Growing Our Wellness
In this age of science, technology, and civil society, vast arrays of opportunities are available to many of us. From new careers to new travel venues to new foods to sample to new friends from around the world—each offer choices that were unheard of a generation ago. Undoubtedly, the modern age has seen a greatly enhanced quality of life for people who live in societies with access to the many opportunities offered by advances in science, technology, civil rights, etc. At the same time, new challenges exist along with these opportunities.
With so many choices, one can wander from one experience to another without accomplishing anything at the risk of feeling without purpose. Excessive food, an abundance of things to do, constant deadlines, lack of meaningful friendships, superficiality of relationships, etc., place new strains on one’s life. This is reflected in poor physical, emotional, relational, financial, and spiritual health and wellness.
Given the growing cost that lack of wellness accrues, the question must be posed: “How can I stay well and enhance my sense of purpose while enjoying the opportunities that modern life offers?”
In addition to our material wealth, karma wealth includes our physical and mental wellness, our relational wealth, wealth that is represented by our unique talents and abilities, and our spiritual wealth. Our journeys in life are continually fueled by our karma wealth. If we are physically unwell we cannot take certain journeys, and other journeys may become painful. If we are poor, we may be limited in some ways. Karma wealth is difficult to grow, less difficult to maintain, but very easy to lose. In an instant you can lose a million dollars, you can ruin your physical health, and destroy your relationships. The key to maintaining good karma wealth is mindfulness. This is especially true in modern life where there are so many choices, making it easier to build karma wealth, but also making it very easy to lose it.
To grow your wellness you are encouraged to address these issues:
• How do I select my life’s journeys?
• How do I stay on my journey?
• How do I grow through my journey?
• How do I release the negative residue of my journey in a healthful way?
• How do I accept and continue if my journey fails?
The journey may be to become physically fit, to earn a degree from a University, to have a successful career, or to have a great family life. To address the issues mentioned above we developed this Karma Wealth Program using techniques mined from yoga practice, from modern technology with science as its basis, and from the humanities. To make the tools concrete and concepts practical, we study and practice physical tools provided by yoga developed over thousands of years. If you attend a yoga class, you will see three important tools being used. These are pranayam (mindful breath-work), kriyas (mindful movements) and asans (postures). These three practices are at one level an excellent physical workout to build health, but they are also a metaphor for tools to develop mindfulness. For example, pranayam represents nourishment to ensure our wellness. Kriyas and asans represent the stress required to improve our wellness. The specific RussaYog® sequences of pranayam, kriyas and asans have been developed through the RussaYog® style of yoga developed by Prof. Jasprit Singh. This program of wellness does not promise any miracles. It requires dedication, practice, self-reflection and research. One of the great frustrations for anyone trying to reach a goal is discovering how easy it is to be distracted from the goal. Each New Year begins with millions of people promising themselves: “I will exercise more;” “I will eat healthier and less food;” “I will treat my friends and family better;” “I will save more money;” “I will stop smoking,” etc. Most resolutions end up failing. The yoga-based exercises provide a simulation to test and build our resolve.
The book ”Karma Wealth and Wellness: Mindfulness Tools for the Age of Science and Technology” by Jasprit Singh (Available Fall 2012), is an outcome of Prof. Singh’s personal RussaYog® practice, teaching yoga, training yoga teachers as well as working in the field of technology for nearly four decades. In many ways yoga and technology are similar. Both have a similar way of using knowledge and implementing it in life. Both yoga and technology make the improbable happen. For most people, contracting diseases, experiencing pain, having a general lack of wellness, and making visits to doctors is the norm. A person practicing yoga can escape this norm. The products of technology also create seemingly miraculous experiences, like being able to fly and to talk to someone thousands of miles away. The practices that allow one to make the improbable happen routinely are, in fact, quite similar in yoga and in technology. Yoga requires dedication and regular practice, not wishful thinking. This book attempts to provide a road map for using yoga techniques in today’s hectic life.
The most important tool for wellness is developing a mindful lifestyle. Here is a suggested practice to begin the journey into mindful wellness:
- Each hour, close your eyes, and practice shant (peaceful) breath for one minute with the thoughts: (during inhale) “I am nourishing myself with oxygen” and (during exhale) “I am releasing negativity from my body and mind.”
- Practice this daily for two weeks, every hour when you are awake. If you miss a few, don’t fret. Try to make up the following hour by adding an extra minute to your practice. View this exercise as a ‘bathroom break’ or like brushing your teeth, or any other regular, healthy habit you acquire.
The new book, Karma Wealth and Wellness: Mindfulness Tools for the Age of Science and Technology, will become available in Fall 2012. Email us if you’d like to receive a copy!
Article written by Jasprit Singh.