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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Varsha Ritucharya

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In this blog, we are going to discuss Varsha Ritu in detail.

The best translation of ritucharya is seasonal conditioning of the body as prevention against diseases and aging.

In India, we have well-defined six seasons. However, in many Western countries, they have four visibly distinct seasons – winter, autumn, summer, and spring. An elaborate rainy season(Varsha) or Shishir(late autumn) might be hard to witness.

However, seasonal changes occur due to the movement of the earth around the Sun and changes in the distance from the Sun. Lunar months keep on changing with respect to the solar calendar. However, solar months are stable. Therefore, we have a leap year to adjust the difference between the lunar and the solar calendar. I find solar months to be more reliable as a base for ritucharya. This concept can help people in the west to accommodate the food and lifestyle according to the changing seasons.

It is essential to note that the seasonal do’s and don’ts differ according to the land, climate, and culture. Below are some of the guidelines that can help everyone to formulate their ritucharya. In case you have any confusion, feel free to contact me anytime.

According to the Solar calendar, this year rainy season starts with Mithun Sankranti – 15th June 2019.

Ideally, the complete practice of Varsha ritucharya should start with Mithun Sankranti. Gradual changes can be induced one week before Mithun Sankranti.

Please find more information about dosha balance in Varsha Ritu here.

Dos and don’t of Varsha Ritu

Sattu dissolved in water
It is important to note that sattu can be used in many ways. However, Charak prohibits the use of Sattu dissolved in water particularly. Sattu made in the form of paratha, mixed with spices like garlic, is warming in nature. It does not cause excess cooling effect during the rainy season in the body.

Sleeping during the daytime siesta
If you sleep during the daytime in the rainy season, it might lead to an excess of kapha Dosha in the body. Since the body metabolism and digestion is retarded during the rainy season, excess kapha dosa can further slow it down and cause multiple disorders and aggravate existing diseases.

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Exposure to morning dew
Many people practice walking on the morning dew early in the morning. This practice is beneficial in the summer season but can be highly harmful in the rainy season. It can trigger cough, cold, and other kapha related disorders in the body.

Sleeping Outdoors
Many people practice sleeping outdoor during the summer season. However, sleeping under the open Sky even when there is no possibility of rain is an unhealthy habit during the rainy season. This practice leads to the high exposure of morning dew.

Besides, it is believed that sleeping under cloudy Sky can severely vitiate the vata dosha and lead to paralytic attacks. This belief is not scientifically proven. However, there are many instances of such paralytic attacks.

All these practices are opposite to health practices recommended in the summer. The transition from summer to the rainy season is the most significant transition of the year as the weather fluctuates drastically from dry and hot to wet and cold.

Swimming in rivers Swimming in rivers is strictly prohibited during the rainy season. This recommendation Works great as a health practice as well as a safety measure as the rivers might get flooded during the rainy season. As the rainwater joins the river, lots of impurities from the land can get dissolved in river water and can cause diseases; especially the skin disorders or digestive problems in case this contaminated water is swallowed during a swim.

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No sunbath
Sunbath is also not recommended during this season. Sunrays passing through the clouds are not considered safe in Ayurveda. Scientific evidence for this practice

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190530141443.htm

This study shows that the organs can independently react to exposure of light without interference or guidance by the central nervous system.
I have a hypothesis that Sunbath diverts body’s preparation for the rainy season when there will be no or minimum Sun exposure. Exposure to Sun activates the sweating mechanism, which is not very useful during the rainy season.

Minimum sexual activity
Excessive sexual activity is also prohibited during the rainy season. In the rainy season, overall body strength is below average. Sexual activity requires A lot of energy and produces an immediate feeling of exhaustion in the body. Therefore it is not supportable in the rainy season. Sexual activity during the rainy season risks severe vitiation of vata Dosha in the body. Zero sexual intercourse is an excellent option during the rainy season, especially for middle-aged and older people.

Use of Honey
The must-use substance in the rainy season is honey.

Honey is one of the elixirs of Ayurveda. Charak Samhita recommends the use of honey every day for good health.

Use of honey is especially recommended in the rainy season according to Charak Samhita
According to Charaka, honey causes vata vitiation. Cyclic water vitiation in the rainy season is a natural apart of natural annual biorhythm of the body.
However, Charak highly recommends the use of honey during the rainy season.

Honey is a natural kapha balancing substance. When kapha dosha blocks the natural Pathways of vata dosha, we experience pain in the body. Lack of Sunlight during the rainy season can aggravate kapha dosha. There is a possibility that the use of honey helps to dissolve the excess mucus and clear the vata channels in the body. This kapha elimination helps to alleviate several disorders like body pain, pain joint pain, headache, depression during the rainy season.

However, honey should be used in a limited quantity. Two to three teaspoon is the right amount for everyday use. Excess use of honey can cause severe indigestion.

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Time for pakora
Sometimes people feel body pain, joint pain, headache, etc. during the cold weather caused by excess rain. During this time you should use sour, salty and slightly oily food, for example, poha, upma, fermented food like Idli Dosa, paratha, fried savories like pakoda, mangoda, chilla et cetera.

Sour, salty, and oily food helps to balance the vata dosha. Sweet food is a little heavy to digest as compared to sour and salty food. Sour and salty food is naturally digestive in nature. Oily food helps to prevent the dryness caused by vata dosha.

However, it is crucial to consider the digestive capacity of the individual. Young people with healthy digestion can have fried food items like Pakoda, samosa, aloo Vada extra whereas older adults with weak digestion can have shallow fried food like paratha,cheela or slightly oily food like dosa et cetera.

Aged grains It is highly recommended to use aged grains of jowar, wheat, and rice, to protect the digestive fire during the rainy season. These aged grains are very easy to digest.

Non-vegetarian soups Acharya Charak recommends Non-vegetarian soups prepared from the meat of jangalya animals and birds (creatures found in the plains with moderate climate). These soups help to prevent vata vitiation in the body due to their heavy and oily nature.

No greens Use of green leafy vegetables is not recommended during the rainy season. All the green vegetables like spinach, methi, lal saag, etc. cause vata vitiation in the body. All the non-seasonal fruits and vegetables should never be used during the rainy season.

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Mangoes in varsha ritu

Mango is a gift of nature. It is a complete detox package for the summer season

However, according to a common folk belief, you should not consume mango after Devshayani Ekadashi.
Devshayani Ekadashi falls typically in June.

According to the traditional belief, mangoes that ripen after Devshayani Ekadashi are particularly acidic and harsh in nature. These mangoes can vitiate pitta and vata dosha in the body. They can also aggravate all kinds of digestive and skin problems.

According to my personal experience, the mangoes that come after Devshayani Ekadashi are peculiarly sour. There is no scientific evidence for this belief. Therefore we should experiment on a personal level.

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Beverages for varsha ritu Use of mahua based alcohol(for vata and kapha Prakriti people) and plain water (for pitta Prakriti people) mixed with honey, helps to accelerate the digestive process during the rainy season.

All kinds of alcohol stimulate the digestive system and produce more heat in the body — this excess heat help to compensate for the lack of Sunlight during the rainy season.

Charak recommends the use of boiled underground water during the rainy season.

Stay dry with herbal skincare You must avoid exposure to moisture in the rainy season as it can Trigger multiple skin disorders like fungal infection etc.

The rainy season has a very high level of humidity in the air which is ideal for incubation of pathogens, especially fungus. Charak Recommends that you should rub your body with a thick towel and apply medicated powders on your skin as prevention against pathogenic infestation highly prevalent during the rainy season. This health practice is especially applicable for people with excessively dry and malnourished skin.

In case of non-availability of Ayurvedic medicated powder, you can use powdered turmeric, sandalwood, aguru, etc.

You can you use medicated Herbs for Ubtan and bath as well.

The sequence of a sutra is important as it indicates the priority or importance of the recommended health practices. All the above health practices are in appropriate sequence as mentioned in Charak Samhita (Sutra Sthana-6/35) except the point mentioning green vegetables.

Hope this information helps all! Please feel free to comment or contact me for any doubts/queries.

Toxic Food According to Ayurveda

One famous Ayurvedic proverb states –
“The one who eats proper food does not need any medicine
The one who eats improper food will not benefit from any medicine”

According to Ayurveda, digestion is the key to strong immunity and healthy metabolism. When we eat improper food, it first affects the most important pillar of our health – our digestion.
Therefore good food is the basis of all health. Ayurveda states that food in its most natural form is the most nutritious, but food which is environmentally incompatible is toxic for the human body too. According to the above rule, the modern Ayurvedic standards for non-consumable food are defined as follows –

biotechnology bright chemical chemistry
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Non-Organic Food

Vedas state that the food and water available to all human beings should be the same. Today this statement is so relevant in terms of non-organic food. Non-organic grains and vegetables are grown with the help of a bulk of pesticides and insecticides. These food items are hardly suitable for consumption. They can cause a variety of health issues, including multiple types of cancers. Therefore the new mantra for the Ayurvedic life is the organic food.
Most of the people are unaware that some of the pesticides and insecticides are designed to disrupt the physiological functions of the insects/pests. For example, an insecticide called “Roundup” acts on the intestines of the insects and tear the internal linings of their intestines. The insect population soon dies and the crops are thus saved. However, imagine what will happen when such food is ingested by the human. When we eat food that is sprayed with such pesticides, it affects our intestines in a similar way it affects the pests. Now it is scientifically proven that these chemicals cause severe damage to the intestines. They can make the intestines leaky after regular use for a long term. When the undigested food material oozes out of the leaky intestines into the abdominal cavity, it can cause severe allergies. Interestingly, a few decades back very few people would be suffering from allergies but nowadays people can develop an allergy to almost anything, right from peanuts to pollen, thanks to the non-organic food.

5325814723_5e935906c4_b (1)

Genetically Modified Food

The newest and the most overlooked health threat is the Genetically modified food. This is a more serious threat than the use of pesticides and insecticides. In case of genetically modified food, the genes of one organism are planted in the DNA of another organism, for example, genes of fish are planted in the DNA of rice so that the genetically modified rice crops will not rot in the case of floods. But this is good only for the farmers and more so for the seed manufacturing companies. It is neither good for the consumers or for the environment.

The Myth of GM Food

For a long time, it was propagated that genetically modified food is crucial to bring an end to the food security in the poor populations of the world. Therefore for decades, there was no open opposition against GM food, but Gm food does not solve any problem of the world. In fact it has added many severe problems that are more complicated than the food crises. What good is the food but that causes diseases when consumed?
The body has the natural potential to determine foreign objects and expel or kill them. Genetically modified food is not natural in its constitution. When it is consumed, the body fails to identify it as a nutritional substance. Genetically modified food is different in constitution than its natural counterpart. For example, if you see a person who has 3 eyes and 2 noses, you would definitely be scared and would run for protection. The body produces a similar response when it sees an unidentifiable object, which is basically a genetically modified food item. The body tends to attack the GM food and get it out of the body, instead of trying to absorb nutrition from it. Just imagine what will be the state of your health if your body is trying to kill your food!

The list of diseases that genetically modified food can produce is very long. The health problems caused by genetically modified food are –

  • Cancer
  • Allergies
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Intestinal Infections
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Auto-immune disorders (Rheumatoid Arthritis, type 1 diabetes, autoimmune hepatitis, scleroderma, celiac disease and many more)
  • Inflammatory disorders (asthma, peptic ulcers, tuberculosis, sinusitis, Crohn’s disease etc.)
  • Dementia
  • Autism
  • Developmental delay

For more information, please visit the link – Genetically Modified Food – The New Poison

2000px-Dharma_Wheel.svg.pngUnhealthy Karma

According to Ayurveda, the source of the food is very important. If the source of food is corrupt and evil, the food will bring the consequences in terms of karma. Because of this reason, in earlier times people refrained from eating in the house of anyone who is evil and corrupt.

In case of genetically modified, non-organic food, the farmers who buy the genetically modified seeds are forced to buy them again and again because genetically modified crops fail to produce seeds with similar qualities, as their parents. These genetically modified seeds not only require more fertilizers and other chemicals, they also consume more water than the natural seeds. Thus after a few years, the fields under farming for genetically modified food become infertile and the region faces the drought problem. Therefore we must stay reminded that if we are buying non-organic food, we are contributing to the problems of large-scale farmer suicide in our country.
It is important that all ardent supporters of Ayurveda should say no to non-organic and genetically modified for the sake of their health as well as for nature. What is Evil, is evil for all. It does not bring good to anyone. Let’s save ourselves and our environment from the evil GM food, generated out the greed of few people.

red green and orange leaves
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Non Seasonal Food

Today we find almost all vegetables and fruits in almost all the seasons; we find greens around the year, which were naturally available only in winter. However, according to Ayurveda, this is a completely unhealthy trend. Ayurveda strictly prohibits one from consuming non-seasonal food. Non-seasonal food is considered to be unnatural and devoid of its original nutritional value. But unfortunately, because of the use of chemicals and genetical modification, many original and naturally occurring species of edible plants have become extinct. What we eat today might not exactly be food, it is “FOOD LIKE SUBSTANCE”.
Let us take the example of green leafy vegetables. Greens, unlike general knowledge, are hard to digest and cause a lot of digestive problems if not digested properly. The greens are naturally produced in winter, and winter is the season when the digestion is at its best. Therefore, the greens are full of their best nutritional qualities and also, the body is able to extract the best nutrition from them. Thus the perfect match of digestive power and nourishment is naturally achieved. On the other hand, digestive power if the weakest in the rainy season and thus not many food options are available in terms of vegetables and also fruits which can be consumed raw.  Watermelons are naturally produced in summer and help to prevent dehydration. Coconuts grow in hot and humid weather and are cool in temperament. Nature has a perfect match for all our nutritional requirements. Therefore, let’s follow nature for a perfect health.

assorted food
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Global Food

According to Ayurveda, locally grown fruits, vegetables, and grains are best suitable for the native people. For example, Kesar (saffron) is a spice that is abundantly found in the cold regions of Kashmir. Kesar is a hot temperament herb according to Ayurveda and is naturally good for the local people. Dates are naturally found in the desert area and they are sweet and provide instant energy to the local people, where other kinds of vegetation might be scare. Therefore, according to the law of nature, everything grows naturally in the place where it is most required. Ssomething that is grown in a different climate than that of the place where you live, is not naturally compatible with your health. Therefore, if you do not have the money to buy exotic vegetables like zucchini or squash in India, or Quinoa in the USA, or Basmati rice in Canada’ consider yourself lucky! Local food is the best for you.

chips crisp crispy crunchy
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Packaged/Junk Food

The packaged food contains dried vegetables, preservatives, acidity regulators, stabilizers, and a host of other chemicals apart from the real food substance. Packaged fast food also contains a lot of excess fat, sugar, and unwanted chemicals.

If we can avoid all of the above food items, then there is a huge possibility of our staying alive and active for a minimum of 100 years. Besides, we will save a lot of pollution caused by unnecessary transportation.


Jivem Shardah Shatam!
(May we live a 100 years)

Good Food and Bad Food According to Ayurveda – Food that should be consumed rarely I

The ayurvedic hypothesis is that the food items listed above diminish digestive fire and release more toxins than nutrients during their digestion. The only person with extremely good digestion power is able to absorb proper nutrition from them. Let us assume that consuming the above-listed food is like putting damp wood in the fire, which takes a long time to get burnt, produces a lot of smoke while burning and still might not get burnt properly. Only a very strong fire can burn the damp logs. A weak fire will get extinguished by them.

Food that should be used rarely

  1. Food cooked in a mixture of milk and curd/yogurt etc.

  2. Cheese

  3. Pork (Red meat)

  4. Beef (Red meat)

  5. Fish

  6. Curd

  7. Buffalo meat (Red meat)

  8. Urad Dal ( Black gram)

  9. Sorghum(Jowar)

Also, it is important to note that according to Sutra rule, the foods listed above are more harmful than the foods listed below. That means a mixture of milk and curd is the most dangerous in the entire list, worse than even beef and pork.

healthy drink glass milk
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Milk and Curd (yogurt) Mixture

According to Ayurveda, milk and curd are different in the constitution and so is their digestion process. Milk is sheeta virya (cool temperament) and curd is ushna virya (hot in nature). Milk is an almost neutral emulsion and curd is acidic.

Let us imagine the cooking (digestion) of rice in two different forms. If we cook completely raw rice, mixed with already cooked rice then the cooked rice will get overcooked and lose its nutrition. If we focus on the cooked rice, the raw rice will not get cooked properly and will not be absorbed if consumed.

When something does not get properly absorbed in the body, it starts to putrefy and produce contaminants. Thus, digestion of milk and curd together produces incompatible substances, which might not be easily absorbed, thus producing more toxins.

This mixture should not be consumed at all. If consumed, it should not be more than once a month for a young and healthy person.

Cottage cheese

Cheese

Cheese is made from adding acid(for example – lemon) to the milk.

According to Ayurveda, Cheese (Sanskrit – Kilat, Hindi – Paneer) is a good food for people suffering from insomnia (with good digestion). Cheese is heavy to digest but nutritious. It promotes semen and muscle formation and balances the vata dosha.

According to Charak, colostrum, cottage cheese water, or cottage cheese is for the people who have EXCELLENT digestion. There are very few people who can claim that today. Therefore, you should think twice before you consume cheese.  Besides, even if you have a great digestion, cottage cheese should not be consumed every day.

Consumption of other types of cheese that are aged is better than eating cottage cheese. But even the aged cheese (like Cheddar, Mozzarella. Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan) Pecorino etc.) should not be consumed in heavy quantity (example: pizza, cheeseburger etc.)every day. No wonder, the cheese was rarely used in earlier days. Now-a-day, in any party or celebration I can find cottage cheese in almost half of the menu. Such food is the cause of our low immunity towards all diseases.

Ideally, you should consume cottage cheese only once or twice in a month if you are young and healthy.

asparagus barbecue cuisine delicious

Red Meat

Consumption of beef is highly restricted in Ayurveda. It is important to note that beef is mentioned to be used only in specific diseases like the vataj disease, chronic coryza, recurrent fever, dry cough, weakness, excessive digestive juices in the body or certain muscular disorders (Charak Samhita – S.S-17/19). However, the word “only” is very important here. It should be used “only” in the above diseases.

Pork is considered “guru” or hard to digest. This single quality should make it a fairly undesirable food for most of the population. It is not dry in nature like the Urad dal, but if we have to compare the 2, pork will be at least a 100 times harder than Urad dal to digest! Again, it is can be used in certain diseased conditions but definitely not every day.

Buffalo meat is again Guru or very hard to digest. Besides, it causes excessive sleep and obesity. Similar to beef and pork, it has many good qualities. It is unctuous, hot temperament and gives strength and stability to the body. It endows enthusiasm to the mind. But because it is hard to digest, it should be consumed only once in a while.

These foods are like medicine, they help when consumed in some specific conditions and kill when consumed every day. Consider antibiotics, they are good, but you cannot eat them every day!  According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a part of the World Health Organization, red meat like beef and pork might have a carcinogenic effect on humans, with possible risks for colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, Gastric cancer, and prostate cancer.

You should consume any kind of red meat once or twice in a month if you are young and healthy. Also, you should refrain from red meat during the rainy season. Red meat soup with few meat pieces is the best preparation that is the easiest to digest in all seasons.

Digestion is the door to health or disease

According to Ayurveda, digestion is the key to health as well as disease. Digestion is the main route through which the nutrition can enter the body. It is like the assembly line which processes the raw material to the finished product. But if the raw material has defects, it will not only produce an imperfect end product but also derail the normal functioning of the assembly line.

Heavy food is like an impure raw material that requires more resources and time to produce the same end product – energy and nutrition. This naturally makes the heavy food a low-profit bargain for the body. You should not stay in a low margin business if you have to thrive. In fact, it has more possibilities to be a loss-making transaction for the body (toxins from undigested food).  Therefore, we should make sure that only the most profitable food goes into our mouths.

This is a hypothesis according to Ayurveda and more research is invited to verify the truth.

Please find the details on curd, fish, urad dal and sorghum in the next blog.

Good Food and Bad Food According to Ayurveda – I : Food that should not be consumed

Keeping in mind that food cannot be cooked separately for all persons in a house, Acharya Charak describes the food quality that should be taken regularly for all seasons and all prakrati, along with food that should be used very rarely by all prakrati individuals. However, it is particularly important to refrain from the bad food even if you have to stay hungry, as it is said that one should not eat poison even if he has nothing left to eat!

chili lot
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Food that should not be eaten regularly (occasionally, once or twice a year or for the medicinal purpose)

  • Dried Meat
  • Dried Vegetables
  • Lotus roots
  • Non-vegetarian diet for the weak

Dried Meat and Vegetables

It is very convenient and sometimes cheap to store dried meat or vegetables for easy use later. Many times people store dried vegetables to be used during the offseason. Dried or dehydrated meat/vegetables are now being frequently used in “Ready to cook” food. But such products should not be used every day.

The food should be consumed in its fresh or natural form as much as possible. According to my personal hypothesis, food that is naturally juicy, like most of the meat and vegetables, when consumed in dried form,  tends to absorb extra water from the intestines for getting into its original digestible form. It might swell in the intestines. If the adequate amount of moisture is not available, it might not be digested properly. Such food might create toxins due to incomplete digestion.

Dried Vegetables

Most of the vegetables that grow above the ground like cabbage, cauliflower, brinjal, beans, peas, bottle gourds,  etc. are dry in nature and they cause Vata imbalance(dryness in the body) when consumed without hot spices/oil etc. Also, most of the green leafy vegetables are heavy, dry and have a tendency to cause bloating (esp during the rains) if not cooked along with proper spices. When these vegetables are used in the dried form, the dryness produced in the body is multifold. Besides, it can seriously derail the digestive system. This is true for almost all the vegetables.

Therefore, if you have the option of using dried red chilies for the fresh green ones, please choose the fresh green chillis. Dried methi leaves, normally used as a flavor enhancing agent in Indian cooking, also should be used once in a while.

close up cooking cuisine delicious
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Meat, esp pork is supposed to be extremely heavy in nature and can cause severe digestive problems (Vata derangement) if consumed in the dried form. Beef is recommended only in diseased conditions, not otherwise. Most of the meat is heavy to digest. Dehydrated meat is harder to digest and can cause severe Vata vitiation in the body.

It is said that such food takes a long time to get digested and after digestion does not fuel the digestive fire, instead leaves it weakened. Therefore such food is classified as Dhatupradushak or contaminator of the metabolism/tissue systems. In order to understand this concept, let us take the example of throwing sand on the fire. The sand does not get burnt but brings down the intensity of the fire. It might even extinguish a weak fire!

Ideally, we should stop using the packaged ready to cook masalas which contain dried vegetables like onion, garlic, or dried chicken pieces.

dosakaya-pickle-recipe.jpgInstead, meat or vegetables stored in pickled form are oiled, tender and better option for easy cooking than the dried ones.

However, dried meat and vegetables, even when used rarely, should be cooked in water/moisture/oil in order to make them soft and easily digestible. They should be served hot in order to stimulate the digestion. Digestive herbs like ginger, black pepper, asafoetida, cumin etc. should be used to make them easy to digest and absorb.

ginger-1191945_960_720That reminds me about dried ginger powder! There are some exceptions to everything. Dried root vegetables like potato chips can be kept for long duration and consumed after frying. The use of water or oil for proper cooking is indispensable. Still, a fresh potato is a 1000 times better than the dried potato. The dried ginger powder is an Ayurvedic medicine, easy to digest and produces heat in the body and therefore is not a bad food choice. Pumpkin in dried form is not damaging to health, therefore Vadi(a dried Indian curry material) made by sun-drying the chunks of pumpkin paste and spices, are not harmful.

Also, this concept is not applicable to the medicinal herbs(aushadhi) like Ashwagandha to coriander seeds. They can be stored in the dried powdered form of at least one year. However, their other preparations like jam (chavanprash), tablets, alcohols are more useful and have a longer shelf life.

Dried meat and vegetables are not great everyday food, but they might be used for medicinal purposes, as according to Ayurveda, everything in the universe can be used as a medicine. For example, dried radish soup is used to relieve severe bronchitis.

Considering all the health dimensions of dried vegetables and meat, it is best to avoid most of the dried vegetables and meat, unless prescribed by a trained physician.

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Lotus Roots

Lotus roots are considered to be very heavy and not digestible in the human system. Therefore they should not be consumed at all.

chicken close up dish food
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Non-vegetarian diet for the weak

Normally a person who is weak and thin is advised to consume a non-vegetarian diet, as according to Ayurveda also, flesh is the best diet to increase flesh. However, a weak person with a bad digestion should never consume non-vegetarian diet, as it can seriously hamper his digestion capacity. Ideally, according to the Ayurvedic procedure of weight gain, a very weak person should improve his digestion and health primarily on a vegetarian diet and digestive medicines. After that, he should gradually move to a non-vegetarian diet. A non-vegetarian diet for a weak person with retarded digestion is like a college assignment for a school kid. The chances of successful completion are almost nil. Besides, such a diet will cause further retardation of the already weak digestion.

The central idea of the above guidelines is to preserve the digestion. Digestion is the fuels the life-force in the body and anything that hampers digestion should be avoided at all cost.

 

Know thy food – Basic Ayurvedic Classification of Food

According to Ayurveda, the one who eats healthy food will never need any medicine; and the one who eats unhealthy food will never benefit from any medicine. Therefore it is important to know thy food!

According to Ayurveda, every edible substance on earth has 3 properties –

Doshashamak (Pacifier of Dosha)- It balances the dosha (physiological systems of the body). Herbs like turmeric, ginger, black pepper can be classified as Doshashamak. Turmeric balances Kapha and Pitta, ginger and black pepper balances Vata and Kapha.

assorted spices near white ceramic bowls
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Dhatupradushak( Contaminator of Dhatu)- It contaminates the vital tissue systems. Ayurveda believes that the diseases can occur only when there is a suitable environment for their incubation inside the body system. A contaminated dhatu is the ignorant king who unsuspectingly allows the trojan horse of diseases inside the body. It is like the traitor of Sparta who gave away the strategic secrets and led to the defeat of his kingdom. Therefore, all diseases have roots inside the body and these roots are formed by the Dhatupradushak food and lifestyle habits we practice.

Onion can be considered as an example of Dhatupradushak, as it is Guru (heavy to digest). Anything that is heavy to digest is taxing for the digestive system to absorb. It has a hot temperament and helps to balance Vata. However, it is heavy, sweet in taste, and unctuous. Therefore, onion has a tendency to vitiate Kapha Dosha. Onion is also sharp in action and has bitter as its secondary taste. Therefore, it can vitiate pitta dosha by disturbing the physiological processes.

red brown white and purple onions and garlic displayed
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Swasthyahitkarak(Beneficial for Health) – It is the substance that is indisputably good for health. It is important to note that all Ayurvedic guidelines should be considered in a context. Sutra is the system that provides a comprehensive context for all rules. Ghee, Honey, rice, moong dal are some of the swasthyahitkarak foods, that cause almost no harm to the body in the widest range of situations.

spoon honey jar glass
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Now, there is no physical substance that when taken in any quantity, any time and in any manner will be incontestably good for health. For example, rice is considered good for health and according to Ayurveda, one should have it every day. But uncooked rice is disastrous if consumed, an excessive amount of cooked rice is not good, polished rice is unhealthy etc. Therefore, there is a context where a substance is doshashamak, dhatupradoshak or Swasthyahitkarak. This is the broad view.

Now for practical purposes, how can we classify day to day objects in these 3 categories? Well, we can do that in the same way as we classify the solid, liquid and gas. Everything that exists on this earth can acquire any of the 3 states of physical existence, in specific conditions. For example, oxygen is a gas in normal circumstances. However, it can be transformed to liquid when compressed, or even solid. But still, for all practical purposes, it is classified as a gas, because that is its natural form of existence. In the same way, even arsenic can be good for the body. It is actually used in many of the Rasa Shastra medicines. But, for all practical purposes, it is classified as a toxin. Because it has a natural toxic effect on the body. Similarly, haritaki (Terminelia chebula) is extolled to be as benevolent as a mother towards the stomach but it is not supposed to be consumed more than a specific period of time. Still, for all practical purposes, it is a swasthyahitkarak herb.

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Besides, it is important to note that each human body is different. What is good for one person might not be good for the other. For example, eating curd might be good for a person with good digestion, but buttermilk is better for a person with weak digestion. But this classification is still applicable for everyone. For example, as swasthyahitkarak substance, Ghee is invariably good for all humans, (pure and natural) milk is nourishing for all children. Similarly, too much acid like vinegar is dhatupradushak for all people. And Amla is pitta doshashamak for everyone.

Therefore, irrespective of the body type, this classification is the basis on which we can choose the food that we should eat or the food that we should avoid, in general.

  • Swasthyahitkarak food items should be consumed every day.
  • Doshashamak food items should be consumed according to requirement.
  • Dhatupradushak food items should be consumed rarely or not at all.

If we follow these plain and simple rules of eating, we will never fall sick.

The most interesting thing about substance(dravya) as described in Ayurveda is Kal (time), Disha(dimension), Mana(mind) and Atma (soul) are classified as substances. Therefore the above 3 classifications are applicable to the lifestyle and the thought process also.

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How to use Ayurvedic Health Supplements!

General Usage Guidelines for Ayurvedic Health Supplements

Ayurvedic Health Supplements like Chyavanprash, Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Gokshura etc. are fast catching on public awareness. However, in order to get the fullest benefit from them, it is important to consider some Ayurvedic parameters and factors that affect their performance.

If you are new to the use of Ayurvedic health supplements, you should reflect upon the following questions and make an informed choice –

How is your digestion?

What is your purpose for taking herbal supplements?

What is your Prakriti? You can check it online. If you are not able to find a good site, try ritucharya.com

Prakriti : Code of Body Physiology

Importance of Digestive Capacity

Efficacy of Ayurvedic medicine is not generalized. It is dependent on the age, digestive capacity and requirements. Therefore it is important to know how strong is your digestion? because if the medicine is not digested, it will not be absorbed by the body. The high undigested doses will produce more toxins than benefits. It is like giving a library of books to an illiterate person. He will be able to get no benefit from the huge number of books.

If your digestion is strong, you don’t get bloating, flatulence, indigestion, acidity etc frequently, then you can start with a good dose of herbal preparations. With a healthy digestion, you will be able to properly digest and absorb the nutrition available in the medicine. In perspective of the above example, in this case, you are literate and will be able to enhance your wisdom by digesting the knowledge from the books.

However, if your digestion is not great and you face the above-mentioned problems with digestion, the first step should be to enhance the digestion process.

In order to improve your digestion, visit

Ayurvedic Lifestyle for Excellent Digestion

Asana According to Seasonal Ritucharya

Healthy Sleep Patterns During The Seasons

Qualities of an Ideal Meal

Types of Ayurvedic Preparation

There are two kinds of preparations available in the market: Classical Ayurvedic preparations and herbal medicines derived from Ayurvedic text.

Genetically modified herbs

Because of huge popularity and demand of some Ayurvedic herbs like turmeric, ashwagandha, shatavari etc, these herbs are being genetically modified to produce more of their active ingredients, for example high percentage of curcumin in turmeric, or high level of withanolides in ashwagandha. However, these herbs are completely unnatural and cannot be expected to bring the benefits of original ashwagandha.

All the genetically modified products are capable of surviving incompatible environmental conditions. However, according to Ayurveda any herbs that grows in uncompatible season, soil or conditions does not contain the natural properties and can even have a poisonous effect on the body.

Therefore, please do not use turmeric with high curcumin levels in the name of Ayurveda. Ayurveda does not approve of genetically modified products.

Use of digestives

The major benefit of classical Ayurvedic health supplements like Chavanprash, paka preparations is that they contain a good amount of digestives(clove, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaf, clove, salt, and multiple other spices) in the preparations themselves. These ingredients help in easy digestion and assimilation of the nutrition. Apart from the stated benefit, these ingredients add multiple other qualities to the health supplement. For example, the ideal Chavanprash preparation contains 64 ingredients. And therefore Chavanprash helps in multiple physiological dimensions. It is anti-aging, improves stamina and immunity, is great for eyes, skin, liver; helps in blood purification, improves appetite, sleep quality, digestion and overall metabolism. Therefore if you are using some classical preparation like this in a dosage appropriate to your digestion, it will be properly digested and absorbed.

However, if you are using herbs in the form of extracts, capsules, or powdered form, which are normally single ingredient formulations and do not contain any kind of digestives, you really need to have a good digestive power to gain the maximum benefit from the herbs. Otherwise, there is a probability of indigestion, flatulence or other problems. Inappropriate consumption of herbal preparations might cause health distortion instead of health benefits.

Type of preparation

Many so-called Ayurvedic products use gelatin capsules, preservatives, colouring and flavouring agents. But these formulations decrease the best effects of the herbs.

Let us take the example of turmeric. Today we have raw turmeric capsules available in the market in the name of Ayurveda. But according to Ayurveda, raw turmeric is very difficult

Types of Foods Preparations

Dosage

The dosage of the Ayurvedic Health Supplements is also dependent on factors like digestion, age, health requirements of the body or medicinal purpose.

Tapering dosage is always recommended in Ayurveda, which means that you start with half of the final dose and gradually reach the full dosage so that there is no toxin formation in the introductory phase of the medicine.

Tapering dosage allows the body to assess and decide to accept or reject the medicine. It also helps to prevent allergies at an early stage.  Tapering dosage is like a proper introduction of a stranger before he enters the house. It is like taking the consent of the owner (our body). If a stranger suddenly enters the house, even with good intentions, the owner might feel attacked. There can be mild or severe reactions by the body when a high dose of a medicine is suddenly consumed, unless in extreme conditions.

Tapering dosage is applicable in stopping the medication as well. If the medicine is consumed for a reasonably long period of time, the body might become dependent on it. Imagine suddenly shaking away a hand that is placed on your shoulder! According to Ayurveda, a medicine or a health supplements should not be stopped suddenly, unless urgently required. Similar to the tapering introduction of the medicine, there should be a gradual and phased reduction in the dosage of the medicine. This helps the body to adjust to the new condition.

For example, if your optimal dosage of Chavanprash is 2 tsp, you should start the medicine with 1 tsp and increase it to 2 tsp after a week or so. Similarly, if you are stopping the intake of Chavanprash, you should decrease the original dosage to 1 tsp and stop the health supplement completely after a week. This duration and incremental dosage differ from person to person. It is good to consult a physician in case of any medicines containing heavy metals or minerals.

Tapering dosage, increasing or decreasing, is an important factor in preserving the homeostasis of the body.

Timing

Timing is another extremely important factor according to Ayurveda. Timing helps the medicine to reach the focused organ or metabolic system we want to improve.

The timing of a medicine can be divided into mainly 2 parts – seasonal and daily timing.

Seasonal Timing

According to Ayurveda, the seasonal cycle and biorhythm of our body, both are synchronized to the sun. Dosha, one of the important physiological factors in Ayurveda are severely affected by the changing seasons and so is our body. Ayurveda has a specific seasonal health regimen to prevent the effects of seasonal changes on the body. This regimen is called Ritucharya. There are many health supplements that are designed specifically to preserve the homeostasis of the body in different seasons. Each season has its own range of health supplements based on the Prakriti and requirements of the individual. For example, Chavanprash, paka and alcoholic preparations are best suited for winters, Amrakalpa(Summer Rejuvenation Therapy: Amrakalpa) is a fruit-based detoxification therapy best suited for summers. Use of season based health supplements is more effective as compared to using same health supplements throughout the year because the requirements of the body keep on changing according to the change in the climatic conditions. Therefore Ayurveda recommends differential health supplement therapy for a perfect balance between the external and internal body environment.

One of the best examples of seasonal health supplements is Ritu Haritaki

Introduction to Ritucharya

Effect of Ritu (seasons) on Dosha

Brief Ritucharya for 6 seasons

Daily Timing

After the seasonal health supplements are decided, daily timing of intake is the most important thing. Daily timing of the medicine is decided according to the theory of Vata subtypes. For easy understanding, the recommendations of this theory regarding the time of medicine intake are explained in brief below.

Focused Body PartTiming of Health Supplement
For organs in and below the pelvic regionBefore breakfast (lunch in case breakfast is missed)
For organs involved in digestionmiddle of the meal
For general effect on entire bodyAfter breakfast/ Lunch
For medicinal effect on throat region(speech-related organs – vocal cords, related muscles etc), heart, esophagusBefore dinner
For respiratory problemsbefore bed

Many factors are stated above, that should be considered regarding health supplements or medicine intake. Sometimes, it is not possible to incorporate all the factors at the same time. If you are not able to factor all the requirements at the same time, you can consider the factors in following hierarchy –

  1. Digestion improvement
  2. Decide on best formulation
  3. Dosage Tapering
  4. Timing

For example, first, improve your digestion with healthy dietary and lifestyle habits. Take a preparation that you will be able to digest in the best manner. Gradually increase the dosage. If you are not able to follow the proper timing for the medicine, then also the medicine will benefit you if the other primary factors are integrated properly

Every human body reacts differently to the same medicines. It is important to be aware of the physiological changes that you feel after the start of health supplement consumption. The awareness will help early identification of any kind of positive or negative changes in the body. Immediately contact your medical advisor if you notice signs of a possible allergy.

With some experience and practice, you will be able to decide the best possible formulation, dosage, and timing for your Ayurvedic health supplements. However, it helps to consult any experienced Ayurvedic physician if you are confused or using Ayurvedic health supplements for the first time.

Best Wishes!

5 Essential Yoga Poses for Rainy Season

Vata Dosha is vitiated in Rainy season. Imagine a heated pan suddenly sprinkled with water! A lot of vapor will be formed. Also, the metal continuously exposed to sudden drastic changes in temperature will erode at a faster rate (faster aging). Same phenomenon happens to our body, only in a more complicated physiological manner. Imagine that you are driving your car on a angular mountain road. If you are driving your car at a speed of 100 km, there is very low possibility that you will be able to suddenly change the direction at a sharp turn, without skidding . The momentum of the car prevents sudden change in direction. Body metabolism also has its momentum. It is in cooling mode during Summer. Suddenly it is ordered to change its functioning because of sudden temperature drop due to rains. The intertia of momentum is the vitiation of Vata Dosha. It causes confusion in the body and thus the diseases.

For details please visit following links :

Vata Dosha

Dosha in Rainy season

Sandhikal

However gradual cooling of the pan instead, will avoid the effervescence as well as the damage. Similarly a gradual food and lifestyle change is required to prevent damage to the body from seasonal changes. The Ayurvedic preventive system for seasonal change is called Ritucharya. In order to prevent skidding into diseases due to seasonal change, one must use the brakes of Ritucharya

Ritucharya

 

Exercise Routine : Important Factor of Lifestyle Change in Varsha Ritucharya.

 

5 Best Asanas for Rainy Season

These are poses which help in pacifying the Vata Dosha which is supposed to be vitiated during the rainy season.

 

Precautions for Varsha Ritucharya Exercise Regime

Avoid rigorous exercises and opt for light and easy exercises.

Do not exercise till you start feeling tired.

Prefer to avoid excessive exercise that might make you sweat profusely.

Keep yourself properly hydrated.

 

Benefits

Yoga is a good option as it is not a sweat inducing exercise.

Lack of sunshine due to clouds might induce SAD related depression ( Seasonal Affective Disorder) in susceptible individuals. Yoga generates a feeling of peace and contentment.

All 5 asanas strengthen abdominal muscles, improve digestion, help to relieve gas and constipation.

With above Ritucharya tips, keep healthy and happy in this rainy season and …

Enjoy the rains!

 

 

 

Dosha

Dosha is something which has tendency to malaise or spoil. It can be understood as a factor of catabolism (breaking down process in the body)

Also Dosha is a concept in itself.

According to Ayurveda, there are 3 kinds of Dosha or body temperaments – Vata, Pitta and Khapha.

It is said that as life resides in heart but no one can see it, similarly these temperaments guide the body physiology but no one can see them. In short, they are the 3 basic and distinguishable behaviour or metabolism patterns of the body.

Nature of Dosha

Let us understand this concept through an example of a wooden stick, which can endure pressure, force or weight up to a certain level. It has a yielding point after it will not be able to support the kinetic energy and will break. Similarly it will have a point of heat after which it will start burning. Same is with inertia. It will have a certain amount of inertia according to its weight, size etc. that gives the stability and opposes changes in its state of existence.

Same is with our body, in a more dynamic sense. Our body can hold certain amount of total kinetic energy, with specific channels of flow or function. This amount or holding capacity differs from person to person, just as volume differs from container to container. It also has different but definite capacities for heat and inertia.

The basis of Prakruti or natural body constitution lies in the different capacities of the individuals. Let us assume that the total energy (of all types) is 6X.One body will have capacity to hold 3X of kinetic energy, 2X of heat energy and X of inertia. This body will be of vata dominant prakruti, or VPK prakruti. Similarly if a body has capacity to hold more of heat energy – 3X, it will be Pitta dominant body.

VATA – It is the concept of kinetic energy in the body. All motion inside body or by the body is because of Vata. Vata is said to be made of Vayu (motion element) and Akash (space element).

PITTA – It is the concept of transformation energy, any chemical reactions, heat generation is considered to be under Pitta. It is made of fire (Heat element)

KAPHA – It is closer to the concept of inertia, mass, stability in the body. It is made of Jal (water element) and Prithvi (mass)

There is no single dosha at work at any point in time. One dosha might dominate or direct one process, but all 3 dosha contribute to it. There is natural tendency of Dosha or physiological patterns to spoil the body by either excess or deficiency of motion, transformation or inertia. When out of control, these become the negative forces in the body. They are balanced by Dhatu and Ooja (life force). Any imbalance tilting towards Dosha causes diseases.

Each of these behaviour pattern or syndrome has 3 aspects – Normal physiology, Excess and Deficiency.

 

Role of Dosha

Dosha are like different maintenance programs for different situations. They support a specific type of metabolism, have a set time and place of function and aim to produce specific results.

During any activity, entire body comes together and every part of the body contributes to produce a single result. Some parts contribute more, some contribute less. But there is no single isolated activity happening in the body at any point in time. Everything is connected. The organs of the body synchronize their activities under single command. It must be difficult for brain to communicate to each cell. The body parts communicate through their secretions or electric signals. But Dosha is like a pre-programmed code, triggering chain reaction in the entire body. Under a particular dosha and given a specific environment, each body cell will behave in a particular fashion, contributing towards a single result. Dosha are comprehensive platforms that define what each part will do to perform a particular activity. They align the body activities to produce a single desired effect.

We can compare it to the sympathetic and non-sympathetic nervous systems.

Let us take the example of digestion. Pitta dosha is the parent dosha for digestion. Complete digestion can be divided in 3 parts.

 

DIGESTION

 

 

 

Kapha stage:  Beginning of digestion

When the digestion of food begins, the blood supply to other parts of the body, like the limbs, brain etc. is reduced and diverted to the intestines for absorption (that is why we feel sleepy and lethargic immediately after a meal). It is advised that one should walk 100 steps to keep the kapha balanced during this time. So the hands, legs, brain etc are synchronized to the digestion in stomach because of Kapha dosha. This is a very simple example

Pitta stage: Complete breakdown

Various organs (gall bladder, pancreas) secrete their juices in the alimentary canal to aid digestion. Simultaneously, liver detoxifies the digested juices in the blood and produces the heat through digestion. This is time of chemical transformation and heat production. Blood gets fresh supply of nutrients. Body cells start assimilating the nutrition transported by the blood. Body becomes active. This is good time to sleep in summer, to keep the heat through activities, low and balance the heat of digestion.

Vata stage: Absorption and excretion

After complete digestion, the food gets absorbed though the small intestine (nutrients) and large intestine (water). Large intestine is the site of vata. This stage of digestion involves constant motion and absorption of water.

The important point is that with the beginning of digestion, other parts of the body, even the eyelids perform their function by getting drowsy or the legs by forfeiting extra blood supply, or the brain. And all this is orchestrated by the dosha. So we can appropriately evaluate what will be the condition of eyeballs or liver or legs when a particular dosha is active, vitiated or balanced.

Taking the same example forward, if the food is too heavy to digest; the Kapha dosha will get vitiated. This means that the Kapha program will not shut down at the correct time and will keep running in wrong condition and for wrong (longer) duration. The digestion of food will not reach the next stage properly and the errors in digestions will be carried forward in the form of toxins.

Best example is the process of sexual stimulation. Parent dosha for sex is vata, which is a kind of lord of all physical activity.

During sexual intercourse, the entire body activity is synchronized to achieve a single result. Eyes close to enhance the effect of skin receptors. Conscious brain activity is more imagination based (Pitta is associated with logic, Kapha with the memory and vata with imagination or creativity). Movements of hands, legs, penis / vagina are co-ordinated to achieve the desired outcome. Sperm friendly secretions lubricate the vagina to ensure safe and easy passage. This is a most elucidating example of perfect organ coordination on vata platform.

The key of health is in the balance of these Dosha.


Importance of Vata

Have you ever wondered why it is always Vata, Pitta and Kapha and not Kapha , Pitta , Vata or Pitta, Kapha and Vata.

It is because Vata is the most important and defining force among all three. After Vata comes Pitta and finally Kapha, most innocuous one.

This is because Kinetic energy is considered to be the most important here, which can affect other factors. Kinetic energy produces heat and can destroy inertia. Also Kinetic energy of the body is in direct control of the being. An Individual can use his kinetic energy at will and change or balance energy equation of the body. We can heat up the body by exercise and reduce inertia. Vata, because of its influence on other dosha, can cause maximum diseases. Hence Ayurveda chooses to establish Vata (Kinetic energy) as a greater force than the rest.

Sequence of Dosha

If we consider a lifespan or any natural phenomenon, Ayurveda has a rule that everything starts with stability (Kapha state), goes to the stage of transformation or maturity (Pitta state) and deterioration (Vata state).Same rule applies to human body as well. Child is in Kaphaj state, youth is in Pittaj state and elderly in Vataj state and interestingly all these are more prone to disease attributed to respective Dosha. For example, children are more prone to cold and coughs (Kaphaj disorders), youths are prone to acme, pimple according to their Prakruti (Pittaj disorders), and old people are prone to joint pain (Vataj disorders)

Similarly first 1/3rd of day is Kaphaj, second 1/3rd is Pittaj and third 1/3rd is Vataj. Again the symptoms of respective diseases exaggerate during the respective times, for example cold, sneezing etc. increases in the morning (Kaphaj), acidity is aggravates in daytime (Pittaj) and joint pain increases during the evening time.

The seasons come and go in a cycle but the cycle is considered from Hemant according to Ayurveda, which is the coldest season (Kaphaj state), then move towards summer (Pittaj state) and rains (Vataj state). In Sharad the effect of Vata subsides completely, to regain the Kaphaj state.

Ayurvedic Definition of Health

Sam-Doshaha Sam Agni Shcha Sam Dhatu Malakriyah! Prasann Atma Indriya Manah Swasthya Ityabhidhiyate!!

Balanced state of Dosha, Agni (digestive fires), Dhatu (Metabolic essence) and Mal (Metabolic waste)

Happy soul, senses and mind constitute the (complete) health

Kshetra of Ayurveda and Importance of mind

Kshetra means field of Ayurveda, on which it acts. There are 2 fields – mind and body respectively.

Ayu means life and Veda means knowledge, Ayurveda signifies the knowledge of life. It is not only about the physical wellbeing but also mental and spiritual health.

Treating the body alone is like treating the shadow of the sick and expecting the results.

Like the way everything starts with the roots in a plant, everything starts with the mind in an individual. Soul is pure energy. Divergent tendencies start with the mind and therefore everything; peace or agony, health or diseases start with the mind. Ayurvedic approach is towards treating the human being, who is a sum total of soul, mind and body, with the focus on mind.

Ayurveda believes that diseases have 2 basic origins – Manas (psychological) and Sharir (Body based). Disease from mind can spread to body and vice versa.

Let us take an example:

  • You get a cold and you start thinking about work that you are not able to do because of it. You lower your immunity because of stress or might add headache to this cold. So the cold is body based but the headache is mind based.
  • If your cold gets worse than you might get a headache too, then both the problems are body based.
  • If you are under too much of stress, you reduce your immunity and thus get frequent cold and cough. This is mind generated.

In order to effectively cure or prevent this cold, treatment should start with finding the base or roots of the disease. It can be in mind or in the body.

According to scientific researches, 99% diseases can be traced to psychological problems! Also the role of placebo is unquestionable in getting cured. If a patient takes a sugar pill with sincere belief that it will cure her/his disease, then it might actually have equivalent or better results than the real medicine. The disease and the cure, both have their origin in the mind.

People with good diet and comfortable life develop diseases due to stress. On the other side, if one is calm or even better….happy, there are more chances of her/his getting cured soon or not falling sick at all.

BE HAPPY!

This is a little too simple to believe!

No one is happy at all the times but you are happy when you are doing something that you like to do. What is more important is that your attention is towards something that you like doing. It is not possible to be able to do what you like all the time, but no one can stop you from keeping a focus on the things that you like. Happiness is more of a frame of mind and you can keep happy if you want to be happy, you will dig out things that will keep you happy.

Being happy is the very basic, most important and probably the only thing that we require for being healthy.

Be Happy with the book

There will be a lot of dos and don’ts in the coming chapters, which are meant to improve your health and longevity. But if you are not able to follow any of them because of unavoidable circumstances, do not get worried. If you are happy trying to follow them, you will stay healthy even if you are not strictly in the line.

There are many people who had routines and lifestyles which promised worst of heart attacks, diabetes, cancer etc… but they lived long and healthy, probably because they were too happy to worry about their bad lifestyle. Also there are people, who have very strict routine and healthy lifestyle, still they develop diseases and some die young, probably because they continuously worry about their health. Worrying is the most unhealthy habit. So lose it first, before you do anything else for your health.

So, the first rule is – be happy and don’t do anything that makes you unhappy….Best wishes !