Ayurveda is an ancient science of life that emphasizes on maintenance and promotion of health and prevention of diseases through various dietary and lifestyle regimens and treatment of diseases through various therapeutic measures substantiating the principle “Swasthasya Swasthya Rakshanam” i.e preserving the health of healthy persons and “Aturashya Vikar Prasamanam” i.e curing the diseases of diseased. Ayurveda propounds Dincharya and Ratricharya (daily routine), Ritucharya (seasonal activities), Dietary guidelines and Sadvritta (code of conduct for mental health) for maintenance, promotion of health and prevention of ailments; Panchakarma (purification therapy) and various medications for diseases and Rasayanas (rejuvenatives) to enhance health and quality of life. Common spices and herbs easily available are utilized in treatment, Rasayanas are used for promotion of longevity and purification procedures Panchakarmas remove toxins from the body. Followings are dietary and lifestyle interventions as per Ayurveda that one should follow in order to achieve healthier life.
- Dinacharya (Daily Regimen)
Dinacharya is the daily routine to be followed to remain healthy. Followings are the simple routines for a refreshing and rejuvenating day.
1. Pratarutthanam: Get up early in the morning before two hours of sunrise (Brahma Muhurta). it is considered to be the purest time of the day. The body is well rested. The mind is alert, focused and peaceful.
Contraindication: In condition of indigestion and any disease conditions.
2. Ushapana / Achaman: After waking, wash hands and feet and drink 04 Anjali ( a cup formed by joining two palms of the hand) lukewarm/ normal water preferably in a copper or clay vessel.
Benefits: Regular habit of drinking water at early morning helps easy passage of motion and urine, enhance digestive power, minimize the diseases related to digestive system and delayed ageing.
3. Malamutra visarjan (Voidings of natural urges): It is beneficial to inculcate the habit of voiding natural urges in the morning.
Benefits: It helps to maintain health and prevention of diseases. A tendency to suppress the natural urges (Vega Vidharan) is the root cause of many diseases.
4. Dantadhavan (cleaning teeth and tounge): After defecation, clean teeth preferably astringent, pungent or bitter plants such as Arka, Nimba, Nyagrodha, Khadira, Karanja, etc. After cleaning teeth, the tongue should be scrapped by curve scrappers. Teeth also may be cleaned with the fine powder of Triphala (Haritaki, Bibhitaki and Amalaki) or Trikatu (Sunthi, Pippali and Maricha) added to honey.
Benefits: Brushing the teeth removes the accumulated filth and helps in appreciating taste.
After cleaning the teeth and tongue, salt water gargling should be done to keep gums, mouth and throat healthy.
5. Nasyakarm / Nasal medication: Apply 3-5 drops of sesame oil/ ghee or medicated oil viz. Anutaila into each nostril in the morning regularly.
Benifits: It keeps eyes, ears, nose, head, shoulder healthy, prevents wrinkles, baldness and early greying of hair. It also alleviates diseases like headache, paralysis, sinusitis, mental disorder, spondylitis and skin complaints, relieves the tiredness, improves eye sight and increases the strength of teeth.
Contraindication: It should not be applied in toxic conditions, indigestion, respiratory diseases and after child birth.
6. Gandush (Gargling)( Oral cleansing techniques)
Fill the oral cavity completely with lukewarm or coldwater mixed with paste of tila taila (sesame oil) /ghee/ cold milk/ honey / honey mixed water and hold till the tears come out of eyes and nostrils OR Gargle with either of above regularly.
Benefits: It enhances the efficiency of sense organs; removes wrinkles; delayed graying of hair, black circles on face; removes and prevents cracking and roughness of the lips, excessive salivation, dry face, tingling sensation, shaky teeth, diseases of oral cavity, anorexia, loss of taste, impaired vision, sore throat, etc.
7. Abhyangam (Oil massage)
After above process, massage oil to the whole body particularly on head, ears and feet with sesame oil/ mustard oil or coconut oil. Medicated oils may also be used.
Benefits: It increases softness and unctuousness skin and muscles; helps in free movement of joints ; increases circulation of blood; enhances the strength of head and forehead and makes hair black, long and deep-rooted; helps in getting sound sleep, increases hearing power and helps in maintenance of health.
* Oil massage of feet especially before sleeping in night improves eyesight, relieves fatigue and stiffness of feet.
8. Vyayama / Exercise / Yoga: Do regular exercise to remain healthy till the appearance of sweat on forehead and axilla.
Benefits: It increases the blood circulation and efficiency of lungs, increases stamina and resistance against disease. Regular walking enhances memory, improves digestion and efficiency of sense organs.
Precaution: Careful selection and extent of exercise should be done in diseases like cough, tuberculosis, heart diseases, etc.
9. Kshaur Karma (Cutting of hair and nails)
Shaving, cutting nail and hair, etc. should be done regularly i.e. maximum once in 5 days. It imparts lightness to the body and makes one cheerful.
10. Udvartana (Massage of herbal powder):
Massage of herbal powder over the body after excercise in the opposite direstion of hair root.
Benefits: It reduces fat, cleanses the skin and imparts firmness to the limbs, improves complexion and cures itches and eruptions.
11. Snana (Bath)
After that take bath with neither very hot nor very cold water.
Benefits: It removes dirt, sweat, itching, thirst, burning sensation and exhaustion. It also improves appetite, longevity, courage and strength. Bathing in warm water also gives strength, but warm water should not be poured over head otherwise it causes loss of strength of the hairs and eyes.
Contradictions: Bathing is not recommended in people suffering from facial paralysis, diseases of eye, mouth, ear, flatulence, sinusitis, indigestion, diarrhoea and immediately after food intake.
12. Dhyanam (Meditation)
For a few minutes to an hour sit in Peace for just a little while and meditate. Be quiet for some time and try and introspect. The whole day, indeed the whole world, revolves around meditation. Meditation is a key part of the Dinacharya as it helps in self-awareness.
- Diet should be regulated taking into account the desha(region), kala (time and season, and habit.
- Food should be tasty, fresh and good in appearance.
- Food should be taken in calm and comfortable manner at proper place in proper utensils to maintain hygiene
- A wholesome diet is essential for maintaining health and also for fighting diseases. Diet should be planned to include all the six rasas (taste) i.e sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent.
- Madhur (sweet) rasa food like fruits are advisable to be consumed in the beginning of meal, food with Amla(sour) and Lavana (salty) rasa in the middle and Katu(bitter),Tikta (astringent), Kashaya (pungent) foods should be taken at the end of the meal.
- Diet should be balanced diet in terms of nutrients and quantity as per digestive capacity.
- Do not eat incompatible food items such as milk with fish, eating raw and cooked foods together, salt and milk, cooking honey or honey and ghee in equal quantity, eating fruits with starchy food such as potato etc.
- The diet especially hard substances should be properly chewed and should not be eaten too fast, too slow and while talking, laughing or watching television.
- Intake of curd or whey should follow food wherever possible
- Food should neither be very hot nor absolutely cold
- Water should be avoided at least 15minutes before food. Water can be drunk often and quantity of water after food shall be small.
- Avoid dry food. Intake of little oily food will facilitate in digestion and improve nutrient absorption.
- Next meal should be taken after proper digestion of previous meal.
- Guru (heavy) food should be taken in limited quantity.
- Guru (heavy) food should not be taken at night. Dinner should be taken 2-3 hours prir to going to sleep. After dinner it is better to go for a short walk say of hundred steps.
- After meals heavy mental or physical work should be avoided. Some rest is advisable for proper digestion of food.
- Ratricharya (Routine at night)
1. Ratribhojan ( Dinner) should be taken at least three hours before bedtime. It should be lighter than lunch consisting of only easily digestible food and consumed in warm state. Avoid consuming curd at night. Walk a hundred steps after dinner then lie in left lateral position for 10-15min.
2. Sleep ( Nindra) is overcomes wear and tear of the body due to physical work and mental stress and tissue loss. The amount of sleep necessary is more in case of children and old individuals whereas for an adult on an average 6-7hrs of sleep. Sleeping during the day and late at night should be avoided. However if one keeps awake at night, then can take some sleep in the day time. Day sleep is not contraindicated in summer. But in winter day sleep causes respiratory and digestive troubles. It is advisable to massage the head, sole and palm with oil before going to bed.