Swasthya is a Sanskrit word derived from ‘swa’ and ‘sthya’. Swa means self and sthya means ‘rooted in’ or ‘established in’. Therefore, swasthya means to be rooted in self.
TO BE ROOTED IN SELF
To be rooted in self means to be sure, clear, decisive, calm and at peace. It is to be connected to our own information, or innermost truth, and free from other people’s opinions, judgments, and fears. It is to rest in our innate knowingness that all is well and to walk through life free from anxiety, confusion, and overwhelm.
Is that even possible in this day and age?
It is! Though it does require effort on our part. Ayurveda and Yoga speak about the yugas, or time periods that humanity cycles through. They can be thought of as great ages, and include sayta yuga, treta yuga, dwapara yuga, and kali yuga, with satya yuga being the golden age and kali yuga being the dark age.
In the satya yuga there is peace, harmony and light, and the planet and its inhabitants exude love. Humanity is naturally in a swasthya state. In the kali yuga there is confusion, violence, and overwhelm, and the collective consciousness is shrouded in delusion. Some people say that we are in the kali yuga, the dark ages, and some say that we are on the upward swing and closer to satya yuga. In either case, these are trying times. And in trying times, it is easier to become unrooted and disconnected from our innermost self and natural state of peace.
I want to qualify the use of the word effort, because efforting our actions can create resistance that actually inhibits our ability to actualize our desires, in this case the state of swasthya. We are in a culture that seems to have two extremes - complete indolence and over-trying. The effort I am speaking of here is taking time to be conscious of the direction we want to go, holding the intention to move in that direction, and taking daily action in that direction. It does not mean ‘trying hard’, but accepting our reality and the state of the planet, and keeping our attention generally in the direction of our goals.
The second Yoga Sutra in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, a Yogic text, states:
Yoga chitta vritti nirodha
This means that Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind. The effort we need to put forth is to calm the fluctuations of the mind, so we are less distracted and affected by influences that pull us away from our centers, as well as the effort to do daily practices that support this calming of mental turbulence.
It is the daily practices we do with consistency that help us access that rootedness to our truth. You might be imagining hours in meditation and on a Yoga mat, thinking that is too unrealistic for the circumstances of your life, but it can be even more powerful to spend ten minutes a day doing connecting practices with consciousness then spending hours engaged in practices from a habituated, unconscious state.
There are many ways to cultivate swasthya, including:
Pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation, and Yoga asana (poses)
Prayer, mantra, or devotional singing
Being present outside in nature
Connecting with spiritually minded individuals in satsanga, or community
Reading spiritual, inspiring, and uplifting texts or books
Learning how to consciously manage your energy to be less affected by outside influences
To support rootedness in self, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic but for any time of anxiety, stress, or feelings of having lost yourself or gotten swept up in a collective wave of fear, we have some free online resources to help build your establishment in your self. Enjoy these practices, or any of your own connecting practices, regularly as a means to recenter. As the practices calm your mind and clear your energy, you’ll reconnect to your inner truth. That connection is invaluable for mental, physical, emotional, psychological, and societal health. The higher vibration with which we step away from these practices is not only a gift for ourselves, but a gift to our relationships, communities, and planet.
Access the free mind-body-breath restoration Yoga class and guided intuitive meditation here, and enjoy the relief the practices will way up in you.