Ayurveda, Way of life
Ayurveda (आयुर्वेद, the ‘science of life’) is a system of traditional medicine native to the Indian Subcontinent and practiced in other parts of the world as a form of alternative medicine.In Sanskrit, the word Ayurveda consists of the words, meaning ‘life’, and veda, meaning ‘related to knowledge’ or ‘science’.Evolving throughout its history, Ayurveda remains an influential system of medicine in South Asia.The earliest literature of Ayurveda appeared during the Vedic period in India.The SushrutaSamhita and the CharakaSamhita were influential works on traditional medicine during this era.Ayurvedic practitioners also identified a number of medicinal preparations and surgical procedures for curing various ailments and diseases.
Ayurvedic living revolves around prakriti, your basic constitution – which according to Bhagavad Gita is the “primal motive force”. It is your basic constitution, and corresponds to your body type, described by three main doshas or forces: Vata, Pitta and Kapha, translated loosely as Air, Fire and Earth, respectively.
Principle of Ayurveda
Since it is an ancient art, many professionals and scholars disregard it as science, and claim the ideas lack logic and practicality. This is a misconception; just like every branch of science, first came the philosophies, then the science. Fortunately, experts today are now researching and increasingly accepting it as a science, and recognizing its effectiveness and widespread application.
Daily lifestyle/routine according to Ayurveda. (Dinacharya)
There are several things you can implement in your daily life that will make you feel healthy, happy and full of energy. Pick a few that are do able. This daily routine list was written thousands of years ago and obviously in our lives nowadays it would be very challenging to live completely according to this ancient routine. However maybe it will inspire you to create the time to make a few small changes that can help bring out the best in you!
Ayurveda recommends an early bird lifestyle ->
Waking up at sunrise or even up to 2 hours before is preferable. The predominant element at this stage of the day is Vata (air + ether). Vata is light, subtle and clear and brings you in contact with the subtle messages nature beholds. Have you ever noticed how magical the early morning can be? The rise of a new sun, a new day, new opportunities.This is because there is a lot of Sattva (purity, cosmic intelligence) in the early morning air. Open your window or go for a stroll, take a deep breath and start your day with a smile.
Face/nose/mouth wash Wash your face and your eyes with water. Ayur Veda recommends the use of rosewater or Triphala (an Indian herb acting as complete body cleanser, it detoxifies, purifies the blood ,removes toxins from the liver and is high in vitamin C) Scrape your tongue with a special tongue scraper (not with your toothbrush as you will brush the bacteria in your tongue). When scraping you remove toxins that accumulate overnight on your tongue. Then gargle with warm water to purify your voice. Fill your mouth with sesame oil (this oil is often used in Ayur Veda, its has a warming effect, soothes Vata and has many benefits like being good for teeth and teethgum). You can also put a drop of oil in your nose to purify the senses.
Massage keeps us strong and is beneficial for body and mind. Ayurveda recommends that you massage yourself in the morning, if liked with a bit of oil for about 5 minutes is sufficient. Massage the scalp, forehead, hands and feet (when practicing yoga after massage don’t rub oil on your feet).
Early morning exercise removes stagnation in the body and mind and allows your energy to flow. It also strengthens the digestive fire (Agni) which promotes better digestion of foods as well as emotions. Recommended exercises are: walking, pranayama (breathing exercises), yoga
After your exercise take a shower or bath to remove any excess oil. Put on clean clothes after your bath.
Sit still in a silent area and focus on your breath and take a moment to be grateful for this new day.
And now it’s time for something healthy and yummy in your tummy. Choose your food wisely; Vata people can choose to eat a warm breakfast like oatmeal or other porridge, Pitta people can also choose oatmeal or cooked fruits, Kapha people are suggested to eat cooked fruit, no heavier breakfast.
Lunch – Ayurveda recommends that your lunch should be taken between 12 and 1 pm and your lunch should be your largest meal as the predominant element during this time of the day is Pitta (Fire + Water) and this element is responsible for digestion.
Ayur Veda recommends just a short nap when you really feel the need but in general sleeping in daytime should be avoided as it can accumulate excess kappa.
Dinner is recommended to be taken between 6 and 7 pm and should be lighter than lunch as the predominant element in this time of day is Kapha (earth and water). Digestion is low and going to bed on a full stomach prevents you from a having a good night sleep. Try having your dinner at least 3 hours before sleeping. To aid digestion, you can sip a small cup of lukewarm water with some fresh ginger. About half an hour after dinner go for a short stroll to stimulate digestion.
Sip a cup of lukewarm water before going to bed. When in bed, lie on your back and relax like in savasana (corps pose in yoga). Take slow and deep breaths and consciously hold your attention on every body part and relax each body part. Start at your feet and slowly move up towards the crown of your head.