What is health? Health is having all these – a disease-free body; a quiver-free breath; a stress-free mind; an inhibition-free intellect; an obsession-free memory; an ego that includes all, and a soul that is free from sorrow.

Only a healthy bud can blossom into a beautiful flower. In the same way, only a healthy being can achieve the goal they want to achieve. The Sankrit word for health is ‘swaasthya’, which means to be established in one’s self. The ancient scriptures mention that our body has five levels of existence – the environment or the atmosphere: our physical body; life force or prana; mind, which includes our thoughts, ideas, memories and emotions; and the intuitive body, which subtler.

Healthy food is not just a commodity but a prescription for a healthy life. Click To Tweet

Illnesses manifest in the body either when you violate a natural law, or as a release of past impressions or karma. Karma is nothing but the impressions in the consciousness that can get released through some illness. Another cause of illnesses is violation of the laws of nature. For example, you know you should not eat something at certain time and yet you do or you know you should not let stress collect in your system and yet you overwork.

The capacity of our senses to enjoy or experience objects is limited. When we overdo it, then sickness manifests. When there is an imbalance between the food intake, exercise, and rest, then also chances are we might get sick.

An often overlooked aspect of health is the connection between breath, life force, and wellbeing. Breath is synonymous with life. The primary aim of practices like meditation and pranayama is to enhance prana, the subtle life force energy. Our life force is subtler than emotions. By focusing on the subtlest aspects, you also take care of the gross ones. When you manage your breath and life force, your body also gains strength.

Ninety percent of the impurities in the body are released through the breath, yet we typically utilise only 30 percent of our lung capacity. The breath holds profound and transformative secrets for staying healthy. For instance, each emotion corresponds to a particular rhythm in the breath, which directly impacts specific parts of the body.

By simply observing, you can understand this connection. When we are happy, there is a sense of expansion, and when we are miserable, there is a sense of contraction. Although we experience these emotions and sensations, we often overlook this correlation. When you find it challenging to manage your mind directly, you can do so indirectly through your breath.

You receive energy primarily from four sources: food, sleep and rest, breath (which can be learned through specific exercises), techniques like sudarshan kriya that can energise every cell of the body, and a pleasant state of mind that is achievable through meditation. All these are crucial for our overall wellbeing. Presently, there is research showing how sudarshan kriya and pranayama influence the immune system, indicating that attending to the breath and mind can boost immunity.

Food is a key source of energy for the body and mind. Like breathing, we also need to look at what we are putting in our body. We have a prayer – “annadata sukhi bhava” which means, may the one growing our food; one who is bringing it to our homes and one cooking it be healthy and prosperous. If the farmer is unhappy and unhealthy, then the country cannot be happy and healthy. Jaisa ann waisa mann – we become as the food we eat. Healthy food is not just a commodity but a prescription for a healthy life. Natural farming is not just a way to grow food, but a way to respect and nurture the Earth. Our over 22 lakh farmers, trained in natural chemical-free farming, have proved that natural farming can be just as profitable; reduce the input costs for the farmers, produces healthy crops, and keep the farmer as well as consumer healthy too.

The fourth source of energy is rest. Allocate one week every year for yourself, just how you would service your car. During this time, align yourself with nature, rise with the sun, practice yoga and breathing techniques mindfully, eat moderately, chant, observe silence, and witness creation. Sit for a silence programme. This practice rejuvenates our entire system and fills us with enthusiasm and clarity. It brings a smile from within.

Understanding a bit about our mind, consciousness, and the root of distortions is helpful. Each individual is inherently good; these virtues are simply obscured by stress and misunderstanding. All we need to do is uncover these virtues – much like a room that has been dark for years can be illuminated in an instant with a lamp. (Apr 7 is World Health Day)