Apr 26, 2019

Book Review: The Wellness Sense by Om Swami

I usually go by recommendations when picking books to read but this time, it was different. I randomly picked up this book from the Kindle store and am so glad I did. 

Om Swami's The Wellness Sense gives a good overview on the basics of Ayurveda, living in tune with mother nature, the role of food in one's health and most importantly, role of our mental thoughts and emotions in modern-day ailments.

The book starts off with the basic premise:

"The health of an individual is not just the state of his physical body but an aggregate of the body, senses, mind and soul. Your immune system is directly impacted by your state of mind. The more positive and happy you are, the stronger your immunity."

The author stresses the importance of mental and emotional health throughout the book.

"How you respond to what life throws at you affects your health in the most significant manner. The way you look at anything and the manner in which you accept or reject are the two most important - if not the only - factors that determine your overall well-being."

On absorption of food and its close relationship with our mental health, I loved this particular passage

"Your physical health is almost entirely dependent on how your body accepts and processes food, which in turn is affected by your mental and emotional state. The body is not just a mechanical machine, for if it were, all stomachs would process food exactly the same way."

The first 3 chapters are similar to that of any Ayurveda focused book - where the author explains about five elements, seven dhatus, our constitution/three doshas and the importance of balance. These might be a good revision if you have already read a few Ayurveda books. 

What definitely needs to be stressed upon in today's age where a universal diet with fixed and calculated macro-nutrients is prescribed to everyone is this absolutely crucial point:

"In Ayurveda, nothing is absolute. The utility, value and effect of anything is relative. Hence the efficacy of its healing is dependent on the receiver, the time and the environment. Foods that may be good for you could be catastrophic for another person."
"Mental and physical exertion directly impact your energy flow. Further, other people's energy and the external environment can also impact your energy flow."

There were many takeaways for me, starting from Chapter 6.

"The energy of the food affects our energy. It has a significant influence on our physical, emotional and mental well-being."

The classification of foods into sattvic, rajasic and tamasic categories and their respective characteristics, impact on our body and mind were quite insightful. The chapter on eating sense - the art of choosing what, when, how and how much you put in your stomach is something that we all need to be more mindful about. It's not ONLY about WHAT foods to eat.

"A good sense of eating has five aspects, namely mindfulness, water, quantity, gratitude and time."

Apart from food, the book stresses a lot about negative emotions which according to the author "are unwholesome food for the mind." Mental detoxification techniques such as meditation, visualization, erasing psychic imprints (similar concept was covered in "The heartfulness way") and mindfulness are explained in detail. 

Physical cleansing techniques as prescribed in Ayurveda, the importance of fasting etc are also explained in easy-to-understand procedures.

This book will be a ready reckoner to understand wellness in a holistic way from the point of view of Ayurveda and Yoga. It is definitely worth owning a copy and referring to it often. Do check it out. The Kindle version is available for a price of Rs.79.

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