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How Ayurveda Views Mental Health

The UN declared October to be Mental Health Awareness month, and to bring worldwide attention to the importance of caring for our mental health in the same way that we do our physical. Acharya Shunya has, of course, dedicated her entire life to the improvement of mental health through Ayurvedic teachings, Vedic wisdom teachings; as both a teacher and a healer.

"I've always advocated to use the lessons of Ayurveda to mental health," says Acharya Shunya. "While Ayurveda is most known for balancing doshas or bioenergeies — an is mostly focused around a holistic pathway for physical health — it is lesser known that Ayurveda is also equally if not more equipped to bring about mental health."

From an Ayurvedic perspective, we understand that our emotions and thoughts working in sync with our body, our senses, and the mandate desires and wishes of the soul. Ayurvedic wisdom purports that the mind is not a completely separate organ or entity from the body, senses, or soul. The inherent harmony between mind, body, and soul is how we may expect both our physical body and our mental state to function.

"Your mind," says Acharya Shunya, "is a gift from Mother Nature to you." When we ensure that the thoughts we think, the feelings we feel, and the emotions we experience are in alignment with our Dharma, and our life purpose to self-realize and self-actualize, we are more able to make friends with our mind; for it to be our ally, rather than our distractor and seducer.

It is a positive that the stigma that used to surround mental health care is beginning to wane. Acharya Shunya notes that the increasing tendency to view the mind-body-soul as a holistic entity is due, at least in some part, to the rising popularity of knowledge traditions like Ayurveda and Yoga. "I also acknowledge," she says, "the general momentum of humanity where we are owning our vulnerability, along with our enlightenment, in the same space." It is from this vulnerability that we are able to move toward connectedness, both within ourselves and each other.


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