Last Wednesday evening, I went to bed with a stomach ache. After tossing and turning for several hours, the fun got started around 2 a.m. From that point on, I proceeded to be violently ill throughout all of Thursday. I couldn’t keep any food down, very little liquid, and my head pounded furiously. It was ugly. There was even some toddler like crying (and that was just the DH trying to deal with me…). Friday, I felt somewhat better, but still wasn’t really up to eating and I did a lot of napping throughout the day. Saturday and today, I’ve added some crackers/toast to the diet and a little fruit. I finally got up the energy today to manage about 1/2 hour of yoga without getting very ill. Tomorrow should be better yet, but all of this has me thinking about health and yoga and raw foodism.
According to staunch raw food (natural hygeine) proponents, there is 1 illness and 1 cure. The illness is toxicity caused by the food and other environmental toxins we encounter in our standard American lives. They argue that all diseases, of whatever name or characteristic, are simply manifestations of this toxicity, which can be greatly reduced and virtually eliminated by a strict natural hygeine lifestyle, including a raw food diet. So, if an individual develops an illness while eating raw, the recommended solution is to either water or juice fast, but certainly to continue the raw diet.
While I don’t actually buy into the 1 illness and 1 cure idea, I understand why it might be beneficial to water/juice fast through an illness, but this particular virus made it clear to me that it was not going to work out sometimes. There are times when the body refuses to digest particular types of food, and many raw items are challenging on the digestion – unless one owns a juicer and utilizes that path. This suggests that there may be points where raw food is not the best option in recovery.
Drawing from understandings in the path of yoga, the body must be taken care of for the mind to function well. This means resting when you need to rest, and not pushing the body to exhaustion. When ill, I assume this to mean that one should wait until the body returns to a state of positive energy before undertaking any vigorous asanas, and that return to practice should be gradual and measured.
The catch here is that when one doesn’t practice, sometimes the muscles and joints become stiff or clinched, making a return to practice more difficult and frustrating and increasing feelings of exhaustion. Not practicing while I was trying to feel better makes sense from one perspective, but from another, it only makes things worse.
What is the “take away” message from all of this? I think it may be that even our most “healthy” habits need to be continually reassessed in the face of the realities of the body and mind. We need to combine concern with long term physical and mental health with attention to the short term. Sometimes those two points of focus will require different actions, and choices have to be made about what is best.
Be in the body; be in the moment. What does it require?