These days, “yoga” is a household term in the United States, while the term Ayurveda is still unknown. Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science, is also Sanskrit and means Science or Wisdom of Life. It is the oldest and most complete holistic mind-body medicine still practiced on this planet. The ancient texts and complete medical books of Ayurveda are over 5,000 years old! Yes, even Chinese Medicine has its roots in Ayurveda. Ayurveda and yoga are two of many ancient wisdom traditions that have laid the successful path of self discovery, awareness and transformation. Together they are a complementary medical system that helps us to understand ourselves from all levels of existence: physical, emotional, mental, higher/spiritual self and Soul Self. The image above is a visual guideline of this roadmap showing the interconnectedness between self and others and how your personal health and wellbeing can affect others.
Ayurveda gives us guidance and blue prints of what it means to be a Whole Being. It is the same map that helps one to understand what it means to be healthy. This road-map to wholeness and wellbeing is called “Swasthavritta” or the science of being established in one’s self. Ayurveda acknowledges each person as an unique individual with different needs AND at the same time is part of a massive whole (like the image above). Ayurveda celebrates the connection of physical, sensory, mental, spiritual AND social wellbeing! Yes, you heard me right, SOCIAL wellbeing! Recognizing that individual health is just the starting point and social health is a direct reflection of healthy people coming together in union, or yoga.
You might be asking yourself, “Established in one’s self? Don’t I live with myself each day?”
True, however, are you at peace and acceptance with yourself each day? Do you make mindful choices and decisions about food, beverage, recreation, medicine, work and relationships that support your Whole Being and, thus, your family and community’s wellbeing? Do you know Who you are at the core of your being? I truly believe that each person on this planet is here to understand this question and to discover it for him or herself. According to Ayurveda, to be healthy means to have awareness and make choices that support and nurture your Whole Being—body, mind and spirit.
The concept of being established in one’s self as part of a medical system truly paves a way for a global paradigm shift in what it means to be healthy. Healthy is not just being pain or disease free. It’s more than that. Healthy is swasthavritta, being established in one’s self. Healthy is recognizing that each decision you make affects the whole, including your family and society’s wellbeing. This ancient wisdom has many keys that can help unlock our current medical structure and evolve medicine to new horizons where people come first, not their disease.
I invite you to take a deeper look at the visual map of whole being, or well-being, above. May you find many “aha!” moments, healing moments and inner-smiles as you begin to contemplate swasthavritta and your own life.
Aloha & Namaste.
Last night I rediscovered “What’s your Passion?” from past blogs on an older website. On the memorial date that changed the world’s events forever, and thus our lives, I felt it was appropriate to repost it. Especially now as the spouse of an active duty Marine Corps Infantry Officer, I find this post more meaningful than when I first wrote it. May you continue to find gratitude in all parts of your life including the stranger or person standing next to you. Every-body is extraordinary with an extraordinary story.
February 7, 2010 by Haunani Chong
About two weeks ago I was truly blessed to attend a reception sponsored by the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine with special guest Naomi Judd in San Diego, California. The reception, titled “Journey into Healing,” turned out to be spiritually uplifting and confirmed the path I’m walking on now and the path that lies before me.
Starting off as an inspirational speech, inviting doctors to consider the more subtle aspects of whole-being (like emotional and spiritual health), the reception turned into a night of promoting and advocating integrative health and wellness solutions for ALL, including our service men, women and veterans.
Towards the end of an hour-long, interactive, and surprising, funny speech, Miss Judd concluded by reading a letter from her lifelong friend. Miss Judd’s friend was a mother who watched her son’s life change, transform, and eventually end because he chose to live his life’s purpose (dharma)—serving in our Country’s military. This letter was brutally honest, heart wrenching and at the same time life-promoting. What struck my heart-chords the most was the line, “Will my country ever learn to love the way he loved for our country?” Tears filled my eyes.
For the past two weeks I’ve taken this same question personally. Will I ever learn to love the way he loved for my country and me? I am touched by this young gentleman’s selflessness. He was willing to sacrifice it all for my freedom. And yours. My freedom to be here now writing this blog, to attend a post-graduate degree in Asian Medicine, to teach yoga and to have the ability to share my ideas and thoughts in public. That’s love, unconditional love—to serve in a way that allows others to live their dreams.
So, what’s your love?
My love is humanity. My love is you. My love is medicine. My calling is to serve all of humanity by improving medicine by integrating holistic mind-body solutions into clinics, hospitals and all lives, especially the military system.
Today, I ask you: what do you love so much that you’d be willing to sacrifice it all?