What Makes You Sick

Theories abound concerning the cause of illness and pain, but many yogis believe that although illness can be caused by physical factors such as viruses, bacteria, and accidents, illness can also be brought on or encouraged by ...

> Insufficient prana, or life force, within the body.

> Too much rajasic (causing agitation) and/or tamasic (causing lethargy) food.

> Lack of cleanliness.

> Unhappiness.

> Pessimism and negativity.

> An imbalance within the physical body or the mind, which can be caused by any of these factors.

One of the characteristics of conventional, or allopathic, medicine is that it tends to pinpoint and isolate a problem or symptom and treat it, and it alone, which is sometimes just what the body needs. The body is like a machine that occasionally requires the repair of a specific part (a broken bone, a clogged heart, a ruptured appendix).

Holistic medicine tends to first look at the "big picture," or the whole person. What are you doing that could be causing your illness (roga), pain, or disease (vyadhi)? Who are you? How is your general health (svasthya)? What is your health history? How is your posture? What is your attitude? What is your view of life? Holistic medicine seeks the answers to all these questions in an effort to find the source of a problem, rather than merely treating the symptoms of a condition or illness.

Yoga, too, takes this holistic approach to your health. Yoga treatments are great when used in conjunction with traditional healthcare, because such an approach results in an all-encompassing treatment. Yoga works on your body and your mind to free them of impurities and imbalances that could cause health problems for you later.

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