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.

Image par Elias Schäfer de Pixabay

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.

Photo by Nandhu Kumar on Pexels.com

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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How stress kills your body

Why some diseases don’t get cured?

Have you ever suffered from a symptom like drowsiness, lethargy, dizziness, pain etc when all the tests results are normal? But still, there is a problem and you cannot name it. And no matter how many medicines you eat, the symptoms doesn’t go away.

Today each one of us is suffering from some of the Other kind of health problem, in spite of the tremendous scientific advances in the medical field. The market is flooded with health supplements that claim to bring the perfect state of health. However, all our attempts to cure ourselves are on the physical plain. And probably that’s the problem. we are ignoring the simplest, fastest and indispensable source of perennial health – the mind.

According to Ayurveda, the mind is the supreme controller of the body. If therefore if the mind is not stable, then the body metabolism also will be unstable. According to Ayurveda if you have anxiety depression or stress, it will lead to vata vitiation in the body. Vitiated vata Dosha will cause constipation, indigestion, bloating and multiple other digestive problems.

If if you have bouts of extreme anger, then you will have a huge tendency to develop acidity, inflammation in the intestine, peptic ulcer and other pitta dosha related disorders.

If you have a dull and unexciting life, you may develop a kapha dosha imbalance leading to sluggish digestive system. In this case, you might suffer from anorexia, heaviness after meals, lethargy, indigestion.

And these problems will never be permanently corrected on the level of the body in if we do not fix them on the mental plane. Therefore, it so happens that people go on taking medications for the decades without any permanent relief.

If we look at this concept from the modern from the perspective of modern medicine, we will find a similar correlation between the mind and body.
According to modern medicine, there are two types of nervous systems working in the body. These nervous systems are the sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system. They have contrary characteristics and the balance the requirements of the human body in different conditions.

Stress, anger, anxiety, fear, and all the negative emotions Trigger the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is programmed to ensure the protection of the body in all circumstances. It stimulates a fright-flight-fight response in the body.

So if you are extremely stressed, you will naturally choose one of the above three modes of response.

The sympathetic nervous system ensures that the vital organs in the body and the muscles get more blood supply as compared to the rest of the organs which are not required for immediate protective response. According to this nervous system, muscles need more energy and nutrition to fight or to run away.

Incidentally, the blood supply to other organs like the digestive system, urinary system, skin, etc. decreases significantly under the influence of the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system also reduces the activity in all these body parts.

And this is why anger, anxiety, stress, worries immediately show a negative effect on the digestive system as the sympathetic nervous system is switched ON and it reduces the blood supply and activity in the digestive system. The sympathetic nervous system can maintain this effect for a reasonably long duration. For this reasons, ancient Hindus refrained from eating anything when unhappy!

Therefore if you are always stressed, anxious or worrying, your entire body will be working under the influence of the sympathetic nervous system. And for this reason, stressed people have dull skin, lousy digestion, lack of hunger, tiredness, and multiple other health problems.

In the body, stretched for too long under the influence of the sympathetic nervous system, the organs become too tired to work and give up. This stress is the reason for the high prevalence of lifestyle disorders like diabetes, hypertension, hormonal disorders et cetera.

It is like a man who when forced to run for a very long time, eventually drops down. He can only get dragged after that.

Prolonged exposure to the activity of the sympathetic nervous system also accelerates the rate of aging in a person. Due to the hyperactivity of the sympathetic nervous system, the body parts become overused. The body is not able to replace the old cells at the rate which can match the requirements of the sympathetic nervous system.

This lag in replacement and repair happens partly because of excessive requirements of the sympathetic nervous system, and partly due to lack of proper activity in the digestive system. The digestive system is the only source to receive nutrition in our body. If it is not working correctly, then the body’s nutritional supplies will fall short.

The only option left for the body is to deteriorate and age faster. Today most of the people are worried about health, aging, fatal disorders like cancer. Cancer cells are present in the bodies of all individuals. The disease happens only when the body is not able to kill cancer cells. Stress hormones provide a suitable condition for the cancer cells to grow in the body.

Here I would say that the law of attraction works in the case of health as well. If you are worried about any health problem, you are contributing towards creating it.

However, people don’t realize that stressful aspiration about a good life is the only cause for and for an unhealthy, short, and miserable life.

On the other hand, if you have a peaceful mind, it triggers the parasympathetic nervous system in the body. The parasympathetic nervous system relaxes the body and focuses on repair and rejuvenation.

The effect of the parasympathetic nervous system is entirely contrary to that of the sympathetic nervous system. We can compare these two effects with an example of two countries, one engaged in a war and another in peacetime. The land at war depletes its resources, whether it is the human resource or natural resource.

The war continues for a very long time, and it becomes the culture of the land. Local development subsides, basic human amenities become dear, law and order crises becomes rampant in the war-stricken country. If we look at the countries suffering from terrorism, there are unfortunate instances of even small children getting engaged in weaponry and active warfare. A body continuously under the influence of stress becomes like a country afflicted with war for details decades.

Now if we look at the effect of the parasympathetic nervous system, it provides peacetime in the body.

Major civilizations have flourished not under the influence of war but the impact of peace. Peaceful society allows time space and resources for development in all dimensions. Citizens of a peaceful reaching will have better facilities, law, and order. A non-violent society provides all the essential amenities to its citizens. Significant refinements in the form of art music and culture can happen only in the peacetime.

Now in this context, we can look at the functioning of an effect of the parasympathetic nervous system in the body. Parasympathetic nervous system triggers the “rest and digest” and “feed and breed” response in the body.

First of all, the parasympathetic nervous system relaxes nervous hyperactivity. Nervous hyperactivity creates overstimulation of all the body parts. As this hyperactivity is balanced, the blood supply gets diverted to the organs neglected under the influence of the sympathetic nervous system, like the digestive system, and the excretory system, reproductive system, etc. We cannot eat, grow, or make a baby while on the run.

Parasympathetic nervous system makes us more conscious of the body. We become aware of pain, inflammation, or other problems in the body. This body consciousness is the first step toward preventing and solving health issues. Under the influence of the sympathetic nervous system, the body gets under the effect of natural pain killer, which helps to focus all the attention on the survival.

Parasympathetic nervous system regularises heart rate. It has a cardioprotective effect contrary to the erosive force of the sympathetic nervous system.

The parasympathetic nervous system focuses the body resources on repair and rejuvenation of the cells. It activates the digestive system, stimulates hunger, and salivation reflexes. Therefore it ensures nutritional abundance in the body. The parasympathetic nervous system relieves the toxin load by activating the excretory system.

With ample nutrition available in the body, the rate of cell replacement and repair increases compared to the speed of deterioration. Therefore, we find the monks with a radiant face, flawless skin, and perfect digestion. They can maintain ideal health without the availability of the latest health supplements our other health resources just because they have a peaceful mind.

Therefore we can safely conclude that mind is the sole cause of health or disease. And it is essential to focus on the promotion of Mental Health mental state before engaging into any other kind of health activity. Because if the mind is not healthy, it is impossible for the body to maintain health with the help of external means.

For a long healthy and happy life, we must mind our body!

This article is based on another article from Sahajmarg meditation blog – https://www.sahajmarg.org/newsletter/sahajsandesh/2019.7

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The Ayurveda Channel