Shanti Gowans, the CEO of Health Institute Australia and the founder of The Shanti YogaTM system, is one of the most celebrated amongst the new generation of great, yoga meditation masters of our time. She is deeply versed in the practical and philosophical disciplines of the ancient traditions of Vedanta, Yoga, Ayurveda and Theravada which are conducted at Nirvana Wellness Retreat in Beechmont, S.E. Queensland.
Shanti Gowans, came to Australia from India in 1972, at the height of political turmoil and spiritual longing in Australia. She soon attracted a following which included many of the prominent artists, poets, spiritual teachers and intellectual thinkers of the time.
She has taught throughout the world and is known for her ability to convey the teachings of yoga in a fresh, profound and straightforward style. She believes in the power of yoga as a catalyst for social change and is the author of the several acclaimed books and programs on yoga, ayurveda and meditation. Her teachings spread beyond the stereotypical, into influences such as parenting, relationships, the visual arts, physical and mental health care, business management and hospice work. Her understanding of life has been gained over many decades from a deep, meditative insight into the processes of life, the experiences of her students and her extensive work as a counsellor to people in need.
In Shanti Yoga, Shantiji has created a powerful, experiential process for lifelong learning. Shanti Yoga is dedicated to fostering an enlightened society through sustaining and promoting cultural traditions and providing the opportunities for an exchange of ideas and experiences between the keepers of these traditions, contemporary artists and the public. You are invited to participate in Shanti Yoga and its associated disciplines through her books and CDs, or your presence in her classes, discussion groups and at Nirvana Wellness retreats.
Health is a state of being whole. Disease is a state of being separated. When something is a part, it is a-part. To heal is to become whole.
You cannot buy, beg, borrow or steal health. It is nature's gift to you. Each one of us must find our own path towards a life that we can live to it's fullest. By making the most of ourselves, we repay nature the debt we owe her for giving us life.
Today, we pride ourselves on the fluidity of our society in which theoretically, everyone can use their talents and ambitions to earn their fame and fortune. We revel in our great mobility, and our rootlessness and we love to live footloose and fancy free. Forgetting the past and living free from all its ties and limitations, has become our youth's rite of passage. By magnifying our individuality, we have come to equate progress (as epitomised by science) with forgetfulness - and have made an idol out of our individuality. Many people now live like slaves to progress. Many of us invest a lot in egotistically establishing our own individual ethics and morals, since we feel that we have nothing else to invest in with confidence. Our collective policy of everyone for themselves, regards everything outside the individual, even nature, as an enemy.
There is so much different and conflicting advice about what to eat to be healthy. The Paleo diet? Raw food? Vegetarian? Vegan? Low G.I.? Alkaline? Sugar Free? Dairy Free? Gluten Free? Low calorie? Low fat? High protein? Low carb? High Fibre? Fasting? Bone broths? Fermented foods? Macrobiotics? Navigating the minefield of healthy eating and dietary information can be extremely confusing today.
So what should you eat to feel good, maintain a healthy weight, help prevent disease, enjoy sustained energy and look your best? Not all kinds of diets work for everybody. Not all kinds of food suits everybody. There is a reason. While certain kinds of food may be really beneficial for your particular constitution, others may increase toxicity in you, both physically and even mentally.
Additionally, patients ask whether they can just take 'natural' supplements and then forget about what they eat. Patients proudly announce that they have ditched their meals for supplements: for instance, a protein shake instead of lunch, or natural supplements of Vitamins C or D instead of consuming oranges or milk. Marketers of 'miracle pills' have created a false illusion in the minds of these patients believing that since their products are all `natural', they are healthy for them.
The notion that you would need to eat a whole bucket of oranges to get the same amount of Vitamin C in a little pill, is a scam and misleading. 'Supplement' means 'fractured' or 'incomplete'. Supplements can never compare to the life force that is delivered to your cells when you eat complete whole foods. The word nutrition originally arises from an ancient term, meaning 'process of light'. Your cells respond harmonically to 'nutrition', not to isolated, dead nutrients that have been extracted from an active form, encapsulated and placed in a little bottle. A recent large scale Harvard study found that eating just one little carrot a day reduces your risk of stroke by an astounding 68 per cent. Conversely, the beta-carotene supplements bought in health food stores have shown to be ineffective in preventing cancer and other serious diseases. This is beacuse the supplement only provides one tiny isolated nutrient from a plethora of nutritional components contained in real, live carrots.
However, with respect to health, we tend to ignore individuality, often focussing on 'backs' or 'lungs' and neglecting the organism, the whole being that hosts that particular back or lung. Piece-meal therapy cannot encourage balance within an organism. Since today's medical profession often fails to educate their patients about health, today's patients must educate themselves about health. Everyone in today's world who wants to be healthy, has a personal responsibility to learn as much as possible about health.
Individual balance, or harmony, has a vertical dimension, which is the dynamic interplay of the individual's body, mind and spirit. It also has a horizontal dimension, which is the equilibrium between the individual and it's environment. Everything outside your skin is part of your environment. You are a part of my environment and I am a part of yours. Nature is the sum total of all individuals and their environments. For you to be healthy, your physical body must be in harmony with nature, your mind with the group-mind of the group you live with, and your essence, in a satisfying relationship with the universal ground of everything.
The universe delights in your adding your might to the vast collective tapestry called human civilisation. You can make your fullest contribution to life only when you are healthy...and in return, health alone enables you to enjoy life to its fullest. Enjoy the pleasures of life, up to the point where such enjoyment interferes with your health. Unlimited indulgence makes us less free, because we become less self-sufficient. Each of our addictions to caffeine, sugar, salt, sport spectaculars, TV game shows, alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex or other indulgences, is another nail in the coffin of our freedom, another restraint to our individual freedom and a further load on our collective karma.
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