Transform Your Life With These Ayurvedic Practices
The Ayurveda approved lifestyle or dinacharya isn’t as complicated as you think. A simple set of rules, from rising pre-dawn to winding down with a routine, can change how strong you feel inside and out. Support the mind and body with exercise, meditation, and a healthy diet or aahara and you’ll be on your way to a new and improved you.
Ayurveda takes a holistic approach to health. This is precisely why the daily routine or dinacharya is of central importance to the philosophy of the practice. Getting into a rhythm has its advantages, and you will soon find that these principles become second nature. Follow these concepts and you should feel more energized and relaxed. Furthermore, your body will be more equipped to cope with whatever life sends your way.
That’s not all, though. These routines can protect your body from infection. And because they heal you from the inside out, they are also great for your mind. You will be able to manage stress better. And because this is an all-natural approach, you don’t need any special skills. This is something anyone can do for overall wellness.
If this has piqued your interest, here’s how you can start making moves.
Get Healthier With These 7 Ayurvedic Routines
1. Get An Early Start
Nidra or sleep is the foundation on which your overall happiness and general health rest. According to Ayurveda, if your mind is in a relaxed state, sleep should come easy. It is important enough to garner a spot as an upastambha (one of the three core pillars of health in Ayurveda) along with diet or aahara.
Ayurveda strongly encourages you to wake up before 6am. Get to bed early every night before 10pm so you’re able to do this without feeling sleep-deprived. The window from 6am to 10am (and from 6pm to 10pm) is believed to be a kapha phase of the day, characterized by sluggishness and heaviness. Your body will want to slow down, making it ideal to turn in early. Leaving your rising time to later than 6am will mean you need to fight off the kapha sensations which will manifest completely as time wears on.1If you can manage, stick to the recommended waking time of Brahma muhurtha, which is about 1 hour and 36 minutes before sunrise. This aligns with your body’s natural rhythms.2
2. Look After Your Pearly Whites
Oral hygiene is important. Some habits like dantadhavana (brushing your teeth) are a usual part of everyone’s daily routine. Other practices like kavala or gandusha (gargling) are not. Keep the oral cavity healthy and prevent disease with sesame oil pulling. This is characterized by rinsing your mouth on waking with oil. This is swirled around to kill bacteria and prevent plaque.3 When you do oil pulling, your body benefits in many ways. It detoxifies your body and clears your senses, too.4 Oil pulling also prevents cracked lips, bad breath, bleeding gums, and tooth decay.5
3. Cleanse Your Sense Organs
Dinacharya involves a regular cleansing routine that keeps your sense organs and body working well. Think of it as “oiling the machinery.” There’s no better time to start than when you wake up. This is precisely why the morning routine is so important.
- Cleanse the eyes using anjana, a treatment of herbs cooked to an ash mixed with ghee, applied to the inner eyelid like kajal or eyeliner. It is believed to have a cooling effect on the eyes. When medicated herbs are used, it can help treat eye disorders.
- Nasya therapy, which involves pouring of herb-infused oils into the nasal passages, helps lubricate and cleanse the passage after the nati treatment. This is essentially nasal irrigation with the help of a special spouted nati pot.6
- Dhumpana or inhalation of herbal smoke helps clear out the nasal passages, easing upper respiratory tract infections like a cough or bronchitis.7
- Treat yourself to a self-administered oil massage to make your muscles and body limber and warm.
4. Stay Active
While you can pamper yourself with massages, exercise is equally important. Researchers have found that yoga can be as effective as any form of exercise. In some cases, it can even work better for overall mental and physical well-being. It is believed to down-regulate the sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for increasing your heart rate and other fight or flight responses.8Specific asanas or postures in yoga can achieve certain health benefits. For instance, the dhanurasana helps with indigestion and constipation as well as liver problems. Doing this can keep that part of your body working well. Naukasana, halasana, bhujanangasana, and vajrasana are said to help with diabetes-related problems. They may be beneficial to those with insulin resistance or blood sugar regulation issues.9
5. Sharpen Your Mind With Meditation
In Ayurveda, the mind and psychological makeup are just as important as the physical body. Clarity of mind can be achieved through a blend of discipline, regular exercise, and if possible, meditation or prayer. Transcendental meditation techniques can help you let off steam and truly de-stress. Concentration needed to meditate or focus also strengthens your intellect. As you learn to gain control over your thoughts and emotions during meditation, better decisions feed back into making you happier, more positive, and mentally and emotionally stronger.10
6. Eat Well
Food is one of the main pillars of health and happiness, according to Ayurveda. Diet is seen as a preventive medicine for the body. Mealtimes deserve your full attention. This means no multitasking during lunch at work or in front of the television at home. Eat a varied diet that balances sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, salty, and astringent tastes. Avoid drinking iced or very cold water during mealtimes. If you can drink room temperature or gently warmed water at all times, that’s even better. Sip on a little water during your meal, but not too much. Steer clear of preserved or stale food. Eat fresh as much as possible.
Stick to foods that are seasonally appropriate. Many of the “rules” are intuitive. For instance, in winter or cold, damp weather, you should drink lukewarm water to help digestion and have dried fruits and nuts. During spring, when you are susceptible to allergies, eat anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, and probiotic foods like honey, citrus fruits, and fermented foods. As the weather warms up, eat light food and load up on liquids to replace water lost from sweating. Cool your body down with yogurt, salads, fresh fruit, and juices. In autumn, as the weather cools down, ease the load on your body by picking easily digested foods. Wait until winter before choosing fatty foods.11
7. Set Up A Bedtime Routine
Set a fixed bedtime and stick to it. Do not watch anything that can stimulate your mind before sleep. Skip alcohol, tea, or coffee consumption before you try and sleep. Working or reading late into the night is discouraged. The aim is to have a clear head, one that isn’t buzzing with ideas and is free of worries. Music or a short 5–10 minute session of meditation or prayer may help. You should also wash your face, feet, and hands before you tuck yourself into bed. Ensure you have gone to the bathroom and don’t have any urge to pass a bowel movement or urinate afterward, as this could cause nighttime waking. Last but not least, afternoon or power naps during the daytime should be avoided.
Failing to follow a regular bedtime routine can cause disturbance of all the doshas (balancing energies) in the body. Equally, a healthy sleep routine should maintain the balance.12
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Elder, Charles R. “Integrating Natural Medicine Into Conventional Clinical Practice: The Example of Vedic Medicine.” Integrative Medicine 10, no. 2 (2011): 56.|
|2, 10.||↑||Bhat, Archana I., Praveen Kumar Anandgal, and Mahesh K. Vyas. “International Journal Of Ayurvedic And Herbal Medicine” 2: 3 (2012) 515: 519.|
|3.||↑||Reddy, P. Sudhakar, and M. D. Beena. “DINACHARYA MODALITIES-A REVIEW ON EVIDENCE BASED RESEARCH WS R TO ORAL HYGIENE.” International Journal of Ayurveda and Pharma Research 2, no. 2 (2015).|
|4.||↑||Sirisha, Kondreddy, and P. Kamala Devi. “INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN DENTISTRY.”|
|5.||↑||Asokan, Sharath, Pamela Emmadi, and Raghuraman Chamundeswari. “Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: A randomized, controlled, triple-blind study.” Indian Journal of Dental Research 20, no. 1 (2009): 47.|
|6.||↑||Mamta, Tiwari, Pandey Anurag, Chaudhari Poonam, Godatwar Pawankumar, and Gupta Arvind Kumar. “Ayurvedic Approach For Management Of Ageing And Related Disorder”(2013).|
|7.||↑||Priya, Madhulika, Sharma Govinda, and Ganti Basavaraj. “AYURVEDIC SUPPOSITORIES (VARTI KALPANA)–A REVIEW.”|
|8.||↑||Ross, Alyson, and Sue Thomas. “The health benefits of yoga and exercise: a review of comparison studies.” The journal of Alternative and complementary medicine 16, no. 1 (2010): 3-12.|
|9.||↑||Uma, Y. M., K. Pratibha, and S. Chiplunkar. “A Review on impact of Brahma-muhurta on attitude of Yoga in the life style disorder: Diabetes mellitus.”|
|11.||↑||Pradeep, Dua, and Dua Pamila. “DIETETICS IN AYURVEDA-THE FORGOTTEN SCIENCE.” (2011).|
|12.||↑||Bhati, Kirti, Vijay Bhalsing, and Rakesh Shukla. “Sleep, an imperative core of life-an ayurvedic approach.” International Journal of Herbal Medicine 2, no. 5 Part A (2014): 9-12.|