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Ayurveda, according to Vedic wisdom, presents a comprehensive healing system that supports our optimal expressions and highest potential of the body, mind, and spirit.
This knowledge teaches that the body, which houses the mind and spirit, is the essential vehicle for this embodied human experience to expand the soul. In order to connect deeper to these guiding principles, it is important to explore the foundational insights into the daily art of well-being, according to Ayurveda, in order to maintain overall health and fulfillment.
“The body is a boat that carries the soul in the ocean of the world. If it is not strong, or it has a hole, then it cannot cross the ocean, so the first duty is to fix the boat.” ~ Baba Hari Dass
Ayurveda, according to ancient texts, provides insight into these three pillars of health: ahara (food), nidra (sleep), and brahmacharya (right use of energy). By following these core principles, they help to establish a more balanced life, supporting the mind, body, and spirit.
Let’s explore each of these pillars:
Ahara is food (what we eat, ingest) that becomes our tissues, emotions, mental clarity, and hormones. What we ingest influences our entire experience, and how we see and feel in the world. This is more than just the food we eat. It’s what we take in and ingest through our food, water, breath, senses, emotions, and information. These influence the state of our psyche and health.
Try noticing all the simulations you are taking in through your senses. Connect to your food and notice what you are inviting into your body. How can you create time and space to cultivate deeper harmony and balance for your body to experience in everyday life? Give your senses a break and observe how your nervous system and psyche can establish a deeper sense of peace. Eat quality whole foods that are fresh and from the earth and feel the vitality of nature support a healthier body.
Nidra is sleep—how we rest and renew. This influences our overall health and longevity. When and how much we sleep affects our physiology; the brain, body, tissues, and digestion. When we don’t have a healthy sleep cycle, or go to bed by a certain time and sleep for seven to eights hours, it takes a toll on our body’s natural intelligence to distress, detox, and restore during the night.
People speak of “a second wind” that energizes them to continue to stay awake after 10 p.m. Yes, a fresh wave of energy begins then, however, that energy is to be used internally, activated by the pitta dosha from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., in order to assimilate, process, and transform. When we remain awake during these hours, we use that energy externally, causing deeper depletion over time and disrupting all body systems. The best practice is to sleep from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., waking up within one hour of sunrise, optimizing the natural intelligence of nature and our own innate cycles.
Brahmacharya, aka “right use of energy,” also refers to the right awareness and use of sexual energy. This focuses on our intimate relationship with self, others, and spiritual connection. The depth and quality of our intimate relations directly affect the health of our hearts, minds, and bodies.
Feeling connection is what we yearn for—connection to life, to humans, to nature, and to our purpose. With the right use of energy or sexual energy, it supports right movement and right awareness, allowing our energy to support our highest potentials and not deplete our tissues and vitality. When we become more aware of our capacity to create our reality, we connect to what’s important, what our purpose is, and how to direct our energy accordingly to establish our inner happiness and contentment.
Vedic wisdom is “a form of living that invokes profoundness, completeness, and true meaning.” We have the power to cultivate inner peace and balance. But it takes practice, commitment, and discipline.