In the presentation on "Lifestyle Diseases" we were told emphatically that we have handed the responsibility for our health to the industry. We need to adopt a healthy lifestyle, to listen to the inner voice, to listen to our stomach and other organs and to take responsibility for our own health. Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda states that mental health is more important than physical health. Negative emotions like hatred and jealousy impact on the body whilst laughter makes the mind feel light and fills the heart with joy. We were reminded a lot of physical and mental energy is wasted when the mind is filled with negative thoughts. The root cause of poor health in most cases is over-eating. We do not give the stomach any rest. Fasting is recommended, one day per week. Fasting will also help those suffering from Type 2 diabetes. An important recommendation for good health is to repeat the Vedantic Assertion: By the Grace of God, I am getting better and better every day and in every way.
In the section of "Safe Use of Medicines" we received useful hints on how to take medicine and the importance of following directions. The label on each bottle has information to guide and protect the patient and we need to heed the warning contained in the labels.
The benefits of the castor oil pack in healing and relieving pain of deep-seated organs and joints in the body received much attention. By use of the castor oil pack, the body has the capacity to heal itself. A video presentation demonstrating how to prepare the pack pleased many in the audience.
Pranayama is the ancient system of breath control that provides energy to the body, it supercharges the body. Devotees found the practical session on the various types of pranayama very useful. We were reminded that we use up energy by thinking, talking, moving and even gossiping. Our presenter warned us that through gossiping one wastes a lot of energy. Pranayama helps one to stay focussed, remain cheerful and helps with getting rid of diseases. It is important to be still when doing pranayama. Stillness of the body leads to stillness of the mind. Time was also spent on pranic healing.
A session on Yoga Asanas followed. Our young presenters demonstrated the various poses and explained their benefits. Yoga Asanas should be done preferably in morning on an empty stomach. If done regularly, it has incalculable health benefits.
In the presentation on Diet, we heard at the outset that "prevention is better than cure". If one lives a healthy lifestyle and follows a Yogic diet much of the health complications could be avoided.
The Health Workshop concluded with a session on Namapathy (Chanting of the Divine Name). Namapathy helps the practitioner to heal oneself. Many instances of the healing effects of Namapathy were quoted. Sage Kabir cured a merchant who was suffering from leprosy by asking him to chant Ram Nam only once. Surdas brought a corpse back to life by whispering Raam once in his ear. Pujya Swami Sahajananda assured us that the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra will not protect us but also has curative benefits. An audio recording by Pujya Swami Sahajananda detailed the benefits of Mantra chanting.
The book fare was launched after this session, commencing with a well-received presentation on Swami Sivananda's literary Charity to the World "I cannot stop writing. I will write till I become blind. If I become blind, I will dictate and somebody will write for me. Thus, I will continue my Mission of dissemination of spiritual knowledge till the end of my life", wrote the Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda. This is the intense passion that the Master had for sharing spiritual knowledge to all, not only in India but to all parts of the world. At the end of the presentation, the question was asked, "What does all this mean for us?" We need to be willing instruments to promote the legacy left by the Master. We need to participate in this book distribution programme. In this way we will be paying homage to the Master.
The session concluded with Book Reviews, giving the audience an insight in the various books in the stalls. What followed thereafter was a visit to the book and health stalls. All in all, a day well spent.