Let's say you've just returned from a business trip that didn't go well. You spent the entire trip deprived of sleep and jet lagged, you haven't moved your bowels in days and your skin is starting to flake. But not only that, you weren't able to close the deal with which you were charged and your boss has told you that you'll have to compensate in the coming months to prove your worth to the company. Upon returning home, a pain in your lower back you thought was gone has returned in full force.
What is it that most people would do to resolve these various issues? Typically, they'll see their general practitioner to help them resolve their constipation and any remnants of sleep deprivation, they'll see a specialist to help them resolve their back pain, they'll see a dermatologist for their skin and perhaps they’ll consult their therapist to help them overcome the stress of being bullied by their boss. In Western culture, we are taught to go to one place (or 20 places) to get treatment for the body and then a different place to get treatment for the mind. But this practice reflects a misperception: that the mind and body exist as separate entities.
When really, they exist as a single whole. They exist as you.
We learn through the ancient Ayurvedic system to resolve issues of the body like disease and through the Yogic system to resolve issues of the mind like anxiety and depression. But while these two systems were developed with their own frameworks, they exist as sister sciences intended to help people to create balance in all aspects of their lives as part of a single process.
This symbiotic relationship can be seen in what are known as the doshas and the gunas. In Ayurveda, practitioners assess how a person's body is in relative balance or imbalance as a result of their relationship to the elements found in nature. The three doshas give the practitioner the ability to determine if their patient has too much airiness and dryness (dry skin, constipation, nervous disorders), too much heat (hyperacidity, irritated skin, liver complaints) or too much moisture (congestion, asthma, diabetes).
In Yogic tradition, we can analyze the workings of the mind in a similar way. The three gunas help us to determine if our thoughts are more aggressive ("I'm right and you're wrong"), more passive ("I don't really care about who's right and who's wrong") or balanced ("Let us investigate and find truth").
When someone deals with issues like the person did after the unsuccessful business trip, they will go through two basic steps: Identify each of the problems and respond to them separately. We might be given different medications like sleeping pills, antidepressants and muscle relaxants and hope none of their side effects compromise our well-being. We might go to a doctor one day and a therapist on a different day. But when we consider this situation in relation to the Ayurvedic and Yogic way of life, we don't just stop at that second step. We add a third.
We use all of this information to treat ourselves as a whole individual.
This is the missing link to total wellness and health.
What you could determine with the help of an Ayurvedic and Yogic practitioner is that yes, you might be sleep-deprived and constipated, but that reflects an airiness born from travel and nourishing the body will not only help you to resolve those ailments but would also have helped you sleep better and allowed you to be more present to the task you were completing for business. And, even if you still didn't close the deal, in a more grounded, present state you would be able to assess how your thoughts were overly passive in allowing your boss to threaten you and that you would benefit from either changing the dynamic of your relationship or find a less toxic work environment. Other modalities might keep your different issues separate, but addressing them as a whole would help you to resolve your ailments and also resolve stress and the other struggles in your mind.
You may find that you have imbalances in different areas of your life, and though considering them through separate constructs like the doshas and the gunas is a step, it's not the final step. The missing link in total wellness and health is taking all of this information and correlating them together into a single way of moving forward. When we do this, we create a far greater opportunity for living in love and light.
Interested in moving forward with greater insight into your own body and mind? Take the Yogi Cameron Dosha and Guna quiz by clicking here.
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