Many of the health conditions that threaten the performance and fulfilment of India's executives, parents and others are being traced to lifestyle issues - diet, sleep and adequate exercise. I would like to add spiritual practices also.
Researchers predict that heart disease, diabetes, cancer and HIV/AIDS will claim nearly eight million lives in India by 2020, more than double the number in 1990. The World Health Organisation estimates that mortality from diabetes and heart disease cost India about $210 billion every year and is expected to increase to $335 billion in the next 10 years.
For me, good health is not only the absence of physical ailments or discomfort; it is complete physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. It is wholeness and balance in all aspects of a person.
Trinity of Power
Diet is an important aspect of good health on the physical level. While it's easy to say one should cut back on sugary desserts and fatty dishes, this can be especially difficult for people who I refer to as Type 2 personalities in my book 8 Types of Leaders Every Leader Should Know. These are warm-hearted, generous people who others tend to confide in. They are the peacemakers and over time, they become the wise ones in any organisation; whether they are the head of the human resources department at a multinational corporation or the nurturing caregiver in a family. They have the most difficulty in managing cravings for carbohydrates.
Hard driving businesspeople who I classify as Type 3s and dramatic Type 4s who love to entertain and light up a party are most likely to experience addictions to alcohol and other substances.
These conditions can be explained by imbalances in the Trinity of Power that consists of willpower, love-wisdom and, creative intelligence. Spiritual Type 2s have often fine-tuned their love-wisdom, but lag behind in willpower or creative intelligence. The money making Type 3s and creative Type 4s excel in logical and/or abstract mental development by comparison to their less honed love-wisdom and will-power.
To succeed and find fulfilment in life, it is important to fly on two strong wings - one material and the other spiritual. By understanding the Trinity of Power, it is easier to see what virtues, including the virtue of good health, can be developed further. [Read Balance your life]
While diet is essential to good health, handling ever increasing stress loads also plays into ones ability to adhere to their ideal meal plans. Resilience is an attitude of winners and a reflection of willpower development. Resilience doesn't mean you will never fail; it means you will pick yourself up and carry on. It is the ability to see ahead to the contributions that can be made and the willingness to continue to refine ones character to be able to bounce back from adversity or failures in order to continue to work to realise those aspirations. For those who are monitoring their diets, resilience is going back to their food plan after a second or even a third pani puri or kulfi without guilt and with a can-do spirit.
Why is it that when one wakes up in the morning it is easy to walk by sweet temptations, but after a day, handling the demands of the office or family, it is easier to give in to having "just one". Psychological conditions often brought on by stress affects physical health. With stable emotions and mind, people are more stress tolerant and less likely to be tempted.
Tips for psychological health
- Maintain high vitality constantly through exercise, breathing techniques, sufficient rest and proper food.
- Release stress and maintain a balanced emotional and mental attitude. Stress affects health by weakening the immune system and lowering productivity.
- Purify your physical space by burning sandalwood incense.
- Engage in continuous study to become more productive in social and mental activities that can be used for service
Tips for spiritual health
With greater emotional and mental health, the next aspect of good health involves spiritual health. This includes:
- Study of spiritual subjects and applied service in a way that can be described as futuristic
- Meditation and spiritual practices
- Development and use of inner powers for greater good
- Participation in work for human and world development.
Hidden dangers of meditation and yoga
Advanced spiritual practices that include holding the breath for a long time can build tremendous pressures in the body and awaken the body's sacred fire, kundalini. This can bring about sudden and uncontrolled hypertension. Therefore, it may not be safe to practice advanced techniques with long breath retention for people with diabetes, heart or eye disease, migraines, cancer, HIV/AIDS and other chronic conditions. My book Hidden Dangers of Meditation and Yoga explains these phenomena and offers safe alternatives for people with these chronic conditions.
Here is a safe regime for people who have been diagnosed with hypertension:
- Use meditations that release stress and congestion, but avoid advanced powerful meditations that surge the energy of the back-of-navel centre
- Avoid abdominal breathing techniques that emphasise long breath retention, especially holding the breath after exhalation. This technique awakens the kundalini rapidly.
- Improve your diet and consider becoming vegetarian.
- Take a salt-water bath [add a cup of table salt to the tub] to decongest the back-of-navel and lower chakras and to release congestion caused by kundalini awakening.
- Hypertension medication can work temporarily to inhibit the back-of-navel chakra from becoming very sensitive.
The purpose of maintaining good health is not just to achieve your goals, but mostly to be able to enjoy your success after you have achieved it and to be able to cherish the fruits of your labour. It is good to be very successful, alive and especially healthy.
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