Ayurveda is a comprehensive medical system which has been practiced for generations.
Originating from India, more than 5,000 years ago, Ayurveda teaches self-knowledge and self-discovery. It mainly encourages people to learn who they are, what helps them stay healthy and pinpoints why they get sick.
This healing system believes that each person is born with an individual constitution. It’s a science of life which focuses on the subtle energies in all things—including our emotions, thoughts and actions.
Each person’s constitution is based on a particular relationship of three fundamental and vital energies, or doshas, which are known by their Sanskrit names of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These three doshas are the heart of Ayurveda.
Ideally, only a trained Ayurvedic physician can assess our constitution. Sometimes more than one dosha can predominate our constitution. However, no matter which dosha we are assessed with, Ayurveda stresses tips that maximize our healthy enjoyment of living.
Ayurveda considers that everything we do has particular doshic characteristics; the way we eat, sleep, work and enjoy ourselves.
Below are nine routines that will help balancing our doshas, according to Ayurvedic healing:
1. Watching less television.
Watching too much television increases our doshas due to the passive nature of watching. In Ayurveda, the principle of “like increases like” is important; for example, if the overall quality of a program has negative emotions, these will manifest in our life.
Ayurveda directs us to be selective in our viewing and listening, so we can take in only those subtle qualities we would like to have. Hence, we should to our best to stay away from fearful news or a negative series.
2. Using computers less.
Computers have become part of modern life, in both the workplace and home. However, spending too much time working or playing with a computer will increase our doshas level. The speed at which the information on the screen changes, the flickering of the screen and the repetitive sensory all disturb our vata.
Ayurveda advises to massage our face, hands and forearms when we are working on a computer. It encourages taking frequent breaks, preferably in fresh air, moving and stretching our body—particularly the fingers, hands, arms and shoulders. Additionally, we should rest the eyes at least three to four times a day.
Ayurveda considers taking vacations pivotal, as they give us a chance to change scene, break from commitments and practice relaxation. Moreover, the type of vacation we take will affect our doshas. This is why we must select a vacation that has the right qualities to help balance our lifestyles.
Although the way we exercise must be suitable for our constitution, almost everyone will benefit from exercising. Yoga, walking and swimming are good exercise for all constitutional types, balancing for all three doshas and can be done alone or with others.
Exercise needn’t be limited to times when we have an hour to spare. Ayruveda advises that small amounts of exercise during the day are beneficial. A short walk after eating will aid digestion. Also, we should cultivate the habit of stretching if we have to sit for long periods of time.
5. Morning routine.
Ayurveda believes that our bodies readily adapt to our habits, thus it is important to establish a routine that contributes to improving our health. Our morning routine is of great benefit. Ayurveda suggests to choose one of the following routines: cheerfully greeting ourselves in the mirror, as a reminder to love ourselves, oil our skins, take a hot or warm shower or bath, do some stretching exercise and dress in clean, fresh, comfortable clothes.
According to Ayurveda, a satisfying sexual union between two people brings increased health, vitality and immunity. Though touch and smell are the primary senses associated with intimacy, every sense should be satisfied. Intimacy is heightened with pleasant surroundings such as flowers, soft music and sweet foods. Healthy sex also needs the clarity of total awareness.
Unsatisfying sex, however, disturbs the emotions and thus the doshas.
Ayurveda recommends a complete digestion of all the day’s mental and emotional experiences to have a good night’s sleep. If we find it hard to sleep, however, we should train our mind and body that going to bed means going to sleep. Ayurveda advises to have set bedtime, preferably between 10 and 11 p.m. It is also beneficial to massage our head and feet with sesame oil, prior to bed.
Additionally, a pleasant bedroom is necessary to maintain a good night’s sleep. It’s recommended to use fresh bed linens, soft lighting and gentle music. We shouldn’t have any television or reading matter by the bed, other than perhaps a book of inspirational quotes.
Ayurveda stresses the importance of oiling ourselves at least three times a week as it counteracts skin dryness and reduces anxiety. Sesame oil is favoured in Ayurveda. Nevertheless, we should always oil within one hour of eating, not before. We shouldn’t massage areas that are painful or oil if we have a medical condition. Pregnant women shouldn’t use oil without first consulting their medical adviser.
A short method of applying oil, which can be used at night to bring calmness and aid sleep, is to apply oil to the head and feet. Massaging the scalp is also beneficial as it brings a sense of calmness and tranquility.
Meditation maintains emotional and mental health by allowing us to be aware of “who we really are.” Meditation can be practiced by spending 10 minutes every morning and evening, letting our mind be still. We can live our whole life as meditation. Ayurveda recommends taking few moments (at different times during the day) to consciously observe how our body is feeling. We can do it at the bus stop, at the desk, while driving or while preparing a meal.
Practicing meditation for 10 minutes can help quiet the mind. Consciously noting the state of our everyday mind will control the little voice that is always chattering in our heads.
To experience the benefits of Ayurveda we need to apply it. We should have confidence and trust in ourselves. Additionally, we should observe the variety of experiences that arise in the mind and body, so we can have a better understanding of our doshas.
To make big changes we should start with small steps. Good luck!
Author: Elyane Yousef
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
Photo: flickr/Global Panorama