By Myra Lewin
Health is found in a place between extremes. It is a place of not too much, not too little. It looks like eating enough simple food, getting enough movement in your body, devoting enough time to spiritual development and spending enough time with positive community. What is “enough” depends entirely on your unique needs – there is no other guide than the one within to identify your limits.
Finding your place of balance is easier when you cultivate a regular meditation practice. Think of it as a training ground for your mind, a way to experience your stillness to allow your inner voice to speak. Follow your breath consciously and do nothing but be. With a regular practice, it soon becomes easier to make choices that lead to greater balance in all areas of your life.
A food that is “good for you” can have quite a different effect when eaten in excess or in poor combination with other foods. We see the results of this in many clients who come to Hale Pule for Ayurvedic consultations. They believe they are doing all the right things for their health, but still experience gas, constipation, anxiety and other symptoms. When we peel back the layers of their daily habits, these clients are often overconsuming a so-called healthy food or eating it in ways that weaken agni, or digestive fire.
One of the most revered ancient texts on Yoga, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, has 196 sutras, or small threads of wisdom, about the practice of Yoga. Did you know that only four of these talk about asana, or the physical postures that most people associate with Yoga?
It was New Year’s Eve. I was in a strange house in Maui. My teacher, whom I had met in person just two days before when I arrived from Canada, slept a few rooms away. It was late and the house was silent. I lay in bed, feeling like I was going to jump out of my skin. Tomorrow, January 1, 2010, I would begin my first silent retreat at Hale Pule. This was my opportunity, as a Yoga student and teacher, to become a yogini – to embrace the practices of Yoga and Ayurveda as the foundation for my life. But that would mean letting go, and in the darkness of that room, that felt very scary to me. My mind raced: “Are you sure you want to do this? Are you sure you want to take this direction with your life?”
You peer into the mirror. There are new lines around your eyes. You see a few new white hairs popping out from your scalp. The universe is giving you a choice here: you can either resist the aging process with chemicals, surgery and fear, or you can simply accept the changes as a reflection that you, too, are a part of nature.
Everything in nature ages, including us. But aging doesn’t have to be scary (no matter what the advertisements may say). In fact, it can be a lovely, natural experience. And, by finding balance in your body and mind and embracing changes as they come, you may find that you can actually feel better with age.
Ayurveda and Yoga can serve as guides to help you feel stronger, more confident and secure as you progress in the natural process of life.