Ayurveda seems to have taken a back-seat in the hustle bustle of modern life, with material comforts becoming the norm while we ignore the various gifts that nature has to offer to us on an everyday basis.
Instead of being in harmony with nature, we have adopted artificial practices that disturb the equilibrium of mind and body. We can’t sleep, concentrate or relax. The imbalance in our lives manifests in addiction, disease and – eventually – an early death.
Living naturally in sync with the ayurvedic principles can do away with the requirement for expensive medical treatment or needless suffering from debilitating diseases. Here are 10 very simple tips to prepare you for the journey to good health.
Connect with nature: You need to spend more time outdoors, preferably in parks and gardens, and not be confined to the four walls of your house. The fresh air and green environs prepare one’s body and mind for everyday life and work by naturally recharging our cells.
Take a moment to breathe: The air we breathe gives us prana energy, and this energy goes down when we take short breaths. “Breathing exercises or pranayama, which are part of an ayurvedic lifestyle regimen, revitalise your body. Pranayama drives the energy of the air (prana) throughout your body, restoring it and preserving its vitality,” says Dr Partap Chauhan, director, Jiva Ayurveda, Delhi.
Get stronger with yoga: Simple yoga postures (hatha yoga) included in the ayurvedic lifestyle regimen make your body strong, supple and healthy. Your body becomes more agile and flexible, so you can do your best in all situations at work and in life.
Wake up before the sun: Most diseases today are lifestyle-related, which can be easily avoided by steering clear of the frequent lifestyle mistakes we make. “The simplest way to lead a healthy life is to follow the ayurvedic dincharya. This routine involves waking up two hours before sunrise, eating at the right time, sleeping on time, performing light exercises and practising yoga daily,” explains Dr Keshav, a senior ayurveda physician based out of Delhi.
Clean your sense organs: According to ayurveda, the gyaanendriya (sense organs) should be kept clean. But what is the correct way of doing this? “Every morning, wash your eyes well. Once in a while, you can use rose water or triphala-soaked water to wash your eyes. As the coating that forms on the tongue is a sign of ama, make sure you scrape it daily. Brush your teeth, gargle with lukewarm water and put a few drops of oil in each nostril every morning. This will clear your senses and prepare you for the day ahead,” explains Dr Keshav.
Eat healthy: Ayurveda says you may never need medicines if you eat healthy. The secret to eating healthy is to eat in accordance with your body type and have a sattvic diet. How should one do this? “It is easy. Choose seasonal fruits and vegetables for your diet; eat freshly prepared, easy to digest foods. Fast food slows you down, so you should avoid it,” says Dr Partap.
Be sattvic: To attain sattva (purity and positivity), avoiding non-vegetarian food items, onion and garlic is just not enough. “The things you read, the music you choose to listen to, the images and videos you watch – everything influences your gunas. If you watch and listen to sattvic information, your sattva guna will increase. Similarly, if you are surrounded by tamasic (darkness and negativity) things all day, your tamasic guna will increase. How you behave with people around you should also be sattvic,” says Dr Keshav.
Keep your digestion strong: According to Dr Partap, nutritious food gets converted to rasa which – in turn – becomes dhatus and then ojas (the purest essence of the dhatus form) thereby strengthening the immune system. However, in order to form ojas you need good metabolism and a strong digestive system.
Proper use of intelligence: Man has a rare gift of the intellect. Unfortunately, most of us don’t use it. “We know smoking is bad for the lungs, we know that fast food is not good, and we also know that missing out on breakfast is unhealthy. Yet we do all these things! We misuse our intellect, and this is known as pragyaparadh,” says Dr Keshav.
Balanced ahaar, nidra and brahmacharya: Balance in your ahaar (diet), nidra (sleep) and bhramacharya (sensory gratification) is very important. Sattvic food is good, but if you over-eat sattvic food, it will still cause indigestion or some other disease. The secret to health and happiness is choosing good things and maintaining the right balance.
You do not need to devote time specifically for the ayurvedic lifestyle regimen in your busy schedule. Start by integrating small and easy aspects, and it will soon become part of your daily life.