Ayurveda teaches that first step towards health is building a loving relationship with your body. Many people believe that loving their body means convincing themselves they are beautiful enough, athletic enough, etc. They make a list of their positive attributes and try to focus on that, while ignoring the 'bad' parts. We'd like to challenge this idea of love. It's easy to love your good parts. Anybody can make a list of the things they love about themselves. But what about loving the parts of your body you feel ashamed about? How do you do that? A person focused on being thin might ask, how could I possibly love my fat?
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In a biblical sense, to love something means to adopt it. To love your body means to adopt it. You don't even have to like your body to love it. To adopt your body means to choose your body over any other, and to select it as your own. It also means to invest your time, love and attention in caring for it, just as you would if you were adopting a child. Even if your child has many flaws, you would never exchange it for another. Finally, to adopt your body means to believe in it and to place your hope in it. In adopting your body, you also come to believe God loves your body.
Adopting your flaws and shortcomings is more difficult than it sounds. You'll want to put some distance between yourself and your problems. This is natural. Each and every one of us has a certain beauty within, a place inside where we believe we are made in the image of God, and that place is the soul. First you feel the beauty of the soul inside of you, and then you notice that your body isn't a good representative of this inner beauty. That makes you want to reject your body.
At first, when you realize the body can't, and never will, measure up to your beauty within, it feels like a crushing blow and you want to escape somehow. Later you realize that no body, and nothing on earth could possibly measure up to your beauty within. There is nothing good enough to represent you - no job, no spouse, no home, or fancy car will measure up. You realize that to live well on earth you need to forgive the earth for its shortcomings, including your earthly body. Compassion for these shortcomings wells up from your heart as you learn to adopt many things as your own, not just your body. Adopting your loved ones, your community, your society, and nation despite their flaws and shortcomings makes your life special, tender, and sweet. You come to realize that despite their earthly shortcoming each of these individuals has a beautiful soul too.
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About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda biocharacteristics. His approach to Ayurveda is clinical, yet exudes an ease which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda, offering professional clinical training in Ayurveda for over 15 years.
John's interest in Ayurveda and specialization in digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, as well as public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well. Outside of work, John enjoys spending time with his wife and 6 kids, and pursuing his love of theology, philosophy, and language.
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wow! That's really beautiful! A great way to start the day. Thank You!
Beautiful article, John!
A most powerful article and reinforces the awakening I'm about at this time. Thank you.
Thanks for this.