There is a Japanese book written by Masahiro Oki, which title can be “Discovering the Joy of Living through Yoga“. I have translated a section of the first chapter in Part 1. The translation has been assisted by Anna Mackenzie.
Certainly, we would be able to say that all living things are protected by the work of the life force which does not allow them to live in an abnormal state. From this point of view, becoming unhealthy itself is rather strange. Then, why in reality are there so many unhealthy or ill people in human society? The reason is that human beings live an unnatural life, and that, despite this fact, humans do not devise or study a balanced way of life.
Originally, living things are made to be healthy. Humans are no exception. Despite this, due to the above-mentioned reason, humans have been taking a path of self-weakening to this day and have been used to a life that would damage their health.
The cultural life we live consists of factors that cause abnormalities in all aspects including diet, activity, breathing, thought content, and so on. In order to understand and overcome this harm to achieve longevity and health, we must attain an active attitude that we are to create health. That is to say, we need to enhance our intelligence, correctly understand about health, prepare more precise methods of its maintenance, and consciously develop the ability to maintain a natural balance of body and mind.
No one can give health to us. We create and maintain it with our own effort. This is the truth. To create health, there is no way other than we 1) improve our ability of maintaining physiological balance, 2) improve our mental stability, and 3) improve our adaptability in daily life
1)- In order to improve our ability of maintaining physiological balance, it is important to regulate and enhance our body’s functions by keeping a natural posture at all times, taking a suitable diet, and improving our sensibility through full breathing.
2)- In order to improve mental stability, we need to improve our understanding of things, develop the right feelings and desires, try to put our mind in a state of relaxation or non-attachment as much as possible, and cultivate the ability to be in harmony with everything.
3)- In order to improve adaptability in daily life, we need to live a life in an evolved awareness by actively and consciously striving to experience all things, whatever they are, and by improving our ability to maintain harmony.
These three are the principles for us to create health as human beings. As you can already see, these are the very devises of how to fully demonstrate the innate work of the life force. I think that it would be difficult to maintain our health in a cultural life or in complex human relationships unless we bear these three points in mind. Unnatural stimulation means stimulation that is one-sidedly either too much or too little. If we can enhance our abilities to maintain equilibrium when facing such stimulation, we will be able to maintain balanced naturalness, whatever situation we are in.
‘Health’ and ‘naturalness’ mean the same thing. A health method is a devise of how to create a natural state in a cultural life. Naturalness means that balance is maintained.
‘To consciously devise a balanced lifestyle’ is called a passive method of health. On the other hand, an active method of health is to strengthen oneself by consciously improving one’s adaptability. Besides, a method to maintain mental and spiritual balance is to attain a way to control oneself freely. Yogic methods to maintain balance consist of these three aspects: passive, active, and mental-spiritual. In the yogic system, a physical health method is by itself ‘the way of health’ that leads to strengthening our mental stability as well as improving our lifestyle.
I would like to say as follows: We need to aim to sanctify our mind-heart, correct our lifestyle, and attain physical and mental attitudes with which we can fully utilise our capacities for joy of the whole society. Otherwise, we will not be able to be truly healthy as human beings. All living things are meant to live healthily. There is something that disturbs this innate living force and keeps generating abnormalities one after another. That is unclean deposits which have been attaching to our mind and body as long-built bad habits. It includes misunderstanding and attachment. In order to remove these mental and physical unclean deposits, we need to practise non-attachment as taught in yoga and, therein, bring together wisdom of our physiological body and wisdom of our lifestyle. Only in this way, we will be able to live a healthy human life.