Modern lifestyle has prompted us to keep one thing always handy with us-‘The drugs’! Drugs have become more important for survival than food today, perhaps because our lives have been confined to the way we have nurtured ourselves, where, health is always our prime concern, yet, the last one to be attended to! Our day begins & ends with popping pills to placate the mental and physical distress our body undergoes. 

Being a part of nature we must understand that there are a plethora of natural alternative healing therapies like Yoga, Ayurveda, and Macrobiotics that if incorporated in our lives can relieve most of our health issues. To implement them in our lives is both arduous and perilous in the absence of proper knowledge and direction. Thus, well-read and seasoned professionals like Deepti Sehgal has come up with initiatives like Svarasya to educate and blend the best traditional practices for providing healthcare innovative solutions to benefit people around the world and present a ray of hope from nature’s infinite treasure that can revive the body’s natural healing tendencies.

Chat on the Mat in conversation with this remarkable female icon to learn more about health and wellness naturally

hellomyyoga: What is a self-care approach in your view?

Deepti Sehgal: Self-care to me is holistic & has a much deeper meaning & application. To me, self-care is a way of life & not just a few set of remedies. It involves whole body-mind awareness if it is about my own self-care.

For me, it is an inside-out effort to eat right & live right that takes one on the path of internal healing. It is the choice of small little acts performed daily, to cleanse, build & nourish the body & mind every single day with the right food choices, mindful body movements & positive attitude towards life.

Precisely, self-care for me is about creating a healing way of life, living in the moment with self-awareness & doing efforts that help strengthen body-mind both internally & externally.

I completely abide by the ancient techniques of self-care, whereas, the modern approach to self-care considers each aspect of self as an individual aspect & so are the remedies offered individualistically for the affected area.

For example, someone with respiratory issues just focusses on treating the symptoms like cold, cough, flu, sinus, then considering that the root may be their gut health or allergies or some clogging foods. This fragmented approach to self-care is way too narrow versus the wholesome self-care approach as always described in ancient sciences…It is not just a one-single remedy! It is the way you eat, think, live, believe, create & enjoy life daily!

hellomyyoga: Essence of food in prevention and healing?

Deepti Sehgal: In three words if I have to summarize, it is the ‘Subtle Food Energy’! 

Modern nutrition gave us a framework around the physical properties of food that can be scientifically measured as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, calories & like. It is surely great support referring to the research work done in the field of nutrition.

Though the modern nutrition approach is just wonderful, yet it is incomplete. It is just the gross physical element that modern nutrition looks into.  You ask someone on a counted calorie diet plan:

How do they feel? 
Do they feel lively energy fueling them? 
Has anything changed about their emotions?
Do they feel joyful & one with nature?

There is hardly an answer to these questions for someone on a calorie-counted diet plan. Beyond the gross measurable properties of foods, there exists the subtle element of foods-‘The Prana’, which makes us feel alive & joyous apart from granting us robust health. This gross-subtle focus of ancient nutrition on foods makes it a complete science.

In Macrobiotics/TCM, we look at foods with its energetic component & try making balance with different foods possessing energetic components of different frequencies.

For example, brown rice has very balanced energy. To make the balanced vibrations of brown rice energetic for the mind, we add green leafy vegetables in the meal. Further, to make it even more balanced for someone who has an unsettled mind vibration, we add pumpkin soup that lends grounded & centered energy to the whole meal.

Similarly, in Ayurveda/Yoga Science, this prevention & healing approach is targeted by balancing the 6 tastes including sweet, sour, salty, pungent (spicy), bitter & astringent.

Each taste has an impact on a specific organ. For example, spicy or pungent taste impacts the lungs & helps open up channels to let ‘Prana’ flow effortlessly. Thus, we see Ayurveda suggest many spice formulations for respiratory health. 

Ancient nutrition does not talk about calories & nutritional elements for muscle building or bone strengthening. It talks about ‘Prana’, or ‘Chi’ element of foods which is a holistic approach to body & mind nutrition as inseparable entities.

If it keeps counting calories & nutrition irrespective of the source it comes from, without focusing on our feelings, our hormone signaling will be disturbed gradually, causing a medley of health issues at multiple physical, mental & emotional levels.

hellomyyoga: What is common between Macrobiotics/TCM, Ayurveda & Yoga approach of healing?

Deepti Sehgal: ‘BALANCE’!The crux of all diverse these ancient modalities is the same…i.e. ‘BALANCE WITH OUR INTERNAL & EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT’. Ultimately Nature & its components (including humans) strive on balance!

Macrobiotics/TCM: This ancient modality looks at gross & subtle aspects from the viewpoint of extremities symbolized ‘Yin’ & ‘Yang’ energies(the subtle yet powerful opposing energies). For each ‘Yin’ element, there exists a ‘yang’ element, & no extreme is considered good from a health perspective.

You must lie in the center of ‘Yin’ & ‘Yang’ to experience a blissful state of physical, mental, emotional & spiritual health.

For example, from the food perspective, in Macrobiotics salt is extremely ‘yang’, while sugar is extremely ‘yin’. Our body needs both tastes, but not to the level of their extremes. Each of these tastes have specific organ associations &overdoing any of these extremes will lead to health issues. Hence, maintaining a BALANCE between these two extremes is the key here!

Ayurveda: This ancient modality also looks at the gross & subtle from the viewpoint of 3 different predominant energies in the universe namely ‘Vata’, ‘Pitta’ & ‘Kapha’(the subtle yet powerful independent yet interdependent energies). Vata symbolizes the moving energy, pitta symbolizes the digestive & metabolic energy responsible for fueling the body, Kapha symbolizes our structural & lubricating energy. We need pitta energy to burn & extract nutrition out of our foods, Vata energy to disperse the extracted nutrition to all our cells & kapha energy to help the body form its structure.

At the physical level, the functioning associated with these 3 energies ( ‘Vata’, ‘Pitta’ & ‘Kapha’) keep us alive with their specific roles to perform& our balanced composition is formed with right synergy between these 3 energies. Hence, ‘BALANCE’ is the key here too!

Yogic Sciences: This ancient modality also looks at the gross & subtle from the viewpoint of the balance between the Body (Gross )& the Mind (Subtle). An overactive mind with a sedentary body will create mental agonies & physical weaknesses, while an overactive body & dull mind will create physical health issues, which are again imbalanced state of being. And hence, the approach in yogic sciences is to balance the mind with yogic practices.

Hatha yoga specifically focusses on strengthening ‘Ida Nadi’ (Left Nostril Breathing) & ‘Pingala Nadi’ (Right Nostril Breathing), to balance the ‘Sushumna’ Nadi, that leads to balancing our nervous system, thus, creating a state of harmony & BALANCE between the body & mind. 

hellomyyoga: How these three approaches complement healing, altogether?

Deepti Sehgal: Ayurveda, Yogic Sciences, Macrobiotics/TCM have a similar language to speak when it comes to prevention & healing through foods.

For healing, Ayurveda focusses on the science of tastes & not on the nutritional components & TCM science further validates it through the 5-element theory validating the association of each taste with a specific body organ & different emotion. Each taste as described in Ayurveda carries a vibration of different frequency that maps with the specific vibrations of a specific organ. This is where the TCM science maps beautifully with the teachings of Ayurveda. Additionally, the Yogic techniques can support healing by activating the detoxification channels of the body & opening up the blocked channels through which ‘Prana’ (in Ayurveda) or ‘Chi’ in TCM flows.

Consider the physical state of Mr ‘X’ suffering from weak lung condition & respiratory issues. He is a shallow breather. You investigate him further & you realize he is a sad personality & often complains for no reason irrespective of everything great happening in his life. 

The modern way to treat this person would be putting him on some medications for respiratory treatment. Here, his emotional state is no consideration as there seems no connect between his health issues & emotions at all. 

However, when dealt with this case from Ayurveda or TCM perspective, the practitioner will immediately be able to make a connect between his shallow breathing & sadness (the organ-emotion connect). A shallow breather’s lungs perform at a much lower capacity. At the gross (physical) level lungs supply oxygen to the cells for energy production. With oxygen-capacity compromised due to underworking lungs, the detoxification & energy production process gets hampered leading to the accumulation of internal toxins. This makes immunity weak & the body will not be able to fight off pathogens. This will impact the weakest parts of the body, which is lungs in this case. A person thus will get prone to respiratory disorders over time. ‘Prana’ flows with oxygen into the body. Hence, if oxygen flow is weak, the ‘Prana’ flow will be disrupted. Due to internal toxins, the prana flowing channels may get blocked too that disrupts its flow. This may cause energy vibration disruptions in the mind, resulting in the rise of sad emotions. The TCM concept beautifully validates this Ayurveda teaching stating that the emotion of sadness is associated with the lungs & an under-performing lung at the gross level will impact ‘Chi’or ‘Prana’. Hence, mind-body both have an impact! It is such an interwoven medley of mind to body, body to emotions, emotions to foods, foods to tastes & tastes to the body, which is a broken link in the way modern nutrition perceives the applicability of foods on humans. 

The ancient holistic approach to healing Mr. X would be to support & strengthen the lungs, decongest & open them up with foods that provide upward rising energy, such as green leafy vegetables. Dispersing mucous is required here & thus spices & herbs do a great job. The lungs have to be opened up & blending heart-opening Yogic practices in his healing can holistically heal him. The result would be not just healed & strengthened lung condition but a happy state of being where sadness will fade away automatically.

hellomyyoga: How working professionals can avert lifestyle disorder?

Deepti Sehgal: I am a strong proponent of the ancient lifestyle. For working professionals, morning & evening hours are completely time-in-hand that can be used effectively to create cleansing & healing practices.
Two aspects of routine that can greatly help working professionals transform their health:

Morning Routine: Having a great morning ritual, a daily discipline of cleansing the senses, followed by some yogic practices & an invigorating bath with self-massage can make one ready to face the day with confidence. Starting the day with alkalinity can make a huge difference to mind-body-skin health in the long run. A must-try recipe for alkaline beginning would be; take 15-20 spinach (or any other green leafy vegetable), 1 apple with peel, 1 lemon with peel (remove seeds), inch ginger & a spoon of flaxseeds. All ingredients must be washed properly & blended together to be consumed first thing in the morning. This powerful recipe can just transform your health beautifully.

Evening Routine: Having dinner no later than 7 pm can provide relief to the digestive & elimination channels, thus helping the body get into a state of relaxation. Ultimately, it is the state of deep relaxation that culminates into radiant & vibrant internal health.