What Healthy Means....Bing! Here is an unfiltered photo of my happy self after three weeks in India, walking down the freshly rained streets in Dubai. So happy, so radiant.
But that's not the whole story... sure, it would have been a great FB or IG update pic -- Look at me people! I'm all glowing from my trip to India! Or I could have struck a nice scorpion pose in my dress and headscarf, apply some filters and BAM! The next sensation - for 4.5 seconds.
The reality behind how I look in this photo is quite a different story. I had just completed an Ayurvedic overhaul at the Somatheeram Clinic in Kerala, India. I remember our first day there well. After a thorough Ayurvedic Doctor's assessment of my physical, mental and energetic state I was given a diagnosis of my condition and my 7 day treatment plan.
So maybe this is not surprising to you, but it was to me, I was diagnosed with severe exhaustion. "What? Severe exhaustion? Really?, Cuz I feel fine" I retorted. Three days later, after custom fresh cooked meals, 2 hour daily 4 hand massages and treatments, and some Ayurvedic herbs and potions eaten and applied, I found myself in a hopeless heap on my bed. A numbness had overcome my entire body, a tingling in my fingers and toes. I had no control over my lower lip - I could barely speak. I thought I was DYING. I remember the concerned look of my cottage mate peering at me through the mosquito net. I still resisted the truth of the matter trying to drum up a dozen reasons why I was apparently having a meltdown -- bad food, malaria, dengue fever! All the while, there was an inner knowing that my diagnosis was sadly true.
I was experiencing the result of my body letting go of all the cumulative stress, lack of sleep (yes folks, 6 hours a night is NOT ENOUGH!), excessive use of caffeine, and poor diet. After a few more days of Ayurvedic treatments, I had the unique experience of feeling absolutely VITAL. Something I hadn't felt since.. well, I just don't know when.
Ayurveda is an ancient science of health based on the idea that you are born into this world as a combination of all the elements in a unique and perfect original condition. When certain aspects of that condition are off balance, the whole manifestation of you (body, breath, and yes, even your mind) can start to manifest disease. My disease is clear to me now. I work too much, I beat my body into the "yoga shape" students expect of a yoga teacher, I have deep seated belief that if I don't work hard, I won't survive. And I eat and drink to maintain all of that.
So I have to ask you this, because I've been asking myself this on a daily since my return....What is enough? What lengths will you go to, what battles do you wage on yourself, your health, your relationships, to achieve your goals? I'm not saying we shouldn't want awesome things, or enjoy life and all of the gifts it has to bring. Desire, after all, is what fuels this inventive dynamic economy and our mind-blowing aspirations, our higher highs. But at what cost? To me, health means balance. The Ayurveds call this balancing the doshas - and it starts with understanding your basic natural makeup and doing the super simple things to maintain optimal health.