Total Health

Dr. Swami Shankardevananda Saraswati (MB,BS Australia)

The potentiality of yoga in today's world is tremendous. There is a vast range of techniques, each one tried and tested through the ages, available as a means of increasing one's health on all levels to the highest possible degree. These techniques are available and need only be utilized for ever-increasing awareness and integration of all the creative faculties of mankind.

The need of mankind is great. Our world is suffering from disease, or dis-ease; that is, tension. According to recent surveys, only 20% of the world's population can boast of perfect health, which means freedom from disease of all types. The other 80% are divided into those who suffer from disease of one type or another periodically, approximately 60%, and those who are crippled by disease permanently, approximately 20%. Thus 80% of the people are suffering, and this implies tensions of which there are three basic types: physical, emotional and mental. Yoga is the best way to remove these tensions thus creating better health, living conditions and social environment. It is our aim, through the medium of Yoga, to show you some of these techniques, and explain scientifically how they help eradicate disease and how they can benefit you.

Each month we will present certain techniques. It is then up to you to practice these techniques so that the experience, and not just the words, may be integrated into your life. Only in this way can you experience awareness of the vast field that is yoga, and so come to know what an infinitely beneficial system yoga is. This presentation is but a broad outline or sketch of the system based on our experience. We can give ordered ideas, but we cannot give you the experience itself. For that, you yourself must put forth an effort.

What is health?

Health means wholeness. The word health is derived from the old English root which means 'whole'. This is understandable, as it is only through total body integration and thus whole system integration that health can be achieved.

Health means well-being; it means feeling good, energetic and responsive to the world around us. Health implies strength and the ability to cope with all the problems of modern stress. Thus when we are healthy we feel 'on top of the world'; living becomes a joy and a means of creatively fulfilling the time spent on the planet Earth.

It seems that it is only in the last few centuries that mankind has lost the awareness of true health and wholeness. Many ancient cultures had systems where people who were suffering from some imbalance in the body could readjust the faulty processes and so attain better health. This has been most notably observed in China with acupuncture; India with yoga; the American Indians with their systems of the dance and the shield; and other more ancient societies with their systems of healers and medicine-men. These ancient people had a notion of what it meant to be healthy and how to maintain their health. In fact many, such as the Hunzas, had very little idea of disease, as it was a rare occurrence and beyond most of their experience. Only today in our technologically advanced culture has disease attained such massive proportions, and become a multi-million dollar business. Indeed, today, it seems that we have lost the concept of what health really is, and are reticent to believe that perfect health exists. It is this concept of perfect health that yoga and Yoga magazine will present to you.

No one can be to blame for the predicament of the world today. It is nobody's fault. How can we even hope for good health when we are confronted from childhood with disease, both personally and all around us. We are not taught the correct and healthy way of life and so we live in a kind of blind ignorance. It is this blind ignorance that yoga can correct. Yoga has been created for this purpose, out of a genuine need because people are at last searching for some way to better their conditions and themselves. When the world situation exists that approximately 80% of the population have suffered or are suffering from some kind of disease, then the cry for help must be answered. The need must be met. Those who ask themselves 'what is health' can only be satisfied with direct experience.

The techniques we are presenting each month are extracts from an infinite source, an ocean of ideas and creativity. They may seem too difficult at a casual glance, but this is not so. With practice they can be mastered and their resulting benefits experienced by all. In themselves they are a vast and powerful source of energy and well-being. Once combined into daily life through regular practice, they start to take effect and produce noticeable changes in one's physical energy, emotional adjustment and mental alertness. They smooth out the creases and harmonize the facets of the human organism, increasing the circle of good health.

Conclusion

When all of mankind achieves wholeness, then there will be total good health. But in order to achieve total world harmony each individual must improve himself. We must each start within ourselves. By practising yoga you will improve yourself. Is this not a worthwhile and desirable goal? Take the responsibility of your life into your own hands and experience the wonder that is yoga.