Living is an art- says Ayurveda. Ayurveda embodies the art of living, its primary aim is to protect health and maximize the joy of living. Secondly, prevention of diseases through systematic daily routine and promoting a spiritual lifestyle is another aim. The expertise and scope of Ayurveda is quite vast. On the one hand it gives detailed information of how ailments occur and on other hand prescribes natural solution to them.
The sages Charaka and Sushruta formed guidelines for promoting health and address them as
Swasthya Vritta- Maintaining of Wellness the main part of the Swasthya Vrutt are
1. Din Charya – Daily routine.
2. Ritu Charya – Routine suited to seasons.
Sage Sushruta explains the qualities of a healthy person:
|| Samdosha: Samagnisha Samadhatu Malakriya||
|| Prasannatmanendriyamana: Swastha Ityabhidhiyate||
The one who’s three Doshas, Seven Dhatus and elimination of the three wastes is in balance and who has a balanced and contended mind and soul is considered to be a healthy person. They proceeded saying one who follows Swasthya Vritta lives a disease free and potent life of hundred years with full vigour in all his senses. So the wisdom lies in following the proper means for being healthy and happy says Ayurveda.
The guidelines of Swasthya Vritta states:
||Nagari Nagarasevya Rathasyeva Rathiyata||
|| Swasharirasya Medhavi Krutyekshava Vahit Bhavet||
As the Chief guards the security of the Metropolis and as the charioteer takes utmost care of his chariot, likewise one has to take care of his health with wisdom and secure perfect health.
Rising – A healthy person must get up two hour before sunrise. This hour is considered auspicious as there is peace, freshness and happiness. ‘Ozone’ the dense form of oxygen is present in the early morning in the atmosphere, hence we may benefit it if we start activities before sunrise. This time is called ‘Bramha Muhurta’.
· Our first act is to think of God and pray. We must adopt an attitude of thanks and joy for the wonderful universe and its blessings. One should try to carry this attitude of awareness tint ones daily activities.
· The peaceful atmosphere promotes concentration, hence any study done in the Bramha Muhurta remains fresh in the memory.
· Rising early also gives adequate time for routine activities, which in turn promotes relaxed mind a gateway to disease free, long life.
· Wash the face with clean and cool water. This removes dullness.
· Water intake on an empty stomach is called ‘Ushapaan’, this is ideal because it facilitates the elimination of urine and stool in the morning.so toxins are cleared. Water has no side effects as tea and coffee have.
· Early morning clearing of bowels is a must after taking water. Modern day busy and stressful living causes many people to suffer from lack of bowel movement in the morning therefore after drinking a glass of water, do an exercise of moving stomach from one side to other nine times and back and forth for nine times. This helps the bowel movement.
· Cleaning of teeth with a twig of Neem, Mango or Babool tree is good as these have got medicinal benefits. When these are used as brush, the teeth and gums protected from oral diseases. The tongue then is to be scraped with the twig so that its surface is cleaned. Teeth must be brushed before retiring at night also.
· Morning walk in greenery is also a good way to get in the fresh air.
Yoga Asanas, Soorya Namaskara or any deliberate physical activity, running and swimming are called exercise. Exercise lends strength and stability to the body. Regular exercise helps improve digestion. It raises Agni, keeps the channels unobstructed, expels the wastes of cell metabolism and keeps muscle supple. Almost everyone will benefit from exercise but it must be suitable for the constitution. Too much exercise increases Vata.
Ayurveda says one should exercise to the half of the capacity. For example, if after running for 30 minutes one is exhausted, then he should run not for more than 15 minutes, or the optimum amount of exercise is when he begins to sweat.
During summers, rains and autumns, the limit of exercise should be reduced further as these are the seasons of Vayu aggravation. To relieve tiredness, the body should be massaged very lightly after exercising. Exercising is very beneficial. It ones and strengthens every muscle and reduces fat accumulation. The sweating caused lightens and energises the body. The capacity to work and bear pain increases and aggravated and spoilt doshas, especially Kapha are calmed down.
Exercising more than the body’s strength causes thirst, asthma, cough, fever etc. Excess exercise destroys the body, like tiger pulling and elephant gets killed.
|| Pavitram Vrushyamayushyam Shramasveda Malapaham ||
|| Shareera Balasandhanam Snanamojaskaram Param ||
Bathing is essential and beneficial, hence our ancestors dictated that bathing is a must before having food.
Bathing daily is essential for cleaning and refreshing the body. It rejuvenates the body. The nose, ears and feet should be specifically cleaned during bathing. The dirt of the skin is washed off. The body gets warmth of water and the rubbing helps digestion. So bathing helps to prolong life. It makes the body and mind enthusiastic and increases strength. It prevents fatigue, itching, body odour, sweating, indolence, thirst and irritation. Bathing should be avoided when ailing.
We have millions of hair on our body, the roots of which go deeper in the body from the upper layers of the skin. At the root of every hair there is a tiny hole. These pores works as a passages to and fro from the internal cells of the body for perspiration and absorption. Hence the primary consideration is how to make good use of the pores for benefitting the system. This is achieved by rubbing the whole body thoroughly while taking a bath. The process is, take a small towel soak it in water and rub the whole body with it firmly while taking bath. Such rubbing serves several purposes. It opens the pores, exercises the upper layer of the skin and it makes it possible for the body to receive energy and life nourishing elements from water. After rubbing the body, plenty of water should be poured on the body. Soap must not be used there as there are certain chemicals in it which do not suit the nature of the skin of every individual. Many people gets rashes and rough skin after using certain types of soaps Also, except for cleansing body, soaps do not contribute much to the good of the body.
One good substitute for soap is chickpeas (gram flour). Take a handful or more of gram flour. Take a handful or more of gram flour and make a paste with Luke warm water in broad container while going to take a bath. Rub the whole body with gram flour paste. After rubbing, wash it with water. The body will be cleaner than soap can clean it and will become smooth soft and also invigorated with energy.
Grams contain minerals, protein and vitamins. Gram flour cures many skin diseases such as itching, rough skins and similar other disorders. The flour can be used once in three days, rubbing the body daily is enough. The flour can be used for cleaning the face and shampooing the hair. For shampooing
Hair is the index of the health of the individual. The head is to be oiled daily with sesame mustard or coconut oil. This prevents hair fall, greying, balding, headache, drying of scalp etc. oiling strengthens the head, forehead, eyes, ears and other sensory organs. The quality of hair and the quality of sleep gets improved.
One more simple way to keep the hair healthy is to rub their roots at the time of taking bath. The process is to pour some water on the head and rub with finger roots at the roots of the hair till a warming effect is felt. After rubbing for a minute or so, pour plenty of water on the head. Then dry water from head and comb your hair. Stand in tender sunlight for 10 minutes. Comb the hair twice or thrice a day by giving a pull to the opposite i.e. from top to down, down up, left to right and right to left. By this combing process, the hair will become stronger and would be prevented from falling. New hair would soon begin to grow.
Ayurveda talks highly about body oil massage, Vayu being the pancha Mahabhootas being light and mobile, vayu is all over the world and within the body through respiration. Vayu is responsible for the movements of the body. Vayu is called Prana, Udana, Samana, Apana and Vyana as per its location and functions in the body. All sense organs and motor organs work efficiently through Vayu.
When Vayu gets aggravated, it leads to dryness, roughness and stiff body organs and causes pain. Skin is the organ where Vayu is accumulated. So oiling the body is considered to be the best mode of pacifying Vayu diseases.
|| Jal Sikhtasya vadhrute Yatha Moolenkurastaro||
|| Tatha Dhatu Vivrudhihi Snehasikatasya Jayate ||
Just as water is poured at the roots of the tree and it helps to grow stronger with thick foliage, flowers, fruits and gives happiness to all, likewise oil massage on the body helps the tissues to be strong with the warmth of the oil massage. At least once a week oil massage of the body is good. Oil massage of the feet and putting few drops of pure ghee from cow of Indian Breed in nose and ears helps many disorders getting cured.
Nose is considered to be the entrance to the head. All medicinal preparations poured into the nostrils can reach every nook and corner of the head. The head should be hung back on a chair ad a few drops of warm ghee should be put into each nostrils using a dropper and then slightly inhaled. This is called Nasya, while pouring drops of oil into one nostril close the other one. Any secretion during ‘Nasya’ should be spat out. Then start the process with your other nostril. After Nasya one must lie on the back till the count of 100 without falling asleep. This should be done daily or once a week at least, after cleaning the bowels and bathing.
Nasya cures all ailments that are caused above the neck. Only pure ghee from cow of Indian origin will be the best for Nasya although Olive or sesame oil can be used. Nasya can cure illness like torticollis, paralysis, headaches, migraine, swelling of the nose, shivering of the head, locked jaw and snoring are cured. Signs of ageing disappear and greying of hair prevented.
Putting pure ghee from cow of Indian origin in the ears prevents ailments like deafness, defective hearing and torticollis. Ears should be poured with ghee daily or at least once in a week. In a healthy ear ghee should be retained for 5 minutes and in case of earache it should retain till the pain is relieved. This can be done by pressing at the base of the ear to prevent ghee from flowing out.
Oiling feet is very beneficial as it cures roughness, drying, lethargy, chapping, shrinking of blood vessels and muscles, sciatica and other Vayu ailments. Nasya improves eyesight and should be performed daily before bathing.
Oil massage provides manifold benefits, the skin gets a glow and muscles become flexible and it also improves blood circulation. Oil massage enhances the beauty of complexion and provides excellent health by pacifying vitiated Vayu.
The rituals of worship should continue: says Ayurveda
From ancient times, India is famous for its Vedic culture. The Vedic Rishis were evolved souls. They had a spiritual bend of mind who worshiped supreme powers of nature in the form of Sandhya Vandana, Mantra Japa and offerings and attained peace and purity of mind.
|| Nitya Karmanushthanath Dharmotpathi ||
|| Dharmotpate Paapahanihi Tatschitta Shuddhi ||
Daily worshiping with devotion would help attain Dharma i.e. righteousness and Chittashuddhi- purity of mind, by which disintegration of today’s human society would disappear and I would attain peace and prosperity.
To remain healthy and happy, one must live a life guided by Dharma being righteous and moral, Arth acquiring material wealth, Kaam – gratifying desires should be done in a way that is not mutually conflicting.
· Truth must be practiced all times.
· Every creature including, one as tiny as ants and insects must be considered equal and treated with respect.
· One must always be ready to help the poor, sic and those who have suffered losses.
· One must never disappoint those who ask for help or insult them.
· God, cattle, the holy men, the old, women, children, doctors, superiors, and guests must always be respected ad protected.
· One must never possess things belonging to others or even desire them.
· One must guard against sinning and avoiding ill-treating even bad individuals.
· Weaknesses and secrets of others should not be revealed.
· Company of treacherous, corrupt, wicked, miserly and evil individuals should be avoided.
· One must always be careful of those who have disruptive tendencies.
· Stepping over a relative, teacher, guide, sacred trees is inauspicious.
· People who think of the universal welfare should be befriended and approached for advice.