PRIME MINISTER NARENDRA MODI EXTOLLING AYURVEDA AND YOGA AT UNITED NATIONS IN 2014…he won with the declaration of International Day of Yoga to be observed every June 21. How about now making Ayurveda and yoga free for all Indians this 10th International Day of Yoga in Kashmir?

FRANKLY, if you’re asking me my dears, the best thing Prime Minister Narendra Modi can do this International Yoga Day on June 21 when he goes to Kashmir, is to declare Ayurveda remedies and therapies free for all Indians, including Jammu & Kashmir. After all, he’s got the generously public-funded AYUSH ministry under his thumb or in his command or something like that. All the money as far as I can see is being wasted in acquisition of AYUSH properties and hiring staff who don’t seem to be walking the talk!
Ayurveda herbal remedies are easy to find, everyone who knows anything about Ayurveda is prescribing them in professional and non-professional ways, but the hands-on therapies are hard to find – unless one enrolls for classes in some of our famous institutions like so many foreign learners do (say the
Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune which sets a hard, disciplined syllabus even if the master Yogacharya BKS Iyengar is no longer in the world now, he’s left behind a great legacy of knowledge and insight into how to be fit and kicking and how to heal and grow into all round wellbeing).
I would say make Ayurveda officially freely available, if only for seniors and women to begin with, but it is fairer to make it freely available for all Indians. Say a free gift from a loving prime minister to his family of Indians at large (only in India of course). Somebody please pass on this aam aadmi scribe’s sage advice to Prime Minister Narendra Modi!
JUNE 21 and International Day of Yoga is here anew and remember it was the Prime Minister Modi who spoke eloquently about it in the United Nations and so got such an international day declared; we know now that Ayurveda and yoga schools flourish the world over in various avatar good, bad and ugly. The originals are still in India and down south India in Kerala, the home of Ayurveda if I may think so. Do you know that July 21 got declared as International Ayurveda Day since this is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere (shortest in the southern hemisphere)? The day is significant in many parts of the world.
This year’s International Day of Yoga is “Yoga Power to Cure Any Illness.” BKS Iyengar proved it in many ways Baba Ramdev too is doing it today if you care to look closely, never mind what a marketing wizard he has become! Ours is a world of commerce sacrificing the old Gandhian principles of charity and philanthropy which are so compromised today. Yoga is commonly said to be just a branch of religious and spiritual traditions derived from ancient Hinduism.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his UN address on September 27, 2014 is worth quoting, “Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition.” Yogasana keeps inner strength fortified vis-à-vis breathing, flowing, transforming, and discovering power within one to change for the better and best. Say yoga brings mind and body, heart and soul together; it has been often observed that the body takes its cues from the mind which can make life heaven or hell.
JUST a reminder! The father of yoga is sage Maharishi Patanjali who invented yoga in pre-Vedic times and its said he codified its practice and connected it to older Yoga Sutras; in south India it’s Tirumalai Krishnamacharya who is seen as the father of modern yoga (he it was who emphasized integration of breath, movement and spiritual awareness, for the evolution of modern day yoga). Mostly we know that those who walk all the talk of Ayurveda focus better and live more balanced and principled lives.
The baseline is that each one of us have a distinctly unique constitution made up of three types of energy personalities…namely vata, pitta, kapha. My friend Dr Shiva Ayyadurai, the most exciting presidential candidate in current US elections, says that these three dosha work along the engineering principles of “conversion, transportation and storage” and when these are not functioning smoothly in harmony we become dysfunctional — we suffer ill-health. Basically Ayurveda is all about seeking wellbeing courtesy natural herbal remedies, food, lifestyle to be happy enough to reap peace of mind (this is not as easy as it sounds given all our catch 22 situations in life).

COMING to herbs do you know that the herbs most prescribed to help reap energy and wellbeing are turmeric, ginger, ashwagandha, tulsi or basil, triphala – all of whom we may patronize in teas, pure powder supplements in vegetarian capsules. Just to re-cap it here, the active compound of curcumin in turmeric is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory (why do you think “golden haldi milk” has become so popular in wellness retreats and health cafeterias). Turmeric fresh and dry powder helps ease joint pain and support overall wellbeing and we know why it is in all curries! Ginger too helps boost immunity and fights free radicals, turmeric-ginger is a great combo in Ayurveda drinking and eating. Ginger eases nausea and is a natural pain-killer.
Coming to ashwagandha this is the herb for reducing anxiety and fatigue, it balances the stress hormones and protects the adrenal glands which play a vital role in body beautiful responses. Aswagandha is for better cognitive function, sedative too and makes for reproductive health!
Holy basil I love and often make myself a fresh tulsi tea to drink with or without milk. Tulsi is said to be adaptogenic, has stress relieving properties, makes for calm and peace of mind. Calms cortisol highs. It’s very good of respiratory distress, coughs and colds, boost immunity drinking tulsi tea, soup, chop leaves in salads and relishes…I make onion and tulsi leave relish sometimes monsoon times.
Another one of Ayurveda’s more famous prescriptions is triphala which is actually a combo of three fruits – aonla/amla/Indian gooseberry, haritaki and bibhitaki – all with cleansing and rejuvenating properties, nicely laxative to promote daily regular bowel or detoxing. Most Ayurveda practitioners prefer to take triphala every morning as a lifestyle discipline. Improves vitality, check it out.
Then there’s licorice which is a sweet herb and considered the ultimate medicine for soothing coughs and respiratory ailments, friend to the adrenal glands, anti-inflammatory, and we want anti-inflammatory in our eating and drinking habits every day to live a predominantly alkaline lifestyle – instead of the highly acidic lifestyle we love to live in our times. We abuse our kidneys and liver all the time with intake of industrial food and beverage industry day in and day out. Well, I don’t want to preach here!
THIS is only to pay my respects to Ayurveda which comes closest to Naturopathy in my view and Naturopathy too goes way back in time to ancient Greece. If only we would swing what Japan has done for its aam aadmi’s wellbeing…in Japan you may find these traditional bath facilities available for people to rest, recreate, recover grace after a hard day’s work or so to speak. Why can’t we in India have Ayurveda facilities for the wellbeing of Indians across the country? That is freely or very nominally priced?
Why can’t I go somewhere nearby to say get a decent head, feet, body massage (Ayurveda boasts of several kinds of massage or abhangya), or a therapist coming home to treat a senior who can’t go out? Surely we can swing AYUSH facilities locally in some kind of government-sponsored franchise deals? God alone knows how much the government squanders funds on utterly useless entertainment!
If you’re asking me public money should more effectively put education, health and infrastructure first. That would make for an extraordinarily much loved instead of much hated government! This is by way of all my wishful thinking this International Day of Yoga on June 21 when Prime Minister visits Kashmir. A toast to ache din finally! On that note it’s avjo, selamat datang, poite verem, au revoir, arrivedecci, hasta la vista and vachun yeta here for now!

—Mme Butterfly

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