Yoga Mail

By Zu Anjalika Kamis Gunnulfsen

Everyone talks about the nature of life, but what is it truly? We all know that life is always changing and ever evolving, hence the theory of evolution. Evolution talks about the process of heritable change in populations of organisms over multiple generations and this is true of the entire universe, which is an enormous, pulsating container of energy.

Essentially, all living things go through changes as they grow and develop. The nature of life dictates that when one living thing dies, a new one replaces them, which ensures the survival of the species. During its life, a living thing goes through physical changes that allows it to reach adulthood and produce new beings. This is what we call a Life Cycle and it applies to plants, animals and humans.

Let’s us look at human life and human nature. While human life is the generic term used to talk about birth, life and death, human nature depicts ways of thinking, feeling and acting – which has been said to be inherited naturally. This term is often regarded as capturing what is it to be human or the essence of humanity.

When we are born, we are all likened to a clean white slate – awaiting life’s experiences to be engraved onto it. As life goes on from a toddler to a child, teenager and right into adulthood, the clean white slate transforms into a different colour. Its colour depends on what is being imparted and nurtured, and later on, the life we all choose to live. In the next stage, where stress and fusses of daily living take control of our lives, the natural process of life is interrupted.

In the yogic context, upholding the ethical guidelines of the Yamas specifically ahimsa (i.e. non-harming) and satya (i.e. truthfulness) can be pretty much a challenge these days especially with the existence of social media. Distraction is a major setback albeit having technology at the fingertips. All these, along with poor nutrition and lack of rest block the flow of energy and focus which in turn leads to poor health.

Hence, young children need be taught hatha yoga, mindfulness practices, deep breathing and effective relaxation to strengthen their building blocks.

Nevertheless, it does not end here. When yoga is coupled with its sister science, Ayurveda, children will experience a boost in their health. More than 5,000 years ago, way before the emergence of technology, the yogis took a leap in maintaining health, vitality and peace of mind. They developed the wisdom of Ayurveda. Translated directly, ‘Ayurveda’ means knowledge of life – which is all about living life in balance with our own nature. Ayurveda is about incorporating a daily routine, exercise, diet and herbal therapies for balance. It also speaks of the importance of massage and touch for building a stronger physique as well as for detoxification – an imperative part of living life naturally. Ayurveda tells us that optimal health and full human potential are dependent on a lifestyle that is in sync with the cycles of nature. It also tells us that living out of sync with these cycles will deplete vitality, cause stress, create excessive desires and ultimately cause dis-ease.

The paragraph below explains a basic daily routine, taken from the concept of Ayurveda that one can practise. It is recommended that this is started at a young age.

One should wake up early in the morning, preferably before sunrise. Once up, drink a large glass of warm water to cleanse the system. The next thing to do is to splash water on the face, scrape the tongue and brush the teeth. Even though tongue-scraping is so underrated, the benefits it offers are abundant. Subsequently, the bowels and bladder are emptied. It is favourable if it is done within the first hour of waking. Unreleased toxins cause so much problems to our body. Make sure they are excreted at least once a day.

The importance of exercise cannot be ignored; hence, one should do at least 10 to 15 minutes of morning yoga. Brisk walking or other cardio workouts may also be incorporated. Sitting in silence allows one to look from within. It also sharpens the intellect and helps tremendously with focus. One may wish to sit in silence preferably in the nature for 5 to 15 minutes daily. 

Finally, I am sure we have all heard of the adage, “eat to live; not live to eat.” The Yogis have long been adhering to this wisdom; so should we. Eat healthy meals in moderate amounts throughout the day. Let’s embrace a healthy lifestyle together!