The 6 pillars of health & wellbeing according to Deepak Chopra and the Chopra Centre.
One of the main reasons I chose to talk about Deepak Chopra’s health movement today is that he really highlights the fact that wellness concerns our overall being; our body, mind and spirit are all vital and as important factors in our health which combine together to make us whole. More importantly, he encourages us to realise that our wellness is in our own hands; there are choices to be made and actions to be taken to make the absolute best of what we have to live a full, healthy life.
Looking at the healthcare industry as a whole Deepak Chopra acknowledges that there is a rapid change occurring, not only in terms of natural therapies being far more widely accepted and utilised, but also that in the face of our environmental conditions, and potential threats that are circulating our planet. We need to be in optimal health in order to combat anything which may come our way. He speaks of environmental toxins, potential epidemics, superbugs, and accelerated ageing; all of which sound like script notes from a sci-fi movie but are in actual fact, our reality. To make the right lifestyle choices every day is not just a whimsical decision we may or may not make, it is something which is becoming far more crucial in the face of living well on this earth. Intense, yes, but all valid points. Whether you choose to take this overwhelming stance on board when considering your health is obviously up to you, but either way taking note of the six pillars of health that Deepak Chopra and the Chopra Centre profess as what is needed to focus your journey towards optimal health is definitely something worth taking heed of. As a spiritual guru, healer and teacher it is interesting to see that, with reference to his ‘six pillars of health’, he takes a more scientifically proven outlook in order to concrete the theories behind it.
The Six Pillars of Health
We need it, it is one of the very best things we can do for ourselves. We feel and are regenerated both psychologically as well as physiologically post slumber. Deepak Chopra describes it as a “self-organising and self-regulating process in our body that brings about homeostasis at every level”, and that there is “no biological organism, including plants and bacteria, that doesn’t sleep.” Not only this but it is when our internal systems get the chance to reset, to bring about homeostasis – our body’s natural balanced state, on every level. It also connects us to that other plain, where more often than not, we just rest, and we are happy and content in our spiritual hibernation process; it just makes us feel better if we manage to have around eight uninterrupted hours of natural sleep. Deepak Chopra also claims that lack of sleep is one of the biggest risks for cardiovascular disease and premature death.
This is our best method of stress management, as studies show disciplined meditation and self-reflection can cause our genes to reduce inflammation as well as promote homeostasis. Using this scientific information alongside the fact that meditation is a wonderful tool for “getting further into the nature of our being”, to be at one with one’s self whilst simultaneously promoting our physical health.
As well as needing to ‘not move’ when we sleep we also require a certain level of activity throughout our waking hours in order to accomplish our body’s optimum energy levels as well as to feel well overall. During a working day one ought to actively move for around fifteen minutes per hour to be able to perform at our best. Science suggests that we take 10,000 steps per day. Chopra’s preferred methods of movement are yoga, each asana (movement) has a discerned effect on the visceral nerves throughout our body, more specifically the vagus nerve which regulates our activity. He also conveys that this same effect can be achieved during pranayama; the Hatha yoga practice of breath control.
This is the part of us that holds many variables yet Chopra’s background within stress management pointed towards the fact that our emotions are what causes inflammation and 95% of all, yes all, illnesses. His approach is that stress stems from fear combined with imagination which then in turn will extend its touch to a whole host of other emotional, and therefore health, deficits. The thing with us humans is that we do have a whole host of negative emotions which cause these documented negative effects on our psyche and physiology, but at the very same time we have a balance of emotions which are exactly the opposite and in turn have the opposite effect on our body and mind. If we manage to control our emotions by promoting the positive ones we can promote our health and overall wellness by first preventing inflammation and potential disease but also simply feeling uplifted and positive in ourselves. Love, joy, equanimity and gratitude are going to make us feel better than their negative counterparts.
This is where we focus on those all essential microbiomes and keeping them happy and healthy in order to do the same for our entire being. If we eat unhealthy foods such as processed, refined, manufactured ‘foods’ which contain high levels of salt, sugar, hormones, steroids, and a whole range of chemicals which are, let’s face it, extremely bad for our systems. Chopra goes to the extent of calling our modern day food “contaminated with poison”, which highlights his sincerity when it comes to what we put in our bodies. On talking of the concept that 30% of the micro biome has disappeared to the industrial world, Deepak Chopra says that “if nothing else, that is a cause for great alarm right now,” and that “because it could lead to the extinction of life on our planet.” So how do we avoid poisoning ourselves? Simply eat a widely diverse plant-based diet to promote a healthy microbiome and try to make sure you know what you are eating. Stay aware, stay local, stay natural, stay away from chemicals and processing; stay well.
Last but certainly not least, as all six of these concepts need to be adhered to in order for the balance and wellness to be achieved; all being as important as the next, we come to our grounding and biological rhythms. Chopra points out the four rhythms within our existence; circadian, seasonal, tidal and lunar. If we maintain a grounding with our earth we can maintain a grounding within our self. This can be achieved as simply as walking on natural surfaces such as grass, sand, or stone. By ‘touching base’ we can literally reconnect with out surroundings and environment and thus reset our rhythms and have a positive effect on our entire being. To reset and recharge ourselves can again reduce inflammation and protect us against altering our genetic expression, says Chopra.
Deepak Chopra deeply believes that his new model will “revolutionise healthcare and energy-based medicine” and that “the future of wellbeing is personalised, it’s predictable, it’s preventable, it’s participatory, and it’s process-oriented,” said Chopra, “because the mind-body process is an activity in your awareness.” Whether this is ultimately true for you or not I feel that there is plenty of backing to all six of these pillars and there is nothing that can be lost by following them, we can only gain.
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