In India, temples are everywhere. You must wash your hands and face in order to enter many of them, remove your shoes, make an offering and cover your head and shoulders.
If we can treat our bodies in much the same way it will reward us with an energy-filled, healthy, joyful life.
In Integral yoga, it is said that our bodies are our boxes of sorts. I like to call it our Earth suit. We wear it for a limited amount of time and then when we’re ready, shed our skin. The idea is that we kept the Earth suit clean, healthy and nourished. It was given to us in order to fulfill our Dharma, our duty and it was a gift, a blessing.
That being said, how can we treat our bodies like the temples they are?
1. Self Care: The word disease, when broken down, is “dis-ease.” When we are not at ease, we create a disease-promoting environment in our bodies. We must reduce the amount of stress in our lives and we can do this through self-care. We must also take care of our external environment, our body. We bathe, wash our clothes, wear (an all natural, aluminum-free) deodorant, and even get dressed up on occasion. This is all part of honoring the gift of life we have been given. Ayurvedic Abhyanga massage is a wonderful thing to add to your self care routine and is something I love to do at night to wind down. You can also try taking the day or half day off from work, exercising just becuase it’s a way to nourish your body, or saying no to a commitment or event to have some time for yourself.
2. Take prasad: In India, taking prasad (pronounced “pra-shaad”) means making an offering of food for spiritual advancement. Lovingly prepare food for yourself and others (or just yourself- remember self care?) and then sit down with the meal in front of you. Put away all distractions. Just be with the food. Then bless your food or say a word of gratitude and set an intention that the food may nourish you and make you strong so that you can serve as the Divine instrument you are. My spiritual teacher in India, Swamibramdev, always tells me “Remember, you were made for the Divine only.” These are the teachings of Integral Yoga. And nourishing foods do not include Doritos and processed food. Just clarifying.
3. Eat a simple diet of mostly plant foods. This is the easiest way to prep your body for any kind of physical, mental or spiritual endeavour. You can make a kitchari (simple rice and dal/lentils and vegetables) to cleanse the body Ayurvedically. Eating a plant-based diet is the surest way to a cleansed, purified, craving-free body.
4. Overcome cravings for food – Food addiction is a problem because the food is controlling you. The key is to nourish the body and give it all the nutrients it requires. Remember how your body is a box for your soul? Well, the body, mind and emotions are all servants to the Observer, your Consciousness. Most people allow their body/mind/emotions control them. This will keep you in darkness and suffering. A Swami is someone who has become the master of him or herself. If you don’t know how to overcome your food cravings, schedule a 60 minute Breakthrough Session with me by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are some other ways you can care for your body as a temple? What aspects of this concept do you struggle with?
Jenna Pacelli is the health and wellness expert for the global yoga community. She assists her clients in having more energy, curbing cravings naturally, losing weight and keeping it off without deprivation, reducing stress levels, and living from a place of joy and authenticity. Her clients create lasting change and fully embodied health and wellbeing.