B.K.S. Iyengar, the acclaimed yoga guru, was known not just for the precision in asana practice but also for his no-nonsense approach to health. We have to look at the body as a whole, not in parts, he repeatedly stressed. Do not perform an asana for the back, or the arms or the stomach but for the entire body, mind and being.
That is exactly how ayurveda and yoga described health—life as a whole and not in parts. The modern approach to health and fitness is, however, data-driven. Body parts get isolated, measured as disjointed units and some of them gain popularity as health markers. This is a dangerous trend; case in point is the obsession with the size of one’s paunch.
Pills, powders, gadgets, even surgical procedures, are now sold on the promise of getting rid of the bulge in the middle. The truth, though, is that if you wake up fresh, sleep soundly, can hold the weight of your body comfortably while sitting and standing without slouching then that paunch of yours is just adding to your personality. Really, there is no standard formula that a human being needs to comply with to be disease-free. You have a paunch, but if you have the enthusiasm to plan for a holiday, enjoy your work, live with people you love, then you have cracked the formula. Or to take from the Panda movie, the secret is that there is no secret ingredient to health, well-being and happiness.