How to Achieve Glowing Health and Vitality: A 10-Point Guide
Human life can be likened to a house fitted with the three windows of body, mind, and soul. Through these openings come pouring the three different rays responsible for man’s physical health, mental equanimity, and soul-enlightenment. Man has the independence and free will to live in the house of life with its three windows open or closed. When man closes the windows of life, he shuts out the three divine rays and finds himself living in the darkness of physical disease, mental disquietude, or abysmal soul-ignorance.
Most people have had one or more of their windows of life jammed shut for years. As a result, they suffer from chronic maladies. Their remedy lies in discovering how to open those windows themselves and bask once more in the all-healing rays of the Divine.
2. Right attitude toward diet
You must strike a balance between non-attachment to outer things and sensible concern for your present realities. So long as you are centered in body-consciousness, you must take sensible care of your body and follow the God-made laws that govern health and the physical body. At the same time, don’t over-emphasize the importance of the body or become too fastidious about diet. Many food faddists only weaken their systems by depending excessively on dietary principles.
Since you have to eat, eat the right kind of food. Choose a balanced diet, stick to it, and then forget the body. Devote your time to meditation and right living.
3. Do’s and Don’ts of Proper Eating
Every day the tissues of the body must be supplied with the proper body-building materials. In plastering a house, if you mix less lime in the sand, the plaster will begin to fall off in a short time. Similarly, our bodies decay when not “plastered” with the right type and quantity of body-building elements. The body begins to lose vigor, the tissues become flabby, the skin begins to wrinkle, and the cells begin to lose their building power.
In planning your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, be sure to give your body the proper type and quantity of body-building materials.
Eat sparingly of the right foods
Overloading the stomach with unnecessary food is one of the most common abuses of the body. Eat sparingly and notice the great change in your health for the better. Eating too much at one meal, followed by lack of exercise, develops the body disproportionately.
Eating freely of fruits and vegetables will greatly benefit your health, whereas eating too much starchy food and protein retains the poisons in the body.
Drink milk each day
Drink at least a glassful of good milk each day. Milk is the only food except eggs that alone can support human life. Drinking milk will help prevent old age and the sudden deterioration of the body, which result from not giving the body all the elements necessary for its healthy maintenance. Drink milk alone or with fruits—never with meals.
Avoid drinking ice water
Doctors say that drinking ice water lowers the temperature of the stomach thirty degrees. This is shocking and disastrous to an individual’s digestive power. Never drink ice water with your meals or when you are overheated. It’s best not to drink water of any kind with meals.
Eat only when hungry
The man who eats without real physical hunger is skating on the “thin ice” of digestibility. When he begins to tax his poor digestive power by greedily gulping unmasticated food in large quantities, and washing it down with ice water, he opens the door to illness and disease.
Eat in an atmosphere of calmness
Other important considerations in eating and digesting food are:
1. Proper selection of food
2. Attractive appearance and aroma
3. Pleasant environment
One should always partake of food with a thankful, joyful heart. Keep mealtimes calm and pleasant, and avoid eating when under the stress of emotion.
4. Analyze your mental diet
Have you ever analyzed your mental diet? It consists of the thoughts you think as well as the thoughts you receive from close contact with friends. Good thoughts are nourishing food for the mind, but thoughts of any other nature are poisonous to both mind and body. Peaceful thoughts and peaceful friends produce healthy, magnetic minds, whereas the wrong sort of friends produces inner disquietude and an unwholesome, gloomy mind.
No matter how busy you are, do not forget to free your mind regularly from all worries. Do not allow them to torture you. Remember that they were made by you. Learn to remove the causes of your worries without permitting them to worry you.
5. Add the “magnetic diet” of sunshine and oxygen
The magnetic diet consists of such food substitutes as sunrays and oxygen, which can be assimilated and converted into energy more quickly than solids and liquids. Oxygen and sunshine should have a very important place in people’s lives, because of their direct energy-producing quality.
When you are tired or hungry, take a sunbath and you will find yourself revived and recharged with ultraviolet rays. Inhale and exhale several times outdoors or near an open window, and your fatigue will be gone. A fasting person who inhales and exhales deeply twelve times, three times a day, is able to fully recharge his body with energy.
Practice the following exercise three times a day: Exhale slowly, counting from 1 to 6. Now, while the lungs are empty, mentally count from 1 to 6. Inhale slowly, counting from 1 to 6. Then hold the breath, counting from 1 to 6. Repeat eleven times.
6. How to remain youthful
You must take care of your body machine. As the years roll along, do not give up—as so many people do. Always be interested in life. Keep the mind busy by creating and doing new things. The infinite powers are at your command. Just as the ocean can help any wave to retain its form, so also can the everlasting ocean of Immortal Power behind the human body continue manifesting itself as that youthful, vital form.
Walk daily and bathe your body in the bacteria-killing sunshine. During the winter months, take time to go skating, skiing, and walking. Breathe the fresh, crisp, invigorating air of winter. Perform some sort of exercise every day until perspiration breaks out over your whole body. Your colds and other similar ills will soon disappear.
Sleep can be induced at will by lying on the back, closing the eyes, tensing and relaxing the body, and dismissing all thoughts. Try this until you learn to sleep at will.
Diseased teeth produce many ills. After eating, give your teeth a cleansing “shower bath.” If you have no toothbrush handy, rinse your mouth with water ten times after each meal.
One of the main causes of arthritis, rheumatism, and many other diseases is autointoxication, which is due to faulty elimination. Uneliminated, decayed food stays like a paste on the walls of the intestines and is absorbed into the bloodstream. Disease naturally follows.
A three-day fast once a month on orange juice, with a laxative each night while fasting, will expel poisons and do much to make the body strong, healthy, and youthful to the last days of life.
Smile from the heart
There is no better reviving tonic than a genuine smile, and no beauty greater than the smile of peace and wisdom glowing on your face.
7. Rejuvenation through relaxation
For complete relaxation of the body, first gently tense the entire body. Then relax and withdraw all energy from the body and remain relaxed, without the slightest physical motion. The complete absence of motion and tension from muscles and limbs is “relaxation.” Imagine that the body is jelly-like, without bones or muscles. When you can do this, you have attained perfect muscular relaxation.
Deep relaxation with AUM
Sit on a straight chair, with your spine upright. Expel the breath quickly and hold the breath, counting mentally 1 to 10. Inhale slowly, hold the breath, counting 1 to 10. Repeat ten times. Then expel the breath and forget it.
Concentrate on the toes of the left foot and say “AUM” mentally on each toe. Do the same to the toes of the right foot. Then concentrate on the sole of the left foot and then the right foot, saying “AUM” on each.
Concentrate on the left and right calves, mentally saying “AUM.” Do the same with the left and right thighs, left and right hips, navel, abdomen, liver, spleen, stomach, pancreas, heart, left and right lungs, left and right hands and arms, left side of neck, right side of neck, and front and back of neck.
Say “AUM” mentally, concentrating on the pituitary gland, pineal gland, medulla, point between the eyebrows, mouth, tongue and uvula, left and right nostrils, left and right eyes, left and right ears, cerebellum, and cerebrum.
Then go up and down the chakras: coccygeal, sacral, lumbar, dorsal, cervical, medulla, and Christ Center at the point between the eyebrows, mentally chanting “AUM.” Try to feel that the whole body is surrounded within and without with the holy vibration of AUM.
Mental relaxation consists of the ability to free the mind from haunting worries over past and present difficulties. Mastery in mental relaxation comes with faithful practice. It can be attained by learning how to free the mind of all thoughts at will and to keep the attention fixed on the peace and contentment within. By the regular practice of meditation you can achieve mental relaxation.
8. Rejuvenation through “super-relaxation”
“Super-relaxation” is the complete, voluntary withdrawal of consciousness and energy from the entire body and mind through the practice of meditation. By the practice of meditation, one achieves complete mental relaxation by releasing the consciousness from the delusion of duality and resting the mind in one’s true nature of unity in Spirit. One also achieves complete physical relaxation, inhibiting decay and the breaking down of bodily tissues. This keeps the bloodstream pure and promotes physical rejuvenation.
9. Draw on limitless cosmic energy
Willingness and determination keep the blood vitalized with life-energy. If you can maintain an attitude of joyful willingness at all times, you will find your body constantly supplied with fresh cosmic energy drawn into the body through the door of the medulla oblongata. Your blood will be charged with life-current, making it immune to the invasion of bacteria.
To keep your body vibrating with life current, strengthen your willingness and determination in everything.
10. The highest form of rejuvenation
The highest form of rejuvenation is to unite the human consciousness with the infinite Cosmic Consciousness through meditation. When you are able to feel your body as vibrating currents in the ocean of Cosmic Consciousness, you will find not only perpetual rejuvenation in the soul, but also in the body. Meditation is the greatest way of resurrecting your soul from the bondage of body and all your trials. Meditate at the feet of the Infinite. Learn to saturate yourself with Him.
Excerpted from: How to Achieve Glowing Health and Vitality by Paramhansa Yogananda, Crystal Clarity Publishers.
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