques that help in maintaining health by preventing disease through elimination of endogenous and exogenous toxins from the body. Panchakarma also helps in eliminating emotional toxins that accumulate in our physiology. Ayurveda also teaches that routine detoxification can be invaluable for maintaining good health during seasonal changes. Summer is the season where pitta humor accumulates in the body. Fall is the season when Vata accumulates in the body. Spring is the season when Kapha accumulates in the body. Panchakarma done during seasonal changes yields best results by removing aggravated humor from the body thus preventing disease.
Panchakarma to remove physical and mental AAMA is especially valuable in creating a state of wellbeing both at a physical as well as the mental level.. Once the physical AAMA is removed, humors can flow uninterrupted through the channels of the body to bring in appropriate nutrition and removing the unwanted waste products front the tissues. Once mental AAMA is removed there is free flow of Prana/ Chi to open and balance all the Chakras and thus create homeostasis. Prana along with choice less awareness (consciousness) is eventually the source of all healing/prevention in Ayurveda.
Panchakarma is used as a vehicle to get back to the self, the consciousness. If we only detoxify the mind and body without a way to get back to the source, it is only temporary. Source, consciousness, self is primary and is the only healer through the vehicle of Prana. Swasthya is being established in the self. Without that health does not happen and happiness is that state of health.
The set of procedures that follow the main therapies of Panchakarma, called post-Panchakarma therapies, are aimed at assisting the body in the re-establishment of healthy metabolic system and immunity. If these post-treatment procedures are neglected, the digestion may not normalize and the production of toxins would continue. So, after the program is over, it is advised to keep eating light, nourishing foods, such as mung dal soup and rice and to gradually add vegetables and other foods. It is recommended to slowly and gradually return to regular activities to avoid taxing the nervous system, because the body is in a sensitive, somewhat vulnerable state after treatment.
The lifestyle program that should be adopted at this time to support the treatment is called daily routine. The Ayurvedic clinician can give specific guidelines for daily routine as well as other seasonal guidelines and recommendations. He can also provide Rasyanas, which consist of herbal and mineral preparations with specific rejuvenating effects on body and mind. Rasyanas increase the vitality and energy of the person, nourish and rejuvenate the entire organism, and thus are an important part of the post- Panchakarma procedures.
If you were to imagine a form of medicine designed especially for 21st-century Americans, it might have the following traits:
· Preventive: It would cultivate wellness before illness takes root, strengthening a person's resilience to disease.
· Low intervention: It would pursue health through diet, exercise and lifestyle, using drugs and surgery as a last resort.
· Affordable: It would be cost-effective by reducing surgeries and hospital procedures for chronic disease.
· Holistic: It would see a person's body, mind and spirit — and their environment — as deeply interconnected.
· Personal: Practitioners would build relationships with patients, viewing them as unique individuals.
In short, it would look a lot like ayurvedic medicine, the traditional Indian health system growing robustly among Americans looking for wellness-focused health care.
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