Ayurveda is the ancient Indian system of natural and holistic medicine and lifestyle. Ayurveda literally means ‘science of long life’. So this is not just about herbal medicines, but also about ‘pathya’ i.e. what to eat and what not to eat & about the whole lifestyle; daily routine.
Here are some simple and effective tips from Ayurveda. These simple things if followed, can transform the life of a person.
1) Eat quietly with a pleasant mood and chew the food properly. The ideal is to chew the food 32 times. If that is difficult, then we should chew at least 16 times. It is very important to chew the food thoroughly. This way body will assimilate the food thoroughly and you will get maximum nutritive benefit out of the food. One should fully focus on the food and try to avoid other distracting activities such as reading, talking, watching television etc. during the meals.
2) Never drink water immediately after food. That would be a blunder. It will interfere with digestion process and make it sluggish, causing serious digestive problems such as flatulence, acidity, gas formation. Drink water, one hour after the meal. That is the time when body is actually asking for water. During meal you can have little water. This will quench the thirst and prevent the mouth from getting dry.
3) Eat only freshly prepared food because that is easy to digest and body can fully absorb the nutrition from it. If the food is not fresh, then even if it is nutritious, it does no good to the system. Such food is devoid of vital energy. The nutrition part starts getting chemically damaged after a certain time period. That is why the seasonal food is always better then cold stored frozen food. Microwave oven is not a good idea. It alters the natural chemical structure of the food.
4) Use spices in your food. Spices such as cumin, turmeric, dry ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, asafoetida, black pepper, bishops weed etc. not only add flavor & aroma to the food but they also aid in the digestion process and supply required minerals to the system. They are good for metabolism and they help in maintaining health of internal organs. Some have antioxidants and they lower the inflammations in body.
5) Pass urine immediately after having the main meals. This will flush out the toxins and protect the health of kidneys and keep the kidneys active. This is a simple tip and yet very important for health.
6) Go to sleep early at night and rise early with sun. Ayurveda says that this will keep your whole system in good shape and will help you to feel happy and fit. Sleeping late and getting up late is contrary to the natural rhythm of the body. Those who rise early regularly have a calm & focused mind and a happy disposition. Those who find it difficult should start doing it and after some days it becomes easy as it naturally starts happening to the biological system.
7) In morning after getting up, splash your eyes with fresh water or rose water because during the night, dirt collects in edges of the eyes. It is very important to clean the eyes in morning. The eyes get dehydrated during the night and water splash will cool them. This will also keep your eyesight strong. One should also do the eye exercises, moving the eyeballs up & down and left & right.
8) Take proper care of cleaning the teeth. Ayurveda establishes a direct relation between health of teeth and digestive system. If teeth and gums are clean and healthy, the digestive system will also be strong. Ayurveda also suggests that after brushing your teeth, you should rinse your mouth with warm sesame oil for 2 -3 minutes and then spit it. This way you get rid of many bacteria. Then massage the gums with index finger. This will ensure the health of your teeth and gums. Also remember to scrape your tongue to remove the toxic buildup. If you do not do that, then the toxins will get reabsorbed by the body causing further problems.
9) As soon as you get up in morning, drink water and go to the toilet to empty the colon and bladder. Make it a habit. This is a must. If you have a habit of delaying going to defecate, that would build up toxins in the body and also cause serious gastric problems. Irregular bowel habits are the root cause of many other deceases and complications.
10) Have a proper breakfast because body is in need of nutrition at the start of a new day. Digestive capacity of the body is best in the morning. We are able to digest the food which we find heavy to digest during rest of the day. Skipping breakfast will disturb the system and reduce vitality, immunity and overall well being.
11) After lunch drink buttermilk. Buttermilk is liquid left behind after churning butter out of cream. It aids digestion and is very nutritive. It is so easy to digest that people with very weak digestive system can also digest it. Ayurveda sings elaborate praises of this drink. Mix a little roasted cumin powder, coriander and mint to make it tastier and healthier.
12) Exercise and physical hard work is essential for making the body strong, feeling light and active, and able to properly digest the eaten food. Even if you eat nutritious food, you will not be able to digest it due to lack of physical exercise. Yoga is the best form of exercise. But others like swimming and brisk morning walk are also good. Daily exercise will arrest the aging process.
13) Ayurveda says ‘drink milk’, it’s a complete food. It is a unique nutrition which nourishes all the tissues. It helps us in developing emotional balance and a happy disposition. But one must procure milk from reliable sources so that it is uncontaminated. It is not good to drink chilled milk just after taking it out from refrigerator. Best is to have it lukewarm. Those who have mucus building tendency can add a pinch of turmeric powder to the milk. Those who find it difficult to digest milk can add a pinch of cardamom to the milk. That makes it easy to digest. Cow milk is always preferable as compared to others.
14) Oil your body. Take periodical massages. They improve circulation and nourish the skin, nerves and muscles. They are an excellent stress reliever. After massage one should relax for a little while. Head massages are also recommended. Ayurveda also suggests that you can do daily self massage with the oil, in the morning before taking bath. That could be of just 5-10 minutes.
15) Make a practice to sit alone silently and practice some kind of meditation. It is essential to relax and calm down the mind and be with your own self. Meditation is a beautiful experience. This will heal you and give you lot of inner strength. You will be able to make better choices and will not get irritated on small issues. The right and left hemisphere of the brain will start working in coordination and synchronicity.
16) Sweating is important as the toxins are constantly released through the minute pores on the skin. It also cools down the internal heat of the body. After bath one should properly rub the skin with the dry towel to keep the skin pores open, to let out the sweat without any obstruction.
17) Avoid food of extreme temperatures. Very hot and very cold food is not in sync with the body. Don’t drink chilled water or any chilled liquid as it weakens the gums and teeth. Also, do not have cold drink immediately after consuming hot food. Ayurveda advocates moderation in temperature of food.
18) Do not waste your energy by speaking too much. Huge amount of energy is wasted by useless laud talk. Conserve the energy by speaking only as much as really required. There is no point in making meaningless conversations.
19) Connect with the nature. Go to the garden, be with trees & flowers, listen to the birds. Go to a mountain or a beach. Appreciate the sand, fresh breeze and sunlight. This bonding with the nature will have a very soothing and inspiring effect. This will also help you to develop a positive attitude in any situation, even when you are surrounded by negativities. It cultivates hope and optimism.
20) Dinner should not be heavy and it should be taken at least 2 hours before going to sleep. This will help in proper digestion of the food. These days due to modern lifestyle, late night heavy dinners have become a habit for many people. They take a very heavy toll on the health. One should be particular about changing this bad habit. With little awareness, discipline and commitment, it is possible to do that.