How To Reach Optimal Health in 5 Steps

Our medical system, isolated in its scientific materialism, has mostly limited the perception and understanding of health to the observable physical level. Its symptom-based approach rather than a holistic preventive approach, fails to see symptoms as messengers of a deeper intelligence asking us to return to wholeness.

"Health is the absence of all conflicts"

It is not recommended to anyone to host conflicting belief systems and this is valid for health management too. If you are aware of the various levels of consciousness of your being due to any form of spiritual practice, then you want to take care of your health in full recognition of what you have realized through experience. 

To integrate the benefit of our spiritual practice into our healthcare we need a theoretical model that recognizes and integrates our experiences, understanding health as a holistic concept, not limited to the physical reality alone.

Here is a quick summary of a different approach to health from a holistic perspective: 

In Ayurveda and Yoga there is a very simple model that allows for great benefits.  It is called Pancha Kosha (in Sanskrit) the 5-layers or the 5-body system. Instead of limiting ourselves to the physical body alone, we associate with five different bodies: a spiritual body; a mental body; an emotional body; an energetic body and finally a physical body*, often represented as concentric circles, with the physical at the outskirt and the spiritual at the core.

Approaching health from this standpoint recognizes that all manifestation in our life comes from the spiritual core (often referred to as the causal plane).  This is the realm of Karma. 

Dis-ease only occurs when we are in dis-harmony with our environment, both internal and external, creating conflict, tension and stress. Manifestation at the very subtle causal level migrates thereafter to the other levels: mental, emotional, and then energetic before manifesting at the physical level. This understanding gives us an opportunity to manage health at each level and often restore harmony before manifestation of dis-harmony at the physical level. 

I will use a simplified situation to exemplify the scenario:

If for some reason I am momentarily in dis-harmony with my life’s purpose or if I neglect a principle that makes me who I AM, and ignore it, I could feel it at the core as a heaviness in the chest, or perhaps some form of sadness or anger. On that day I am so busy doing something else that I fail to listen to my innermost needs and fail to make adjustments at this very subtle level. This will allow the manifestation of dis-harmony to move to the mental level.

On this same day it is slightly colder than usual and it is my habit to wear light clothing. I go out for a long day during which I feel the cold (noticing it is cold is a mental function), but again, I am too concerned with other details to make the necessary adjustments. The lack of awareness of these two factors (heaviness in the chest and cold) associated with the pattern of going out lightly covered will create further condition for manifestation at the next level.

Someone on that day mentions to me that I should be careful with the cold and I brush it off, slightly annoyed to be given an advice that I did not ask for. I have just created the necessary imbalance in my emotional body that will weaken my immune system and allow manifestation to expand to the next level. 

Let say that on this day I did not manage to uphold my energizing morning exercise practice, hence my breathing function is not optimal--prana is not flowing freely in my lungs. With an uneven flow of prana, I have created further condition to allow manifestation at the energetic level.  The next day, inevitably I feel some irritation in my throat, and lungs. This is day one of the cold at the physical level, sometimes even so subtle that I can continue to ignore it, or numb it, for another day or so.

This is a simplified example for the sake of clarity alone and every situation is specific and require its own process.

Read on to get a brief explanation of how to use the 5-body model for your benefit... 

Step 1

Stay connected. Listen to your spiritual Self and to your intuitions. Do your homework to know who you are and what you must do in this life. Stay in line with your purpose and apply this knowledge to your life on a daily basis.

Practical tip: Being of service to others or to the whole is a good way to stay connected with your spiritual self. Mahatma Gandhi said "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself at the service of others".

Step 2

Stay aware. Become aware and remove unconscious mental patterns and behaviors. Turn off the autopilot and move consciously into your day. For most of us this means a lot of de-programming, unlearning and de-conditioning.

Practical tip: Meditation is a great best ally. Practice. Start with 15 minutes daily, aim towards 45 minutes daily (there are many form of meditation).

Step 3

Balance and center yourself. Become aware of your emotions. Be vigilant with the situations that trigger you. Learn how to process your emotions rapidly and regain your centre as quickly as possible. 

Practical tip: Remember that you are 100% responsible for your emotions.  Your power is in your response, not your reaction to the circumstances that arise in your daily life.  This is the ultimate tip to stay emotionally balanced.

Step 4

Learn to breathe. This will allow for prana to circulate and flow freely in your body. It is your best immune booster. When prana flows freely there cannot be disease.  This is the secret of most healers.

Practical tip: The yogic practice of Pranayama has been elaborated over hundreds of years to promote a healthy energetic body.  Take advantage of it.

Step 5

Stay active. Practice some movement (Tai chi, Yoga Asana, etc) and also some cardio work. Keep the body supple and tonic.  Keep the pranic circuitry healthy and flowing.  Our modern sedentary habits (long stays in chairs and car seats, staring at a screen for hours, etc) are not healthy.

Practical tip: Half an hour of movement to start the day, everyday! You will thank yourself later. Promised.

Infinite Love, Deva

* This denomination is used to simplify the more esoteric and complex (yet more accurate) original Sanskrit appellation: AnandaMaya kosha, VijnanaMaya kosha, ManoMaya kosha, PranaMaya kosha, and AnaMaya kosha. 

This article was previously published in March 2016 and has been slightly updated.