Overview Ayurvedic Lifestyle Management
Ayurveda is a health practice that approaches in a holistic way to promote the health and cure the diseases by integrating body, mind and soul through Ahar (diet), Vihar(lifestyle) and Aushadh (medicine). Classical texts have defined Ayurveda as a form of knowledge which basically deals with the way of living and consequences of such lifestyles, factors that are wholesome and unwholesome for it, longevity, and about Ayu (life) in itself. Ayurveda considers the span of life is dependent on the lifestyle one follows and it teaches its learner how to increase the span of a healthy life.
In a broad view, the lifestyle of a person can be comprehended as a sum of his/her actions and thoughts, displayed in the form of habits, behaviour, dietary and living pattern. All these physical and mental activities are ultimately under psychological and innate control. Disturbance in the commencement, control, and coordination of any activity leads to the derangement of lifestyle and results in disorder. This has been described by Ayurveda as Pragya-aparadha, one of the three reasons for the origin of a disease.
For the Remedy Of Pragya-Aparadha, Ayurveda suggests the practice of:
- Dinacharya (daily regimen)
- Ritucharya (seasonal regimen)
- Sadvritta(code of conduct).
Dincharya is composed of two words ‘Dina’ meaning day and ‘charya’ meaning activities. It can be summarized as:
- Early rising – 48 minutes prior to sunrise
- Evacuation – Bowels, Urination
- Brushing teeth – with a fresh stick of astringent drugs like Neem, Khadir
- Nasal Drops – Two drops of Anu Taila
- Mouth wash – with medicated oils or decoction
- Oleation – daily application of oil on body parts
- Exercise – Exert to half of one’s strength
- Bath – Use of lukewarm water for bathe, except on head region
- Meditation – Sit in peace and introspect the whole day
- Sleep – In a calm and pleasant environment
Diet should be managed according to time, season, habit and region. An ideal amount of diet is considered as the one which gets digested in time and without disturbing the balance of doshas. Food should consist of all the six rasa (taste) and enriched with nutrients. Madhur (sweet) foods should be taken at the beginning; Amla (sour) and Lavan (salty) foods at the middle and Katu (pungent), Tikta (bitter) and Kashaya (astringent) food should be taken at the end of the meal. Next meal should be taken only after the proper digestion of the previous meal. Food should be hygenic and should be taken in a calm and comfortable manner.
Following these regimens help to regularize biological clock, aids in digestion, and generates discipline, peace, happiness, and longevity.
The concept of Ritucharya or seasonal regimen is based on the observation that physiology of body shows relative changes with changes in seasons, and hence in order to adapt properly with such changes, we need to manage our dietary habit and lifestyle.
Ayurveda considers six seasons in a year namely
- Hemanta (Mid-November to Mid-January)
- Sishir (Mid-January to Mid-March)
- Vasanta (Mid-March to Mid-May)
- Grishma (Mid-May to Mid-July)
- Varsha (Mid-July to Mid-September)
- Sharad (Mid-September to Mid-November)
From Sishir to Grishma strength of body and digestive power decreases gradually, while the opposite occurs from Varsha to Hemanta. In accordance with these changes, dietary habit and lifestyles need to be adjusted.
Sadvritta consists of principles of ethics of every aspect of life. It includes mainly the following:
- Cheerful disposition
- Control over senses and appetite
- Faithfulness and respect
- Company of humble, kind and moral people
Sadvritta encompasses the social dimension of the health of an individual. These codes of conduct are an effective means to improve the attitude and reaction of an individual towards different social circumstances.
Many factors related to individual health and quality of life are connected to lifestyle. In the present context of consumerism and technological advances, most of us have been the prey of our own unhealthy habits. So the application of teachings in the classical texts of Ayurveda can be really helpful in managing our lifestyle.