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Who is a Healthy Person?

A question posed to TKV Desikachar, one of the greatest modern yoga teachers, was: “Sir, could you please tell us what is meant by health? How do you understand a healthy person?”.

He answered: “The best word that comes to my mind for health is the Sanskṛit word SvasthaSva indicates myself and Stha means to remain. For me, health is that state of being where I can manage myself”.

Ancient philosophies such as Ayurveda, Yoga and Buddhism form a wonderful combination of complementary practices on how to live and experience life. Ayurveda goes beyond application of medications, Yoga goes beyond a form of exercise, and Buddhism goes beyond a belief system, and together they provide the necessary tools for the development of a regular and systematic change on the way we eat, rest, exercise and understand life. In Sanskrit, the words that best describe these concepts are:  Āhāra, Vihāra and Sattva, or right food, right activity and a balanced, calm and pleasant mind. In these systems of health, the mind is not seen as disassociated from the body. Instead it is seen as the most important factor to be kept healthy, as it is the ‘chief’ of our life. The mind, as the Sattva element, will eventually define the first two: food and activity. As in modern life both are available in many diverse and seemly infinite forms, a good relationship and good knowledge of the workings of our mind is of the most importance.

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