Living a healthy lifestyle is the most important of all. Modern day’s lifestyle is not what our body is built for. We keep waking late at night, we rise late in the morning, we consume junk fast foods, we hardly meditate, we consume alcohol, we smoke and the list goes on.
I am not here to tell you what to do and what not to do. Rather than doing that, I just want to help you by giving some light on what Ayurvedic Believers used to do to keep themselves healthy and you too can adopt this lifestyle.
I know it is hard to adopt a new habit and leave the old habit. I will also remind you of the probable effect on your body due to continuous unfollowing the natural rules and regimens.
I will tell you about what we are doing wrong to keep ourselves healthy and how you can change it to brink back a joyful life.
Let’s start from the morning-
Wake Up at Brahmamuhurta and Practise Meditation and Yoga.
Everybody knows the benefits of waking up early. Even then also we do not wake up early. Why is it so? In the modern world, there are numerous distractions all around. From Televisions to Mobile Phone. We love to have a little bit of entertain before we sleep. But we underestimate the fact that the luminous screens of Mobile Phone or TV have a great impact on our quality of sleep even though we spent only 15 mins of time watching mobile screens before sleeping.
Brahma muhurta (time of Brahma) is a period (muhurta) one and a half hours before sunrise or more precisely 1Hr 36 Mins before sunrise. It is traditionally the last phase or muhurta of the night and is considered an auspicious time for all practices of yoga and most appropriate for meditation. The time of sunrise varies each day, according to geographic location and time of year, thus the time of the Brahma muhurta also varies.
Ayurveda says that waking up in the Brahma Muhurta is the best way to get refreshed. Ayurveda states that there are three doshas found in the human physical body, called Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The increase or decrease of these three doshas is related to the cycles of time. Brahmamuhurtha occurs during the Vata phase of the morning, between 2:00 am and 6:00 am, and Yoga masters state that the best time to meditate is one and a half hours before dawn, because the mind is inherently still at that time, enabling one to achieve a deeper meditative state.
Benefits of Meditation and Yoga:
In the morning the environment is calm and cool. There is hardly any noise to distract you. Meditation can increase our focus and concentration. Whereas Yoga is more like exercise but it has a fundamental difference which is Yoga is not intended with physical extortion. In exercise sweating and rapid breathing is a must. Yoga’s main aim is the union of body and soul which is also the definition of Yoga. In Yoga body is twisted while having control of breathing air in and out.
Maintains three Pillars of Life: Health, Wealth and Relationships.
According to Ayurveda, all problems we are ever going to face can be divided into three major categories. Yes, you guessed it right. All problems you will ever face will either be something related to our health, wealth or relationships with other humans, these are the 3 pillars of life.
Ayurveda believes that these three pillars are vital for leading a happy life. Without health, wealth is of no use. Similarly without wealth relationship is hard to maintain.
Though this quotes thousands of years old. Still, it applies in the 21st century. One who is healthy and wealthy will have a beautiful relationship.
Health: Here, health doesn’t mean just disease free. You are not suffering from any diseases does not mean you are healthy.
To be healthy one should physically, mentally and spiritually calm which is now the definition of health according to WHO. Long before WHO exists, Ayurveda practitioners of Indian subcontinent knew the importance of Mental and Spiritual health in one’s life.
The proverb “Health is Wealth” is undoubtedly correct. One can make wealth as long as he is healthy. A wealthy person with an unhealthy body can not enjoy his wealth.
Wealth: It is the most admired thing at present. Everyone wants to be wealthy. Being rich is not a crime, the cool thing about wealth is that anyone can become wealthy if he/she makes the mind for it. Whereas health is not achievable in that way.
Wealth is important in one’s life as wealth can give you the best treatment, time for family and importantly a wealthy person can help others in need financially.
Even in the Ayurveda is mentioned that a physician should treat patients who are capable of purchasing of medicine. If a physician prescribes some medicine, the patient can not buy then it will be blamed that the physician is not good in the society. So, it was known even in that period that the importance of wealth.
But, you should not get confused with over gratification for wealth. Ayurveda has never told to accumulate wealth more than enough. Self-sufficient the ultimate wealth for an individual. If something is more than you required, offer it to the poor.
Relationships: Similarly, relationships are important in everyone’s life. If we take about the relationship the first thing that comes to our mind is girlfriend and boyfriend.
A relationship is limited to the sexual relationship between a male and a female. A relationship can be between two friends, between families, between society and even with animals.
Why is relationship important? As we have a healthy body and accumulated enough wealth to enjoy. The answer is that without relationship health and wealth is like an untamed horse.
If you have enough money you will feel like to do things which are not good for other, which can harm others. Your mind will roam here and there. You will end up doing things that you shouldn’t have done.
A relationship will guide you, help you, show you the right path.
Eat Foods According to your Body Types.
Vata individuals are dry, cold, light, subtle, mobile and rough qualities in them. They need food, an atmosphere of opposite qualities like warm, smooth and humid qualities. Vata people should take nutritive diet which is with sweet, salty or sour tastes. Wheat, oats, rice, moong beans, red lentils, red gram, green fresh peas are good. Vegetable beet, carrots, cucumber, zucchini, reddish good for them.
Pitta persons have hot, penetrating or sharp, flowing liquid, slightly oily and light qualities in them. These persons should take foods and drinks opposite to these qualities. White rice, wheat, oats are ok. Stay away from Bengal Gram(Chhole) and dried green peas. Fruits like banana, sweet apples, sweet pineapples, strawberries, pomegranate, ripe grapes are beneficial. Avoid sour and stale dairy products.
Kapha persons are cold, heavy, stable, soft, slimy in body constitution. They should prefer food which are opposite qualities like light, warm, hard and food having a pungent taste. Millets, Barley and corns are favorable. Beets, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, sprouts, and fruits like almond, cashew nut, walnut are good for them.
Follow Daily and Seasonal Regimens.
Here is a beautiful description on daily Regimen by Dr. Vasant Lad.
Similarly, Seasonal Regimens are also important. With the change in season the temperature, wind and surrounding environment change. We should know to maintain our health with changes in season to prevent diseases.
Diseases like smallpox, cold fever are mostly seasonal. They probably transported through winds. If we follow the seasonal regimen described in the Ayurveda we can escape ourselves from the grips on these horrible diseases.
Add Herbs and Spices to your Diet.
Adding herbs and spices to your recipes will increase the digestion capacity of your body. Herbs act as medicine and will help you to poop better. The fibers present in herbs work as mesh and absorbs the water hence decreasing constipation chances.
Spices generally used are Black Pepper, Ginger, Garlic, Turmeric, Cinnamon, Oregano, Fenugreek seeds.
Black pepper is a potent antioxidant that also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It also triggers your stomach to increase the secretion of hydrochloric acid to help with digestion and is known to help prevent gas.
Ginger is anti-inflammatory and may help to relieve pain from muscle soreness, menstrual cramps, headaches and other causes. It also helps prevent flatulence and is widely known for its role in soothing your intestinal tract, offering relief from motion sickness and nausea (including chemotherapy-induced nausea).
Garlic provides immune system support, courtesy of its powerful antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. Garlic is also anti-inflammatory and is so beneficial that entire books have been written on the subject. Suffice to say garlic’s sulfur-containing and other beneficial compounds offer support for your heart and immune system while helping to reduce body-wide inflammation.
This warming spice is rich in antioxidants and also has anti-inflammatory properties. Research suggests it may fight chronic inflammation, support heart health and healthful blood sugar metabolism.
Oregano use dates back to the ancient Greek and Roman empires when the leaves were used for skin problems and pain relief, as well as an antiseptic. It also demonstrates one of the highest antioxidant levels among herbs and spices.
Studies have shown that regularly chewing on a handful of soaked fenugreek seeds can help reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and high triglycerides levels, thus cutting down the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Cleanse your body once a month with Panchkarma.
Panchakarma is a Sanskrit word that means “five actions” or “five treatments”. This is a process used to clean the body of toxic materials left by disease, poor nutrition and environmental toxins.
Normally the body has the innate ability to efficiently process and remove these waste materials, including the vitiated doshas. However, due to one’s repeated dietary indiscretions, poor exercise patterns, lifestyle, and genetic predisposition, the digestive enzymes, metabolic co-factors, hormones, and agnis which regulate the body’s internal homeostasis become disorganized. This can lead to the accumulation and spread of toxins throughout the physiology resulting in disease.
These five ways of cleansing a body are-
Abhyanga(Massage with herbs), Nasya(Nasal Medications), Vasti(Enema), Swedana(Fomentation), Vamana(Emesis), Virechana(Purgation).
You Should Suppress Some Urges and Some You Shouldn’t.
Urges are the changes in our body which can be suppressed with mental power. Some urges should be stopped while all urges should not be suppressed.
Urges like thirst, sleep should not be suppressed. Whereas we should suppress urges like anger, jealousy.
Urges to be suppressed
These are the urges that were mentioned in ancient Ayurveda books. Deeds: a desire for another woman, theft, violence, ill-treatment. Emotional/spiritual: Greed, grief, fear, anger, vanity, shamelessness, jealousy, excessive desire, malice. Speech: speaking bad words, speaking excessively, backbiting, lies, untimely words.
All these urges mentioned above we should suppress to lead a healthy life.
13 Natural Urges that should not be suppressed
Natural urges are the part of the body’s physiological functions. If we try to stop or suppress it may show various complications later. For example, urinary stone, urinary tract infection are common in persons who work in intense jobs and hardly gets time to go for pissing. For a long period daily they hold their urge to urinate which later on manifest as urinary tract diseases.
If you happen to suppress natural urges regularly, the disease may not manifest early. But years later, maybe five years or ten years later you may have to pay for it.
Occasionally we may need to suppress natural urges which we are talking here. These 13 natural urges are-
The urge of passing flatus, urge of passing feces, urge of urine, urge to sneeze, urge of thirst, urge to sleep, Coughing urge, urge to cry, urge to vomit, urge to yawn, urge to breathe heavily on extortion, urge to discharge seminal fluid.
Remember these Four Purusharthas.
These are the objectives of life. Without them, a life is not fruitful. Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha.
An individual can realize him or herself by balancing and fulfilling these four objectives. They are not independent or mutually exclusive of each other and should not be viewed in a stand-alone manner.
Exclusive pursuit of one Purushartha creates an imbalance in a person’s life and prevents the person from reaching the ultimate destination of their life. Take Artha, for example. If an individual seeks only wealth but lacks in righteousness, and the fulfillment of their duty, an emptiness and lack of full spiritual evolution will take hold.
Dharma(religious ceremonies), Artha(Wealth), Kama(Sexual desire), Moksha(Liberation)
These are just a small part of Ayurveda the science of life. There are many techniques and ways to remain healthy in this ancient science. The craze for Ayurveda is increasing day by day as people realize the importance of nature in keeping ourselves healthy. As an Ayurvedic Practitioner, I can assume that it may difficult to follow all these tactics all the time. But by changing your lifestyle and adopting natural ways to heal will make you healthy in long-term.