Ayurveda is very clear about its aim and objectives. Between its two objectives, the first is to preserve the health of healthy person and second is to cure the disorders, if the person falls ill. So it primarily focuses its attention more towards preventive aspect of health. When we consider the healthy status of our body, Ayurveda helps to define in a more holistic way. Ayurveda describes health as a ‘ state of physical, sensorial, mental and spiritual balance.’ When we consider in a physiological way, balance state of doshas, agnis, dhatus and malas is health.
Health is the way to achieve, what you desire
If we think more spiritually, achieving the state of salvation is the ultimate goal of human life. Ayurveda opens avenue for indefinite possibilities to improve the quality of human life. Health is the first among other qualities, as other depend on health. One can attain the status of highly evolved man-godly man, but for that initially he should transform himself from the status of man to super man. Thus for a common man who is willing to get success in life or want to establish him self in the society in a better way, health id\s the prerequisite.
Ayurveda’s Health Avenue
Our health status is indicator of the fact that how our body is interacting with environment. Definitely proper interaction is the key to good health. Factors responsible for the same are — diet, exercise, daily routine & seasonal regimen etc. Individual factors like Prakriti, Sattva (psyche), Vaya (age), Bala (strength), Agni (biological fires) etc. are also very important to take care of. Various other rules regarding good conduct, personal hygiene etc are integral part of the game.
Three supporting pillars of life & health
Our life expectancy and health depend on three pillars. Charaka Samhita, the ancient authoritative text of Ayurveda has given due importance to them. These are — Ahara (diet), Nidra (Sleep) and Brahmacharya (regulated sex). Proper care of these is essential to support life and health. Charaka has equated human body with a building. For making any building stable, role of pillar is undisputed. Similarly three pillars (Vata,Pitta and Kapha) and three supporting pillars are of great importance. When these three are taken care of properly, the person is well endowed with strength, complexion and development till the full life span. For easy understanding the three sub-pillars are described hereunder.
I. Ahara (Diet)
Ayurveda provides a complete and systemic understanding about the effect of food on our physical and mental functioning. This unit would help you to learn the basics of Ayurvedic dietetics including selection of food according to the constitution (Prakriti).
We know that the whole world including our body is made up of Panchamahabhutas (five basic elements). Every element or somatic component known or unknown to us are the result of panchbhautic association. To follow the nature’s law of equilibrium, consumption of panchabhautic substances is essential to maintain the status of panchabhautic components of the body. These substances are used in the form of diet.
II. Nidra (Sleep)
Try to remember any event when you had lost your sleep for hours. What was the fate of next day? Yes, it was full of dullness or in other words you could say that it was not like that of usual day, cheerful and full of energy. What was reason behind that? Of course- it was lack of adequate sleep.
Sleep is a natural function of the body. Ayurveda tells that a comfortable sleep provides a healthy body, strength, virility, sharpened senses and long life. Untimely and inadequate sleep causes various problems like fatigue, weakness, numbed sense and even sterility and many more illnesses.
Normally there is a set pattern for day and night. The day is earmarked for various activities while night is for sleep and rest. The Sun is responsible for determination of day and night. Day and night affect our body in different ways. There is variation in Doshas, efficiency of the body functions, effect on mind to make it sharper.
When we don’t follow the usual pattern of sleep it affect doshas. Daytime sleep increases kapha and make the body excessive unctuous with feeling of heaviness. Staying awaken at night increases Vata, making body dry. These doshas on vitiation causes related health problems.
Few more examples may be sufficient to understand the relation and effect of doshas with sleeping pattern. Take an example of a person who is assigned to work in night shift. Not having sleep in night will provoke Vata in his body and in near future he is going to suffer from Vata disorders like constipation, dryness of skin, disturbed appetite, lack of concentration an so many. To ward of the hazards of this condition it is advisable for that person to consume the substances in his diet, especially in breakfast, which pacify Vata. Massage with oil would be of additional benefit.
Today’s life is so fast and competitive that most of the people always remain in a state of anxiety. Anxiety vitiates vata and pitta. When Pitta grows, heat is increased which reduces the sleep. Staying awaken further enhances vitiation of Vata which develops cumulative effect on the body. This leads to related disorders. To overcome with this situation one should consume the diet with certain modifications to pacify Pitta and Vata.
III. Regulated Sex
Sex plays very crucial role in our lives. It is as important as food. We all are end result of this very act. It fulfills our life with sense of completeness, by achieving progeny and adding the moments full of excitement and pleasure. Sex could be compared to food. Taking less food produces the state of malnutrition while over intake to obesity. Similarly less and unsatisfactory sex may be the cause of more psychological disturbance, further leading to various physical upsets. Over indulgence also produces physical as well as psychological problems. As adequate intake of food according to the requirement is beneficial for our health, similarly balanced sex is the key to happy and healthy life.
You are well aware about the status of sex in western countries. Most of the person follow one rule- have more sex to get more pleasure. But are you agreeing with this? Ayurveda could help you to get appropriate answer. There may not be any universal amount of sex applicable to all. The appropriate amount of sex varies from person to person, depending upon their prakriti (constitution) age, season etc.
In India sex has been symbolized as vital force required for creation and considered sacred, therefore, got place even in temples in the form of sculptures. Sun Temple of Orrissa and Temples of Khajuraho are the best examples of it. Ancient Indian text on sexology- Kamasutra has defined the sex ‘ that which is fused with the soul and influenced by the mind, ear, skin, eye, tongue and nose, when functions related to these organs are pleasant and delightful.’
For application of Ayurvedic guidelines about sex, the person should know his bodily characteristics and exercising capabilities before indulging in the act.Controlled sexual urge is a sign of wisdom. By controlling the mind, an individual can enjoy regulated sex. This ensures a healthy and happy life.
In present trend of lifestyle, eating has become rapid and mechanical act. This is becoming a main cause to produce various hazards and ruining our health up to greater extent. Ayurveda has solution of the problem, as it considers the importance of diet up to the extreme extent. The following quote is worth mentioning-
Pathye sati gadartasya kimaushadhanishevanaih.
Pathye -asati gadartasya kimaushadhanishevanaih.
«If wholesome diet is given in a planned way then what is the need for separate medicinal treatment and if un-wholesome diet is being permitted, then what is the advantage of treatment is questionable.»
Concept of Ayurvedic dietetics is unique in sense of its individualized approach.
It considers following factors:
- Nature (Prakriti) of the Consumer.
- Taste of food articles.
- Doshika status of food articles.
- Method of preparation.
- Combination of food articles.
- Emotional effect.
- Environmental considerations.
10 Rules governing the intake of food
Ancient Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita has given Ten rules which should be followed to get maximum effect of food item, consumed:
- Take warm food.
- Take unctuous food.
- Take in proper quantity.
- Take only when the previous meal is digested.
- Take the food not having any contradictory potency.
- Take Food In proper place equipped with all the accessories.
- Take food in relaxed condition.
- Not eat too slowly.
- Avoid talking & laughing during meal.
- Take food in prescribed manner.