Nature holds elements and vibrations that make up your very being. It holds answers and necessary energies that your body is craving in order to begin a path to wellness and healing. But what is it that makes nature such an important step in this process of healing and how does Ayurveda play a critical role in it?
Put your body out into nature. Walk barefoot through the redwoods. Feel the sand between your toes. We are so blessed with the geography of the bay area. There is the coast and its amazing beaches and cliffs, contrasted to the dramatic redwood forests. The energy of these places holds stories and memories, lessons to be learned. The wheel of time and cyclical patterns in nature hold truth. They repeat themselves; they beat on and remain constant. Every creature, small and large, falls into these patterns, these energies. They don’t know otherwise, making them open to receiving messages and signals from the surrounding environment. Senses are heightened; smells and sounds are sharper, clearer, and richer. Nature is rich, abundant, and sacred. Life force ripples through every leaf, every drop of water, every inch of earth, and every wisp of air. It radiates from deep within the core of the earth, up through the ground, through our bodies, out through our fingertips, then continues on out into the universe. To say we are not connected would be an insult to how truly powerful this planet is. Nature’s power outweighs everything. We are a mere atom on the greater body of this universe.
Stop, listen, touch, taste, smell, and see the beauty of the wilderness. Take a moment and feel through your senses. Instead of only using your senses outwardly, use them as avenues of consciousness; breathe in through each sense and feel it in your heart. Listen to the sounds of nature in your heart. Smell, see, and touch nature, bringing the awareness of each to your heart.
Permanent background noise, compulsive and increasingly compulsory engagement with technology, the demands of multi-tasking, and the necessity of constantly having to respond to sudden, disruptive stimuli, place a severe strain on our cognitive functions. By contrast, natural environments are rich in the characteristics necessary for the brain to replenish itself.
Researched proven health benefits of being in nature:
- Immune system function (increase in natural killer cells/cancer prevention)
- Cardiovascular system (hypertension/coronary artery disease)
- Respiratory system (allergies and respiratory disease)
- Depression and anxiety (mood disorders and stress)
- Mental relaxation (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder)
- Feelings of “awe” (increase in gratitude and selflessness)
In Ayurveda, Achara Rasayana (rejuvenating therapy for the mind) is a behavioral therapy that is practiced to relieve stress, improve patience and tolerance, maintain healthier relationships, help with personal development, encourage optimistic thinking, and also aid in other complimentary rejuvenating medicines.
“Achara Rasayana – Signifies the physical and mental conducts of a person. A code of good socio-behavioral conduct such as worship, respect elders, speaking truth, avoiding anger, avoiding excessive alcohol, sex and labor, keeping self-peaceful, speaking sweet words, practicing mantra, balanced sleep, regular use of nutritious elements of diet, being humble, kind and well behaved, practicing meditation, and studying religious texts.”
The purpose of being in nature is that it is the optimal place for practicing Achara Rasayana. Putting yourself in the very elements that make you a human being while being in this formative meditative state helps to realign your very cells, lower heart rate and allow the nervous system to relax from an otherwise fight and flight state that many people live in consistently. This calm state is highly important for restoration, better sleep, and healing any disease you are working on overcoming. Make sure to breathe fully and take in as much fresh air as you can. If you do not find this state, your body will exhaust itself by overcompensating for lack of power. A daily walk in nature will start your practice of Achara Rasayana, making room for what is important for your body to heal. If you are looking to start a healthier lifestyle, beginning a daily walk in nature is the best place you could start.
Role of Achara Rasayana in Chittodvega, Dr. G. Babu,* Dr. G.C. Bhuyan,* Dr. G.P. Prasad,* and Dr. S Anitha, Ancient Science of Life, 2007 Apr-Jun; 26(4): 33-36