Sadhguru is a yogi, humanitarian, and NY Times bestselling author. Here, he outlines 5 simple ways to give your system the balance it needs to live joyfully.
Right now, the United Nations is predicting a mental health pandemic along with the COVID pandemic. These are challenging times for every one of us. People have lost jobs and closed businesses – there are many struggles. But when we face challenging times, we should not start working against ourselves. People think doctors have to fix our lives. If we get the virus, we will go to the doctor because it is an external invasion, and we need help. But so many people are making themselves miserable with their thoughts and emotions.
We need to understand that our physical and mental health are both fundamentally our responsibility. The source of our wellbeing, joy, and love is invested in us. This pandemic has at least given us the time to look at these aspects. It is time to explore that.
1. Learn to Sit Right
Whether you name it stress, anxiety, or whatever else – essentially, there is friction in the system. So it is important that first, the system is geometrically well-aligned, and next, it must be properly lubricated. There are ways to do this. Where there is geometrical perfection, there is no effort; there is no friction. That is what you have to bring into your system.
The simplest thing is you just learn to sit properly. Sit in such a way that the body does not need your muscular support, that it is so well balanced that if it sits, it simply sits. Just do this for a few hours a day, and you will see – you will feel much better.
2. Say No to Snacking
In Yoga, we say that an unclean colon and psychological disturbances are directly connected. If the colon is not clean, you cannot keep your mind stable.
When the digestive process is happening in the stomach bag, the purification of the body on the cellular level almost shuts down. So if you keep eating through the day, the cells retain impurities for a longer period, which creates various problems over a period of time. Even the excretory process from the intestines does not happen efficiently because the waste material will keep coming to the colon at different times instead of at once.
In the Yogic system, we say there must be a minimum of six to eight hours between one meal and the next. If that is not possible, at least a five-hour gap is a must. Less than that means you are causing trouble to yourself.
3. Reduce Meat Consumption
The type of food we eat has a huge impact on the mind. An average American is said to consume 200 pounds of meat per year. If you bring it down to 50 pounds, you will see 75% of the people will not need antidepressants anymore. Meat is a good food to survive if you are out in the desert or the jungle. If you are lost somewhere, a piece of meat will keep you going because it provides concentrated nourishment. But it should not be a daily food that you eat when there are other choices.
There are many ways to look at this. One thing is animals have the intelligence to know in the last few moments that they are going to get killed, no matter how cunningly or how scientifically you do it. Any animal that can express some kind of emotion will always grasp when they are going to be killed.
Suppose all of you come to know right now that at the end of this day, you are going to get slaughtered. Imagine the struggle that you would go through, the burst of chemical reactions within you. An animal goes through at least some fraction of that. This means when you kill an animal, the negative acids and whatever other chemicals are in the meat. When you consume the meat, it creates unnecessary levels of mental fluctuations.
If you put people who are on antidepressants on a conscious vegetarian diet, in about three months, most of them will not need their medication anymore.
4. Don’t Forcefully Deny Yourself Sleep
How much sleep your body needs depends on the level of physical activity you perform. There is no need to fix the quantum of either food or sleep. When your activity levels are low, you eat less. When they are high, you may eat more. The same goes for sleep. The moment the body is well-rested, it will get up, whether at 3 AM or 8 AM. Your body should not wake up to an alarm bell. Once it feels sufficiently rested, it must come awake.
But if the body is somehow trying to use the bed as a grave, it won’t want to come out. Someone will have to raise you from the dead! It depends on how you are handling your life. If you are in a mental state where you want to avoid life, you will naturally tend to eat and sleep more.
We can give you a simple, 12-minute meditation called Isha Kriya. It is available online and as an app. It gives you this possibility that if you simply sit here, there is a little space between you and your body, you and your mind, and between you and the world. Once you create this space within you, once you know what is you and what isn’t, that is the end of suffering. When there is no fear of suffering, you will be able to look at everything with utmost clarity and address every issue to the best of your intelligence and capability. Situations will never overwhelm you.
Named one of India’s 50 most influential people, Sadhguru’s work has touched the lives of millions worldwide through his transformational programmes. His approach does not ascribe to any belief system but offers powerful and proven methods for self-transformation. Sadhguru’s flagship programme is called Inner Engineering Online.
For more information, please visit: ishaeu.org/OGP-IEO
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