Secrets of health. - Part II16, Mar, 2016, by Seema Bhatnagar
"The first form of happiness is sound health, one should partake nutritious, balanced food to keep the body healthy. So it is essential to maintain the health of the mind and body simultaneously." ~ Rig Veda
Ayurveda fundamentally prescribes living with natural rhythms of day and seasons. With every change in a day or in a season, one should modify personal daily routine accordingly. According to Ayurveda, our body is composed of five basic elements of nature- earth(prithvi), water(jal), air(vayu), fire(agni) and sky(akash), in order to maintain homeostasis our body is in constant transaction with these elements present in environment. Imbalance in any of these five elements causes disease in body.
Based on the four pillars of life as prescribed by Ayurveda, following are some of the best guidelines which can be easily practiced in daily routine to enjoy holistic life.
How to be physically healthy?
"When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need". ~ Ayurvedic proverb
#1 - Freshly cooked food.
Food should be cooked fresh and must be consumed within 3 hours of cooking else it is stale and creates lethargy in body. A food kept in refrigerator overnight is a stale food and if consumed creates lethargy in body.
#2 - Quality of food.
Healthy food means food high in nutritional value and less of fat in it. Vegetarian food is the best food for body as it takes less time to digest and gives required energy and nutrition to body. It is equally healthy for mind as well.
#3 - Timings of food.
One should have breakfast around 8:00 am in the morning, followed by lunch at 12:20 pm and last meal should be finished by 7:30 pm in the evening. Ideally, there should be a gap of 3-4 hours between two meals.
#4 - Types of food.
Different food items can generate heat, coolness or air in the body, so accordingly one should consume to avoid any imbalance. Each individual has a different body type based on different genetic constitution one has inherited. For example, people who have chronic problems of cold and cough should not consume cold food items like ice-cream, curd, yoghurts etc... Similarly there are different recommendations of food for different type of constitutions.
#5 - Seasonal changes.
Consume only seasonal food and do not stock offseason vegetables. Nature provides us only that which is healthy as per ongoing season.
#6 - Water storage.
Store drinking water in a copper vessel overnight and consume it without refrigerating it. The copper ions kill present bacteria in water and the quality of water improves manifold and it becomes healthier for body.
#7 - Yoga and exercise.
Practice some form of exercise daily to keep body fit. Hata Yoga or asanas is the best way to keep body flexible and fit. It also helps in controlling mind.
#8 - Daily ablutions.
Bowel should be cleared everyday without a fail, because the daily cleansing of inner body is as important as of outer body. If one is suffering with constant problems of constipation, it can lead to some type of serious gastrointestinal problems.
#9 - Sleep quota.
Rise early in the morning and retire early to bed in the night. Sleeping in afternoon should be avoided, if at all one wants to sleep then it should be a quick nap of maximum 45 minutes. Sleeping in afternoon disturbs the natural metabolism of body and can also result in triggering diabetes.
#10 - Body massages.
Before bath body should be massaged well with oil mixed with natural herbs. This is called as Abhyanga in Sanskrit language. It fully rejuvenates body and helps in keeping joints in good health.
How to be mentally healthy?
#1 - Emotions and food.
The body and mind get created through the food we consume. It is said that one who cooks food should be happy, healthy and a positive person because emotions of that person get transferred to food and ultimately reach to whosoever eats it.
While having food, one should fully concentrate on it and should feel happy and grateful for the fact that this food will give the required positivity for personal growth.
#2 - Meditation
One should practice mediation daily to experience peaceful and still mind. It is a way of cleansing mind of negative and annoying thoughts which drains energy and arrest productivity. Read full post on mediation.
#3 - Positivity
Maintain a positive outlook towards life and should stay in a positive state of mind. One should not feel devastated and doomed by any failure in life. Read full post on positivity.
#4 - Choice of profession.
Profession has a significant impact on mental health as one spends almost 80-90% of waking hours in personal profession therefore it should be the one which aligns with personal talents and proclivity. A wrong choice of profession drains personal energy and creates loads of negativity. Read full post on choosing profession.
#5 - Social relationships.
Humans are social animals and it comes natural for them to respond. One should not restrict self to seclusion but should socialize enough with family and friends. It allows one to share problems of work or relationships etc. and provides a good support system. Not socializing enough means one would live in a wrong perception of self and will have less tolerance towards criticism from others. Read full post on friendships.
#6 - Hobbies and interests.
Develop hobbies and interests and immerse yourself into it. It should be something which you enjoy without expecting any compensation or result. It should totally soak you.
#7 - Divinity and gratitude.
Being in good health with life full of comforts and luxuries one should constantly feel grateful for what one has. Instead of focusing on what is missing in life one should focus on what one has.
The higher power which is governing this universe is constantly breathing through you and allowing you to enjoy the goodness of life. A life full of gratitude is an ultimate bliss. Read full post on gratitude.
#8 - Leave stinginess.
Don’t be stingy in your transactions with others. Just be generous with what best you can offer to others. This helps you to get rid of your insecurities and fear of suffering and you can live more peacefully. Be it money or any sought of help, be the first one to offer. Ideally, one should give away at least 10 percent of earning every month. Read full post on abundance.
#9 - Randomness and spontaneity.
Instead of continuously thinking about future and imagining all the possible odds and obstacles enjoy the randomness and spontaneity of life and always be ready to face anything which may come your way. This doesn’t mean you should not plan, it is simply that you should work without thinking too much of failure.
Enjoy the spontaneity of events in life because no plan is 100 percent safe and perfect on this planet.
#10 - Natural living.
Live with rhythms of nature be it of eating, sleeping or working. Doing so will never bring any disease.
Based on Ayurveda, these are just the snapshot of basic guidelines or best practices to be followed in daily life. There are many more such guidelines which can be adopted in life. If one follows these even for 30 days, one can experience a significant shift in health and overall outlook towards life.
Before you conclude or create any perception around Ayurveda, let me share the fact - this is a wisdom dated back to thousands of years, well researched by sages and seers who spent their lifetimes living with nature. Modern science is gradually coming to terms with it after finding many facts coming out true in scientific labs.
If you are undergoing any chronic illness and want to try ayurveda then I would recommend you to visit India and meet an ayurvedic doctor to get yourself examined for your body type. Please beware of the quacks who daringly claim themselves to be qualified for the purpose. Before you visit any doctor please make sure his/her degrees and certificates are issued from Govt of India. Personally, I would suggest you to visit only those hospitals which are run by Indian Govt. where every doctor is selected based on qualification and expertise.
Remember, Ayurveda is a complete science in itself and one should not try to attach it to any particular religion or geography. It is a great wisdom for living a holistic and balanced life so that a peaceful and loving society can be founded.