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 is the daily routine to be followed to remain healthy. Followings are the simple routines for a refreshing and rejuvenating day.
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.
1. Ratribhojan ( Dinner)
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 10-15 min.
2. Sleep ( Nindra)
Sleep 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 6-7 hrs 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.