Sadhguru: Fundamentally, the word “health” comes from the root word “whole.” What we call “feeling healthy,” is that we have a sense of wholeness within us. Just being free of diseases medically is not health. If we feel like a complete human being in our body, mind, and spirit, that is when we are really healthy. There are any number of people who are medically healthy but not healthy in the real sense because they do not experience a sense of wellness within themselves.
If one has to experience this sense of wholeness and oneness, it is important that the body, mind, and above all, the energy function in a certain level of intensity within themselves.
Physically, as per medical terms, a person may be healthy but energies may be lethargic. For such a person, things may not happen in life the way they should, both inside and outside. This is simply because one is not taking care of the wellbeing of his or her energy.
For every physical or psychological situation that you go through in life, there is fundamentally an energy basis which also manifests as a chemical basis. In a way, modern allopathic medicines have become just chemistry. For every problem that arises in your body, you try to take in some medicine – a chemical – and come to some kind of balance. If you use one chemical to bring down one aspect or enhance another, there is also a side-effect to this. For this side-effect, there is an antidote. For the antidote there is another antidote. It is an endless chain.
Because a man has got excess acids within him, you put some alkaline medicine into him. But why does he have excessive acids? Because of the way his mind, his body, and above all, his energy functions.
Whatever happens on the chemical level in your body is controlled by the way your energies function. In yoga, when we say health, we don’t look at the body or the mind, we only look at the energy – the way it is. If your energy body is in proper balance and full flow, your physical body and mental body will be in perfect health. There is no question about it.
Keeping the energy body in full flow is not about doing any kind of healing or things like that. This is about going to the foundations of your energy system and activating it in a proper way, building a foundational yogic practice that establishes your energy in such a way that your body and mind are naturally fine.
When it comes to health, no human being gets to live in perfect conditions. The pressures of life, the food that we eat, the air that we breathe, the water that we drink can affect us in many ways. But if the energy in our system is properly cultivated and kept active, these things will not have much of an effect.
Making A Difference
4 Rural Health Clinics serve 342,000 beneficiaries in 287 villages
12 Mobile Health Clinics have treated over 3.9 million patients in 670 villages
Over 2000 medical camps benefited 366,000 people from 4000 villages
Community Care Center for HIV infected people has served 2500 patients
Sensing the urgent need to take action against human suffering in rural India, Sadhguru initiated Action for Rural Rejuvenation (ARR), a rural revitalization program, in 2003. The program provides a comprehensive approach to improved health, livelihood and community revitalization.
ARR’s health initiative is designed to overcome the two main road blocks in rural healthcare – cost and access. One of ARR’s innovative solutions has been Mobile Health Clinics (MHCs) – healthcare on the move! MHCs are specially designed all-terrain healthcare vehicles capable of reaching areas otherwise inaccessible to conventional healthcare providers. The mobile units combine a pharmacy, awareness generation units and doctor’s office, all built into a truck which tours the villages, staffed by a doctor, nurse, pharmacy assistant, and driver. They bring free, high-quality healthcare and are of invaluable assistance to those who are most vulnerable to disease and infection.
The MHCs offer free primary healthcare and treat the most common ailments such as diarrhea, fever, and cough right at the villagers’ footsteps.
This means that a villager does not have to travel all the way to the nearest town or city for treatment – something most of them are reluctant to do. Most importantly, the villagers are treated without having to waste a workday – the loss of which, very often would mean the loss of that day’s meals.
Rural Health Clinics
For complicated cases which need further investigation or treatment, the MHCs often refer patients to Isha Rural Health Clinics (IRHCs). IRHCs are clinics in centrally situated rural locations which serve up to 30 surrounding villages and an average of a hundred patients daily. They provide communities with 24-hour access to affordable and expert healthcare services. Each IRHC is equipped with a lab, a pharmacy with medicines available at 50% discount, and minor surgery facilities. Apart from its in-house doctor, the IRHC also has a team of visiting specialists for gynaecology, ENT and pediatrics. What makes these clinics really special is that many among the 10-member staff in each clinic are full-time volunteers.
They work with a dedication and commitment that money can’t buy, often living and sleeping within the hospital premises to keep the clinic going 24 hours a day.
ARR also works by the old adage, “Prevention is better than cure,” and has initiated several health awareness camps and projects over the years. A fact that may surprise many about rural India’s health is that it is chronic disease, not infectious disease, which is a major cause of illness and mortality. Often, it is a lack of a few aspects of basic nutrition, hygiene and health awareness that snowballs into chronic ailment. “Arokiya Alai” or “Wave of Health” are a series of ARR camps conducted by teams of medical and paramedical professionals which spread awareness on nutrition, disease prevention, hygiene, and sanitation to rural people through talks and media presentations.
The Arokiya Alai project provides cost-free, simple, healthy dietary solutions to help eradicate malnutrition in villagers.
By providing knowledge on diseases and their symptoms, Arokiya Alai hopes that villagers will be able to detect diseases early and thus take necessary action. Arokiya Alai’s message is further spread through print collaterals, video, posters, handbills and kitchen stickers.
“Arogya” meaning health in Sanskrit, is the basis for wellbeing in life. Modern medical systems are well known for their quick and effective treatment of infectious diseases. However, when it comes to chronic ailments, modern healthcare methodologies, such as allopathy are limited to managing ill-health only when it manifests either physiologically or psychologically. In other words, they address symptoms of the chronic ailment rather than the ailment as a whole.
Unlike modern medicine, Indian systems such as siddha and ayurveda, as well as the science of yoga, address the cause of the disease, taking into consideration the environment, lifestyle, and socio-economic situations of the individual. The focus is mainly on enhancing health instead of just treating the disease. This cultivates the body to such a state that it is capable of adapting itself to the changing environment.
Isha Arogya is creating a system of healthcare that offers an effective and comprehensive approach to an individual’s health, while still remaining cost-effective and accessible. Isha Arogya combines allopathy’s ability to quickly cure infectious diseases with the efficacy of indigenous systems of medicine in strengthening the human body’s innate ability to resist disease. Combining these two methods of healthcare results in an approach that is no longer merely about combating disease but about creating a sense of wholeness in the individual.
Isha Arogya has setup Isha Arogya Centers in Tamil Nadu to introduce a new understanding of health in public perception.The centers offer complete healthcare, with free consultation, and include pharmacies stocked with siddha, ayurveda and allopathic medicines, as well as a full range of siddha and ayurveda personal care products for healthcare, skincare, hair-care and baby-care products. Two therapy rooms provide ayurvedic massage. Besides general consultation, the centers are equipped to provide specialty services for various chronic diseases such as diabetes, blood pressure, asthma, skin ailments, migraine, knee and back pain, obesity, and hair fall.
Isha Arogya also develops herbal medicines from around 100 organically grown herbs. The project conducts research and studies medicinal herbs from different parts of Tamil Nadu.
An initiative designed by Sadhguru, housed at the Isha Yoga Center, Isha Rejuvenation offers a unique and powerful combination of programs, carefully tailored and sequenced to bring vibrancy and proper balance to one’s life energies. This balance is crucial for healthy living and to prevent and uproot chronic ailments.
Available in several packages, Isha Rejuvenation therapies synthesize yogic methods and practices, diet, massage, mud baths, herbal tonics and medicines, as well as specialized alternative medicines for chronic ailments. It offers several programs which detoxify the system, reduce tension and stress, relieve pain, and enhance the clarity of the mind. The scientifically structured programs use a blend of allopathic, alternative and complementary therapies with the sublime wisdom of various ancient Indian medicinal practices.