sarvatah pani-padam tat sarvato ‘ksi-siro-mukham
sarvatah srutimal loke sarvam avrtya tisthati
“Everywhere are His hands and legs, His eyes, heads and faces, and He has ears everywhere. In this way the Supersoul exists, pervading everything.”
The Bhagvad Gita (Chapter 13 Text 29) shloka is illuminating the fact that the human body is essentially a vessel in which the soul resides which is a part and parcel of the Supersoul. Keeping this in mind it is important to assess how we treat our body, do we abuse it or revere it. A temple is a dedicated place of worship with a divine presence in it and a place of highly valued purpose. Therefore, treating the body like a temple means treating it with utmost respect and a heightened state of awareness towards its needs to keep it running smoothly. The human form is a marvelous piece of machinery where processes such as breathing, blood flowing through vessels, neurons firing happen involuntarily. Practicing yoga teaches you to nourish and maintain your body well realizing the true potential of the human body. Fundamentally we need to understand how fickle the mind can be which allures us into practices that are not suitable for healthy living. Yoga teaches you how to strengthen the mind and in turn respect the body. Treating the body like a temple means listening to its needs and fulfilling them in a holistic way. Listening to your body requires complete commitment and to pause every once in a while to really feel this miraculous expression of life. Hygiene, both external and internal enhances the body, mind and personality. It includes taking care of eyes, ears, mouth, hair, skin and feet. Internal hygiene is being addiction free, be it caffeine, nicotine, drugs or alcohol. Nutrition is a key aspect to always feeling your best. You are what you eat, so it is important to be mindful of what we feed the body. Nourish the body with organic foods, whole grains and eliminate sugary, processed foods form the diet. The human body is 70% water so providing it with soda when thirsty will not satiate the urge. Drinking at least 5 liters of water is imperative for well being. Do not skimp on sleep, 6-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep is needed for the body to recharge. Keeping the body physically active with yogic asanas (postures) detoxifies and makes you realize what the human body is capable of. Last but the most important is meditation which enables you to look inward and to focus on the divinity that lives within. It also helps you to control the ever volatile mind. Loving yourself helps you recognize the body’s beauty and always having a positive body image promotes a healthy lifestyle. Approach your body with awe and treat it as you would any sacred space. Think twice before insulting and criticizing yourself. Honour your body; do not load it with emotional and psychological baggage. Lastly, pause and enjoy your body. Dress it best by wearing only that makes you feel wonderful. Enjoy your aliveness, slow down and savour every facet of this magnificent human body.