According to Ayurveda in order to attain complete health we must address the 4 components that relate to our human existence. These are the body, the mind, the emotions and the soul. These elements directly or indirectly effect each other. For instance if we pollute our mind with toxic thoughts of anger, resentment, fear etc then the physical body will begin to produce toxins or amma as it is called in Ayurveda. When our emotions are triggered and we are experiencing any intense feelings other than joy we have 20 minutes to resolve this before that energy begins to directly affect the liver.
The liver is put under the most strain when it comes to negative emotions. It is a highly sensitive organ, simply place your hand over it and laugh and you will feel vibrate and move with the movement and energy in your body. It is responsible for keeping all the tissues of the body healthy by converting the food we eat into substances the body can use, it filters and cleans the blood and is the only organ in the body that if you removed a piece of it would regrow. So using this example it is easy to see how, by simply having intense feelings we can influence our health. Think about how your breathing becomes when you are stressed or anxious, our breath is our essence, our life force. If we are restricting the amount and the quality of the life force we take in we are suppressing our body’s access to that life force and there for not living our optimal health.
When we cultivate a dedicated and complete yoga practice we have the opportunity to encourage health throughout the whole body. We are able to address the 4 principles of health according to Ayurveda. Through asana and pranayama practice we take care of the physical body, strengthening, stretching and unblocking any stagnant stuff we have stored. Through the focus and centring we aim to maintain throughout our practice we calm the mind and start to notice negative thought habits. Through the awareness we encourage with a still calm mind we start to notice our emotions and habitual emotional responses and when we use all these things to encourage harmony in our lives, we nourish our souls.
Yoga can be used as a tool to help achieve complete health. When we learn about what we need which we can only do through awareness of what is going on, then we can tailor our practice to allow us to work towards balance. By simply reflecting on the elements of health according to Ayurveda, we can assess what areas of our lives we may need to pay attention to.