Health Basics of Ayurveda

Today, most people above the age of 35 years are suffering from at least one lifestyle disease. Digestive disorders, sleep problems, and stress are more common than a few decades back.

These primary disorders are the base of severe lifestyle diseases like hypothyroidism, diabetes, hypertension, etc. And this is because of the unhealthy dietary and lifestyle habits that we are following.

The Root of Lifestyle Disorders

We have severe defects in our daily routine that interferes with our healthy metabolism. They lower our immunity and makes us more susceptible to diseases and rapid aging.

Most of the people today have no fixed routine or time for eating. They skip their meals when they are hungry. On the other hand, they eat voluptuously when they are not hungry but have time to eat.

Similarly, most of us skip sleep in the night, the natural time to sleep according to the bio-rhythm of the body. Instead, they sleep till late. They miss the healthiest time of the day – Brahma muhurat and an opportunity to reset their metabolism.

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Flow with the Nature

However, if we review and re-tune our bodies to the natural biorhythm, we will ensure 100% prevention from all diseases and have a life full of vigor and vitality. Ayurvedic ritucharya (seasonal health regimen), dinacharya (daily health routine), and sadvritta (moral and social conduct) ensure a healthy body as well as mind.

Ayurveda defines the wrong food and lifestyle as the root cause of all diseases. The aim of Ayurveda underlines the importance of a healthy lifestyle. According to Acharya Charak the objective of Ayurveda is –


Preserve the health of the healthy |
Treat the ones who fall sick||

Compared to Ayurveda, modern preventive medicine depends mainly on health supplements. It is vague and lacks a precise and natural order of prevention. In fact, it has been only a few decades since modern medicine accepted the therapeutic importance of food or meditation.

Ayurveda is one of the oldest sciences to have an elaborate preventive system. Ayurveda defines the ideal food, cooking methods, and food habits. It defines daily lifestyle (Dinacharya), seasonal preventive lifestyle (Ritucharya), and overall prevention of all diseases by maintaining the homeostasis of the body in all kinds of external conditions (Sama Dosha).

Dinacharya

Dinacharya is the ideal daily routine, according to Ayurveda, that should be followed to maintain the health regularly. It constitutes the dos and don’ts for everything, right from brushing the teeth to ideal sleep habits. Dinacharya regimen of Ayurveda specifies even the wood(datun) that should be used for cleaning the teeth by the people of different body constitution or prakrati.

It underlines the importance of having an optimal amount of food at the right time and in the right way. It also mentions various other preventive measures like the use of Kajal (Kohl) for the daily prevention of eye diseases, the use of Ayurvedic nasal drops for the prevention of all the disorders in the head region. It stresses the benefits of the right exercise and sleeps patterns for everyone.

Our bodies are exposed to disease-causing factors every second. And therefore, we must actively prevent diseases 24X7. And Dinacharya makes this daunting task completely effortless! It provides a precise and comprehensive guide to complete health preservation. It is a complete code to prevent diseases daily.

Dinacharya also constitutes “Achar Rasayana,” a comprehensive guide to prevent all mental problems like stress, anxiety, etc. It is the ideal spiritual and social code of conduct that, if followed, can save us from various psychological and social problems.

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Ritucharya

Ritucharya is one of the most interesting Ayurvedic preventive systems. It is one of its kind as it deals with a preventive regimen for each season.

Seasons affect the body due to continuous changes in the external temperature and the environment. These seasonal changes disturb the physiological balance of the body and can cause severe disorders in the long run. Most of the problems in the body first reflect as seasonal disorders.

Ritucharya describes in detail the Ayurvedic concept of seasonal changes and their effects on body metabolism. It is the comprehensive ayurvedic preventive system that helps the body to adjust seamlessly to the changing external environment and prevent any metabolic disturbances.

Ritucharya constitutes the food habits, ideal food for each season, lifestyle changes to be incorporated with the seasonal changes, and so on. The most admirable aspect of Ritucharya is it’s a proactive approach. It makes the body immune to seasonal changes, instead of treating seasonal disorders!!!

Here are some interesting links related to ritucharya

Ritucharya

Effect of Ritu (seasons) on Dosha

Seasonal Ritucharya

Ritu Haritaki

Healthy Sleep Patterns for different seasons

Sexual Orientation During The Seasons

Asana for different seasons

Therefore, the one who will follow Ritucharya will never fall sick through the changing seasons and maintain a very high level of immunity. Ritucharya is the fountain of youth. The one who drinks from it will stay in the spring of health and youth always!!!

Unrestricted Metabolism


Ayurveda stresses the preservation of natural and unrestricted metabolism. It strictly prohibits artificial control of natural urges.

Animals live in an environment free from social bondage. And probably that’s why they stay free from diseases too. Esp. Wild animals do not have any access to medicines. Still, they usually remain healthy and live out their average lifespan, just because they do not exert unnatural control over their bodies.

However, humans lose a lot in the name of civilization and society. We tend to control our natural urges like thirst, hunger, urination, defecation, etc. very frequently. Due to social influence, we tend to control our natural urges forcefully and hinder the natural metabolic rhythm.

Ayurveda suggests that the body should be allowed the freedom of natural conduct. Most of us today have become insensitive to many of our natural urges like thirst, hunger. We might overlook thirst, hunger, or defecation if we are working or watching TV! This outrageous conduct daily impedes the brisk rate of metabolism and lowers immunity.

All classical Ayurvedic texts have a separate chapter elaborating on disorders resulting from unattended natural urges and their treatment. So, it’s a significant health issue.

Next time you are in an important meeting, don’t be sorry to sneeze or cough!

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Satvavjay


Satva means the mind, and the term satvavjay is the victory over the mind.

According to ancient Vedic wisdom, the body is nothing but a projection of the mind. If you are a “Matrix” fan, you would agree! And, therefore a sensitive, meditative, and balanced mind is the core of a healthy Ayurvedic lifestyle. It is a healthy mind that is unoccupied by external noise or clutter. A soul that listens to the body and let our social obligations, stress, fear, or anxiety take a back-seat, is the very foundation of perennial health.

Each set of human mind and body has its own dharma – swadharma. Hindus whisper “tvama vedosi” in the ears of a new-born child. It means – you are the infinite wisdom. You see, your soul, your body knows what’s best for you. And a meditative mind can help you to discover a distinct and utterly personalized approach to health. Therefore, connecting with the body through meditation is the ultimate cure to all worldly diseases.

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Jivem Shardah Shatam

The key of Ayurveda is balance! and with this key, Ayurvedic lifestyle can enable us to have a long, healthy, and fruitful life. Vedic Sutra “Jivem shardah shatam” means – let us live a hundred years(autumns). Ayurvedic preventive lifestyle, armed with healthy daily routine( Dinacharya), healthy seasonal routine (Ritucharya), ideal mental and social conduct ( Achar Rasayana), and other health habits, is the most comprehensive preventive system in the world.

Besides, these rules are simple and easy to follow. They can be readily observed by the sick and the healthy, the rich, and the poor alike. Ayurveda makes no distinction for imparting health to all. Let’s follow these age-old and time-tested tenets of Ayurveda and live a prosperous and healthful life.

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Ushapaan : Daily Ayurvedic Water Detox for beginners

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Ushapaan is a very interesting concept. Water, when consumed, does not stimulate the digestive process and most of the time it is not digested, it is only detoxified. Most of the detoxification happens in the liver after water absorption. Therefore, when we drink an extra amount of water (for example – more than 1 lit at a time), this water rapidly gushes through the intestines like a flush, without being held-up for digestion.  

Intestine is like a carpet with the fine brush like structures called villi. villi help to increase the surface area of the intestine. Villi are made from small folds in the intestine. In this way, intestine acts as stretchable jeans that where villi provide the required stretch whenever we overstuff over stomach with food. But the problem occurs when food is stuck in the middle of these villi. Let us take the example of the concealed drainage pipes in the plumbing system of a building. They never get cleaned and one can imagine the level of cleanliness that can be found in them!  

 Normally, continuous splashes of mucus try to maintain the cleanliness of the intestines. But with the current dietary habits of haphazard eating, it becomes extremely difficult for the body to maintain the desired level of internal hygiene. And this decay of food particles trapped in the intestines contribute to the toxins in the body, mentioned in Ayurveda as “ama”.  

 Water is the best purifier that cleans an object (fire is the ultimate purifier, which eliminates the object and reduces it to the basic structure, fit for reconstruction). We can use water to clean our intestines just the way we use to clean our kitchen sink. When we drink a large amount of water, it rushes through the intestines. This force of water helps to clean the food stuck and decaying in the intestinal folds. So, the first point is to drink a huge and comfortable amount of water in order to ensure a cleaning effect on the intestines.  

 Now, there is a lot of information around water cleansing and its method. Many people suggest that one should stand and drink water as the gravitational pull helps the water to move with greater momentum inside the Intestines and clears away the wanted material. However, Ayurveda strongly recommends that one should always drink or eat anything only in a sitting position. The hypothesis behind this suggests that when water enters the Intestines while the person is in standing position, the rapid gush of water or food can damage the soft internal lining or remove the protective mucosal layer in the Intestines. Besides, in the long term, it can result in many disorders like an abdominal pouch, hernia, etc. Therefore it is important to drink water in a sitting position only.  

Another important factor is the temperature of the water. But the temperature is a factor of the time of water consumption. On a sunny day, one can drink normal water. However, it is always advisable to drink Luke warm water, something compatible with the internal temperature of the body. Chilled water is an absolute no-no for water detox. Lukewarm water helps to dissolve excess mucus and remove the food stuck in it.  

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 Time of the water detox is the most important of all factors. The temperature, amount and the effect of water are entirely dependent on the time of consumption. Here we finally the concept of Ushapaan dawns on us. The term “Usha” means Dawn or the time of sunrise. The term “paan” means to drink. This Usha or dawn is the best time for water detox. The time before Ushakaal is said to be “Brahma muhurta”. The term “Brahma” refers to the creator. This is the time when all the dosha in the body is normally balanced. The slate of body’s metabolism is clean. According to Ayurveda, this is the best time to induce any changes, take medicines, meditate, etc. The water detox should be done before or just at the time of dawn. This water is better able to clean as there is no digestive process going on in the Intestines early in the morning. Ideally, ushakaal is 4–6 am in the morning. And this is the time for Ushapaan.    

 Besides, the best benefit is that Ushapaan ensures that intestines are clean early morning, ready to take new food challenge for the day. The new food does not mingle with the old decaying food particles. Ushapaan also ensures good quality hunger. Good hunger is the indication of a healthy metabolism.    

 Besides, Ushapaan with normal or cool water during the dawn stimulates the nerve endings in the intestines. This stimulation reaches the brain and it helps in an early adjustment of temperature, before the sunrise. Waking up in Brahmamuhurat also has a similar effect.    

  After sunrise, temperature regulation depends more on the water absorbed from the intestines. This process can dry and harden the fecal matter and cause constipation. Ushapaan also hydrates the body before the sunrise so that as the temperature regulation shifts towards the sweating mode after sunrise, there is no scarcity of water in the outer layers of the body. Because of enough moisture, there is no metabolic prompt to extract more and more moisture from the fecal matter. In fact, Ushapaan can remove the fecal matter before the sunrise. Thus there is no extra heat load on the body after sunrise.    

 Therefore Ushapaan is the second most important lifestyle factor that can prevent and cure all kinds of constipations. For first factor visit the next blog.    

 For chronic constipation, it is advisable to drink warm water. Chronic constipation occurs in all kinds of people. However, vata dominant prakrati people get such type of constipation more frequently. Besides, they have more tendency to form very hard stool.    

 These are some of the limited benefits of Ushapaan. However, in short, we can safely say that it positively touches the entire body. It provides fluid for the internal bath of the body. It is very important as Saint Kabir said – What is the use of external purification is there is no internal cleanliness?   

 Ushapaan was induced as a religious ceremony in Vedic Hindu community. This is the reason why it was preserved and followed for a long time, even by people who no longer understood its essence or health benefits. Now it is time for us to reinvent this ancient ceremony and practice it religiously!  

An advanced level of ushapaan is drinking the water through nose. I will elaborate more on it very soon.

 Hope this helps all in need!  

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