Nature Cure Practices
Shanker Devi attended a five days residential camp called—‘Nature Cure’ with his family and friend, Deven. The camp was led by Arun Sharma, a revered guru of Nature Cure practices. Shanker Devi moved to Auroville in 2014 and lives here with his family—mom, wife and two children. She and his family had been interested in Nature Cure practices since October 2013 and ever since then are journeying deeper into Holistic health.
Nature Cure views the Five elements as food, these are—“Ether, Air, Earth, Fire and Water”, which are parts of the food we consume. It essentially looks at our habits, patterns and nature in tandem with food. During the five-day camp, Shanker Devi and his family learnt about ways to inculcate Nature Cure practices into their lifestyle under their guru, Arun Sharma.
Philosophy of Nature Cure Practices
Nature Cure is predicated on taking a holistic approach towards health and wellness through the Mind, Body and Soul. It focuses on eradicating any self-limiting dietary habits, not only through food but through a holistic lifestyle change.
A semi-Raw Vegan diet is followed, paired with Pranayama (breathwork), Asanas (exercise) and Sun-gazing.
It aims at shifting one’s lifestyle to a more sustainable and natural way of living, that benefits both mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing.
In the five-day residential camp, Arun Sharma helps to understand ways through which one could decipher the difference between hunger and cravings. As one starts to detox their body and their old ways of being, cravings start to show up. The body is used to snacking multiple times, throughout the day. However, cravings usually occur due to a deficiency in the system and real hunger is not lethargy or a sense of tiredness, it's an active feeling.
In Nature Cure practices raw food is perceived to be sun-cooked that is prepared by nature and given to us and is an essential part of the diet style. It views food with its five elements, which have to be consumed in a cyclic nature through the Seven days of the week. For instance, Mondays are seen for fasting—Ether as food, the emptiness of the stomach remains as food and then goes onto Sunday as a free day, where the family can enjoy food as they like.
The day starts with ‘Pranayama’ which is considered food in Nature Cure practices, it is the element of Air. Followed by Breakfast, a glass or two of Green Juice (any green leaves diluted in water) are taken at 7 in the morning. Afterwards, a minor gap is observed, a mono-fruit is consumed in how much ever quantity wanted, for instance, one day only Bananas may be consumed until a feeling of satiety. In the afternoon, lunch is taken…a serving of raw salad is consumed with the main ingredient as shredded Coconut and at times Tomatoes and Cucumbers are added to increase the water element in the diet. Dinner is observed early, around 5:30 or 6:00 pm. A lightly cooked, Satwik meal with no oil is taken. Mild taste is maintained with no strong masalas. One-third of it is rice and two-thirds are vegetables.
Shanker Devi and his family collectively follow the Nature cure practices. They discuss their food choices and their aspiration to embody better health, holistically on a consistent basis over their meals together.
Shaker Devi believes that she wouldn’t have been able to nurture this habit so deeply if his whole family was not involved. It is important for the collective to be involved for a habit or pattern to be fully integrated and as one works in the spirit of unity, the shift becomes easier. Everyone in his family has benefitted from this collective practice, the kids are more active and healthy and the Shanker Devi’s body works much more efficiently than before.
On a community level, in Auroville Nature Cure practices should be spread to more and more people.
The Samskrutam Auroville team organized a Nature Cure camp in Auroville and they invited Dr Arun Sharma to Auroville through which Shanker Devi was able to volunteer for the cause.
It was initially difficult for Shanker Devi to digest the concept that in Nature Cure practices one does not have to take anything in between breakfast, lunch and dinner, as she had a habit to snack all the time. She used to snack on biscuits and chips in the past, growing up she did not have a healthy eating style. Rice was the main component with a lot of junk food on the side. For him, it took a long time to understand the link between food and health.
There is a saying in Tamil which is, ‘Kallum Karayira, Vayasu”—which means even at a young age if you eat stone it shall be digested, in his college days one of his professors warned him about the ill effects of eating fast food. He felt his body became inactive due to his diet despite the fact that he led a sedentary lifestyle at work.
During and after the five day camp with Arun Sharma his body was not heavy but light. Ever since then, he has been strict on food and does not feel tired as often as before, which is an indicator of good health.
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