Ever wonder what we might be able to learn about bone health from our ancient ancestors? I have. And I am doing that now as I reflect on my recent interview with Ayurvedic master and best-selling author, Acharya Shunya. In this interview, I ask Acharya to discuss the ancient Vedic perspective on the link between emotional stress, worry, and fear and osteoporosis. What I learn can help each part of us all—our body, our mind, and our spirit!
Ayurveda is the 5,000-year-old health science from India, and the topic of Acharya’s award-winning book, Ayurvedic Lifestyle Wisdom. As a master of Ayurveda, Acharya confirmed my decades-long clinical observation that stress, worry, and fear weaken bone. And, going a step further, Acharya weaves into our discussion profound yet practical ancient solutions to calm fear and reestablish balance. She graciously offers various time-honored mind-body self-awareness practices to calm our worried, fearful minds, promoting body-wide physical, emotional, and mental balance. My interview with Acharya will calm, uplift, and inspire anyone who harbors worry or outright fear about osteoporosis.
This inspiring interview with Acharya Shunya will be broadcast October 5, 2023. I am offering it to you, confident that you will find many useful bone-strengthening wisdom pearls from the ancient science of Ayurveda. Let’s set the stage with a few cross-cultural observations, so that you can make the most of this interview.
Fear, Worry, and Bone: Glimpses of Ancestral Wisdom
Thousands of years before contemporary neuroscientists like Dr. Candice Pert discovered the “molecules of emotion,” the ancient health sciences of both India and China codified the impact of emotions on health.
Through keen observation of Nature and deep spiritual awareness, ancestral wisdom-driven medical systems such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) declared that mental stress and negative emotions, particularly fear, and its child worry, created system-wide imbalance. Negative emotions, they declared, weakened the body’s entire system, and specifically eroded the strongest of all tissues, the bones.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
As the renown Qi Gong Grand Master, Dr. Nan Lu, once told me as we squeezed into a crowded elevator in his New York City office, “Susan, you will never solve the problem of osteoporosis because osteoporosis is directly related to fear and fear abounds in this culture.”
As it turns out, ancient traditional Chinese medicine, like Ayurveda, developed a medical system based on five basic elemental building blocks of life. In TCM these are fire, water, metal, earth, and wood. Each element has its own set of qualities and responsibilities, each interacting with all the others, and each ruling a particular meridian energy pathway.
This life-encompassing and life-explaining TCM theory was known as the “Five Element Theory.” What’s interesting to me about this complex medical model is that these ancients found fear to be the emotion most damaging to bone. This negative impact was due to the pernicious effect that fear had on the kidney-adrenal meridian system—the energetic system controlling bone. Even today, most of the traditional Chinese medicines for bone are herbal formulas that treat kidney imbalance.
The Ancient Health Science of Ayurveda
And then there is Ayurveda, the ancient medical system which most fascinates me. Ayurveda, like traditional Chinese Medicine, views the body-mind-spirit complex as one integrated unit. As with Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda is based on the principle of balance and harmony within the body, mind, and spirit. Alteration to any one part of the system impacts the whole. As you will hear in my interview with Acharya Shunya, Ayurveda also links osteoporosis with fear and worry.
The Ayurvedic model also contains five basic elemental building blocks of life. These are space, air, fire, water, and earth. When discussing human health, these five elements are collapsed into three “doshas,” that is, three distinct energy patterns or constitution types. These “doshas” or constitutional types are “Vata,” associated with the elements of air and space, “Pitta,” associated with fire and water, and “Kapha,” associated with the elements of earth and water.
As Acharya and I discuss the link between fear and osteoporosis, you will see that one particular body type, Vata, is more prone to developing osteoporosis. Comprised of air and space elements, Vata is fast moving, drying, and changeable like the wind, and prone to worry and anxiety. (Thus, my blog title reference to the “winds of worry.”)
Having a degree of “Vata” imbalance myself, when I step back and quietly observe my thoughts, I notice gusts of worry. I feel the “winds of worry” and have come to realize that if I put my attention to them they grow stronger. If, however, I relax and take a few deep breaths and then consciously direct my attention to more pleasant thoughts, the winds of worry fade away. I have come to realize the power of choosing what I want to put my attention on. How about for you? Have you ever felt the “winds of worry” and if so, how do you handle them?
What Is Your Dosha Constitutional Balance?
In preparation for this interview with Acharya Shunya, let’s go back to the topic of “doshas” or constitutional types and lay a little groundwork for the interview.
Below is a chart listing typical qualities of each dosha constitutional type. Most of us have some qualities of each dosha, with one predominating. Those of us manifesting more “Vata” qualities are more prone to develop osteoporosis. In preparation for the upcoming broadcast of my interview with Acharya Shunya, you might take a minute and check out the chart below. How many characteristics of each body type describe you?
If you are part of my “Thin and Worried Tribe,” or otherwise concerned about bone health, Acharya’s talk on the ancient health science of Ayurveda will empower you with simple practices for charting your move from worry and fear to fear-free, self-empowered mindfulness. I am charting that path for myself—why not join me!
More information about Acharya Shunya and Ayurveda:
Her Website: awakenedself.com
- Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom: A Complete Prescription to Optimize Your Health, Prevent Disease, and Live with Vitality and Joy, Sounds True, 2017.
- Sovereign Self: Claim Your Inner Joy and Freedom with the Empowering Wisdom of the Vedas, Upanishads, and Bhagavad Gita, Sounds True, 2020.
- Roar Like a Goddess: Every Woman’s Guide to Becoming Unapologetically Powerful, Prosperous and Peaceful, Sounds True, 2022.