Advanced Yoga Practices
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Vitamins, Supplements and Herbal Remedies (Audio)
AYP Plus Additions:
- Are Herbal Supplements Essential for Spiritual Development? (Audio)
Date: Feb 18, 2009
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the web archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
If we are eating a balanced diet with a good assortment of fruits and
vegetables, all of our nutritional needs will be taken care of. If we
cultivate good dietary habits, there will be no need for supplemental
vitamins and minerals. If the diet is not so good, then supplements can
serve a need, though they cannot fully compensate for imbalances in the
Dietary supplements of all kinds are taken by hundreds of millions of people
around the world every day. It is another one of those multi-billion dollar
industries that has grown out of our concerns about diet and health. If the
diet is already good, taking supplements may be regarded to be insurance,
just in case our diet has a few nutritional holes in it. And if the diet is
poor, the supplements may serve a much larger perceived role. The truth is,
all the pills in the world are not going to compensate for a poor diet. In
that case, taking supplements is a misguided strategy that masks the real
issue. It is not about the nutrients we are not receiving in our diet. It is
about all the things we are putting in that are detrimental to our health.
If we step back behind the behaviors, we may find that the supplements are
being used to avoid a more fundamental issue that is transcending dietary
Why is it that we take supplements? No doubt we all swear by one or two, at
least, convinced that we have found the way to avoid the common cold, or
have secured the proverbial fountain of youth in a magic pill. Maybe so, but
a good daily routine of yoga practices leading to a balanced diet and
lifestyle will do much more for our health and longevity than dietary
supplements ever can.
It is okay to take supplements, as long as we are realistic about their use
in relation to the rest of what we are doing in our life. There is no single
magic bullet that will give us good health. And there is no handful of pills
every morning that can do it for us either. However, there is magic in
developing a balanced overall approach to living from the inside out.
Lasting happiness can be found by going to our silent center within in daily
deep meditation, and then learning to act from there (samyama).
As they say, happiness cannot be found in a bottle, including in a pill
It should be mentioned that the herbal medicine systems of China, India and
the indigenous native cultures of the world are highly developed, with
centuries of accumulated knowledge. The application of these natural
medicine systems is based on specific causes and effects for adding
spiritual development, the prevention of diseases, or their cure, developed
over thousands of years. It is a specialized area of knowledge that does not
lend itself to casual experimentation like we see happening so often in the
field of dietary supplements, sometimes with more risk than is anticipated.
There are benefits that can be gained by consulting with or studying the
work of experts in the application of herbal preparations. What is there in
the ancient health systems is valuable and can complement the considerable
capabilities of modern medicine, and, in some cases, delay or eliminate the
need for more radical medical measures. In fact, our modern pharmaceutical
industry utilizes substances found in the ancient healing systems far more
than is generally known.
Of course, the best insurance against disease is a lifestyle that promotes
good health and the prevention of mishaps. This is where the spiritual
aspect of our life plays an essential role.
The guru is in you.
Related Lessons Topic Path
Discuss this Lesson in the AYP Plus Support Forum
detailed discussion on
yogic diet, see the
Diet, Shatkarmas and Amaroli
and AYP Plus.