A few days ago I received a consultation by an Ayurvedic doctor, or as the locals say a jungle physician. Nothing was necessarily wrong with me, I was just curious to see what he had to say about me. Prior to the appointment, I was already formulating expectations of what the experience would be like. I expected a reading of my pulse and a long drawn out list of specific questions about myself and my habits.
The physician’s “office” was on a small balcony of the Ayurvedic center. There were two chairs and nothing else. I shook his hand firmly and said hello. He was sitting opposite to me. He asked me why I wanted to see him, to which I explained that I really didn’t know. I was just there for any information he could give me. We spent 40 minutes together. We had a great conversation which was an extraction of information about me and my daily life. He didn’t necessarily tell me anything that I didn’t already know, he just reconfirmed that what I know is true. I need to slow down, get enough sleep, eat cooling foods and take care of my stomach. I should strive for enjoyment and flow in my yoga practice. He also told me that I’m lucky to have found yoga and eastern philosophies at such a young age. I can use them to prevent future disease.
What astounded me was his ability to observe. During those 40 minutes he didn’t take his eyes away from me. There was a constant visual scan of everything I was doing. There was no pulse taking or real physical exam except with his senses. The last time I saw my own physician in the US, it was a 10 minute visit, of which 8 minutes were spent with diagnostic aides and the remaining few minutes with conversation. I become downgraded to a number and a disease.
We, globally speaking, tend to abandon our own senses and feelings about our health in the western world. We rely solely on objective testing to find out what ails us instead of using our own internal intellect. If we don’t have proof, it doesn’t exist. But what will it take to bring about this intellect or sixth sense? Some of us have the ability to tap into it, but most of us don’t. Because of this lack of awareness can western and eastern medicine truly commingle? My research has begun.
I often find myself trying to apply scientific principles in my yoga practice. An object in motion tends to stay in motion, an object at rest tends to stay at rest unless acted upon by another force…when one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to that of the first body. I have lots of these. I think I will always have a tendency to try and apply science to yoga. It’s my nature, it’s how I was educated. However, since my study of yoga embarked, my internal awareness has had an upswing. My senses (taste, touch, smell, hear, and see) have augmented. I know how I’m supposed to feel, I know how food is supposed to taste, I have a better relationship with my hands and feet. I have a better relationship with myself and nature. It can only get better from here.
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