Ayurveda is a science of healthy life gifted to us by great Indian Masters. Ayurveda not only treats the diseased body but also maintains the health of a healthy individual. Ayurveda not only promotes physical health but provides mental and spiritual health too. Ayurveda is not just about massage and oils. It is beyond that, rather very deep. All Ayurvedic Masters of ancient time were great scientists. There is an advent of nanotechnology field in this century but nanotechnology is found in Ayurveda since ages.
The Principles of Ayurveda are authentic. Ayurveda is certainly more than a mere collection of few home remedies. The principles of Ayurveda are quite different from the modern science. Ayurvedic system of medicine is prevalant since the time of Vedas, since thousands of years.
According to Ayurveda, diseases occur due to the vitiation of “tri-doshas”- Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These are responsible for functions like-
- (i) Vata — Power, mobility, oxygen transport etc.
- (ii) Pitta — Digestion, Metabolism etc.
- (iii)Kapha — Body structuring, immunity, sustenance etc.
During normalcy, Vata, Pitta and Kapha protect our health. During illness or due to wrong eating habits, tridosha tend to bring about diseases.
- Vata is significantly present below umbilicus area and is responsible for urination, motion, walking etc. are controlled by Vata.
- Pitta is significantly present in abdominal area, that’s why digestion is controlled by Pitta.
- Kapha is significantly present in chest and above areas. That’s why, respiration, salivation etc. are controlled by Kapha.
Types of Vata dosha:
Though Vata is only one type, based on its placement and specific action and for easy understanding, it is divided into 5 types:
- Prana Vata
- Udana Vata
- Vyana Vata
- Samana Vata
- Apana Vata
Types of Pitta Dosha
- Whichever functions of the body, that is associated with fire(in digestion), light(as in vision, body appearance, skin colour) and temperature, Pitta is involved.
Types of Pitta:
- (i) Pachaka Pitta
- (ii) Ranjaka Pitta
- (iii) Sadhaka Pitta
- (iv) Alochaka Pitta
- (v) Bhrajaka Pitta
Types of Kapha dosha
If you imagine a cell, Kapha is responsible for holding all parts of the cell together, in its natural shape. If you consider joints, Kapha is responsible for stability and compactness of the joints.
There are 5 types of Kapha dosha:
- (i) Avalambaka Kapha
- (ii) Kledaka Kapha
- (iii) Bodhaka Kapha
- (iv) Tarpaka Kapha
- (v) Shleshaka Kapha
Ayurveda works on these three basic principles.
1. Eating Habits: Please be aware of your eating habits as according to Ayurvedic principle, every disease process is related to stomach. It is very easy to follow but often neglected. In most of the diseased conditions, digestion power is hampered like in cold, cough, infections digestion process is affected. Some common rules that everyone has to follow:
- (i) Eat only when you are hungry– It helps to maintain proper enzyme level secretion.
- (ii) Follow diet rules– Drink water in between the food rather than before or after having food.
- (iii) Occasional fasting– The initial stage of disease manifestation involves a condition called as– “Ama”. It is a complex caused by undigested food and weak gastric juice. Ama is characterised by indigestion. So, fasting must be done to eliminate toxins from the body.
- (iv) Exclude fast food from your diet. Always take freshly prepared food.
2. Physical Activity– Physical activity is quite important for a healthy lifestyle as it increases the muscle strength, tones the body, increases the oxygen supply, keeps the mind active and alert, improves heart health. Pranayam is a good option as it not only improves breathing and respiratory health but also boosts mind power and concentration. It is often seen that people do not get time to go to a Yoga teacher to learn the technique which is highly recommended. Pranayama has yoga prerequisties namely- Yama, Niyama and Asana. The regular Pranayam would require one to follow dietary and mind restrictions. Morning is the right time for Pranayama.
- If one practices Pranayama in the guidance of a trained person, it can do wonders.
- A walk for atleast 40-45 minutes in the morning can also be done.
3. Meditation– Meditation is a nectar for good health. It not only improves the health of individual but improves mental health too. It increases clarity, increases contemplation power, provides wisdom, concentration etc. It has numerous health benefits. It is essential for everyone to sit in meditation daily for 1 hour.
- Even World Health Organisation(WHO) has declared that Meditation from India is the best medicine. It is anti-dote for migraine, hypertension, stomach related disorders like- IBS, depression, anxiety, insomnia, various sleep disorders, hormonal imbalance and many more. Meditation is not a stress management, anger management but it is a mind management. All the negativities comes from the mind and meditation eliminates the root cause of all the sufferings.
4. Massage– Everyday, massage should be done by everyone. It improves eyesight, nourishes muscles, increases life expectancy and improves skin complexion. Ayurvedic oil massage has good effect not only on the skin but on all over the body system. In many diseases especially due to Vata imbalance,such as Arthritis(Sandhivaat), massage is highly recommended. Ayurveda explains that the herbal contents in the oil enters through the pores of the skin, becomes available for absorption at Srotas(end part of blood vessels) and get absorbed into the blood, reach the target area and exhibit its action.
5. Getting before Sunrise: According to Ayurveda, a person should leave his/her bed before sunrise. If we wake up late in the morning, our hormones and glands will not function properly. Moreover, we feel laziness throughout the day. Our glands will not secrete the hormones properly if we get up late in the morning. Now- a -days, many people are prone to thyroid gland disorder . Waking up late in the morning is one of the causes of abnormal functioning of thyroid gland.
6. Avoiding Bad Food Combinations– Ayurveda explains that combination of two particular safe foods may not be ideal for health.
- If two qualities are strongly exhibited in two items and their combination would lead to a bad quality match, then they are rendered incompatible. E.g. Combination of Fish and Radish is incompatible because both are hot in nature. Similarly, if two foods have multiple opposing qualities, their combination is usually declared incompatible. E.g. honey and ghee in equal quantities.
- If processing of the food leads to the alteration or destruction of original quality of food, then it is not recommended, such as- heating of curd and heating of honey.
Various wrong combinations of food
- Black pepper, Long pepper alongwith fish
- Radish alongwith black gram
- Ghee kept in bronze vessel for more than 10 days must be avoided.
- Mixing of honey, ghee, meat, fat, sesame oil and beverages is not recommended.
- Banana alongwith buttermilk is not recommended.
- Milk with sour fruits
- Holy basil(Tulsi) with milk
- Fish with milk is incompatible
- Spinach with sesame seed as this combination causes diarrhoea.
7. Drinking Hot Water– Drinking hot water is one of the very good habits that suits most of the people . It is especially beneficial during night. Drinking hot water at night is beneficial against Kapha related disorders, Aamvata(Rheumatoid Arthritis), cleanses the urinary bladder and also useful in the treatment of various respiratory disorders.
8. Setting up of body and mind rhythm– Ayurveda has given many health secrets for perfect health. Balance of good health and wellness is not only contributed by the food, dietary supplements or the medicines that we take, it is as much contributed by our other daily activities– Physical and Mental. Whenever there is a natural urge, it should not be suppressed. Whenever there is no natural urge, it should not be voluntarily induced e.g. eating when not hungry. Various natural urges like- flatus, urine and faeces, cough, sneeze, hunger or thirst, sleep, tears must not be suppressed.
9. Water intake— Drink 8-10 glasses of water daily as it will keep you well hydrated, cleanses kidney and urinary bladder, keeps skin well nourished and hydrated.
10. Avoid Sedentary Lifestyle– Sleeping for long hours, indulging in fast food, chocolates, aerated drinks, working on the desk all day long, no time for exercise, neglecting constant weight gain, lowering energy levels… It is a time for reality check. By indulging in these activities, Kapha dosha builds up actively in body, “Ama” in the stomach and “Tamas” in the mind. So, sedentary lifestyle must be avoided and active lifestyle alongwith healthy eating habits must be followed to keep the diseases at bay
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