Before we dive right in, let me help you out with a little definition. Disease, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, is described as “a condition of a person, animal, or plant in which its body or structure is harmed because an organ or part is unable to work as it usually does […]” In its broader, holistic sense, disease is often also used for the absence of “ease”, meaning that you simply don’t feel well. Something is off, doesn’t feel right. This usually happens when our mind takes decisions that our body rejects. When we push ourselves too hard or in the wrong direction. When our natural balance gets distracted by our addiction to harmful substances, over-eating or eating all the wrong things.
We all know the feeling: You wake up one morning, your head hurts, your limbs are heavy. It’s time to wake up but you really don’t want to. Instead, you are craving for rest, for a nice cup of tea and a bubble bath. Life has been stressful these past weeks, taking a break simply seems impossible. So instead of listening to your body, your intuition, you suck it up and go on with your life. You are focused on providing for your family, on finally achieving the big promotion you dream of. Maybe it’s your family that needs your whole attention, your children that are screaming for you to prepare their breakfast.
Life is busy, even overwhelming sometimes. There is nobody there who does the job as well as you do, so you stopped asking for help. “I can do it alone. I have to do it alone. My needs simply have to wait.” And yes, you definitely can do it all alone. But the longer you neglect your own wellbeing, the harder keeping up with your chores will get. Your energy & attention levels decrease, you grow more and more tired every day, imbalances are evolving and will eventually cause disease.
Ayurveda, as holistic medicine practice that focuses on determining and eliminating the root cause of illness, explains that disease actually develops in six stages. This means that before your organs or parts of your organism are unable to work, before your body or structure is harmed, you can already feel the first signs of something arising in yourself that doesn’t feel good, that causes you dis-ease, usually followed by fatigue, paleness and apathy. This means that we can step in long before we experience symptoms of illness. Exactly this is what Ayurveda promotes: Awareness about your current physical, mental & spiritual health so that you can adjust your lifestyle to your needs. To come back to ease even before illness can properly manifest.
Following, I will quickly guide you through the six stages of disease, so that you gain better awareness around the functions of your body and understand why the holistic approach to health of Ayurveda is so helpful in maintaining or finding back to balance, back to health.
The Six Stages:
Due to some kind of imbalance, toxins start to build up locally. Toxins can build up internally, due to poor digestion, can be consumed in form of polluted water, stale foods, pesticides, or can be absorbed from the outside, like through the air we breathe. It can also be emotional trauma that is being held in your body, grief that has no place to go or shame that you hold down instead of releasing it.
After a certain amount of toxins have accumulated, they form a blockage. This means that they prevent your energies from flowing freely, which cuts off your organs from receiving all the life force, or Prana, that is necessary to function effortlessly.
In this step, the body starts to lose control over the one blockage that has formed and toxins are spreading to other areas of your system, causing blockages there too.
The organ that has been deprived of life force is starting to be affected, it will be weakened and the body won’t be able to repair the resulting damage by itself, without sending out warning signs to you. This is the stage when you will notice the first symptoms, like feeling tired, being pale, feeling stuck and being unable to show interest or are unwilling to take action over things that are actually important to you.
We reached the stage when the first “real” symptoms associated with disease appear. Now you are able to describe certain sensations of feeling unwell, to name precise symptoms.
Last but actually the opposite of least, the symptoms are fully developed and felt. Now the illness could even become chronic, if no action is taken.
You see, illness doesn’t appear overnight. Our bodies are extremely intelligent organism that do a great job in keeping up the good work most of the time. They are fighting against forces that we can only image, day by day, without giving us the slightest sign of exhaustion. That is – of course – if we allow it to do its work. If we feed it with nutritious foods, stay away from abusing certain substances, give it enough time to rest and pay attention to its needs.
Our body isn’t asking for much actually. The problem is that our mind, our society, the newest trends & health advises are tempting us to go against nature’s call. They make us believe that they know better what we need then our body does. This is why, in a step by step plan to find balance, to create or maintain health, always follow rule number 1: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY, IT KNOWS BEST.
Go back to what is natural to you. Take a break if you need to. Don't push yourself past your limits, not for you family, your friends, your relationship, your work.
I am excited to read your thoughts, questions or feedback in the comments. If you feel like you are struggling to find this inner voice, your body's intuition, or you are currently finding yourself stuck in a rut of feeding imbalances instead of nurturing yourself, please don't be shy to reach out.
Sending love & light,