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Balance your life by using a combination of healthy foods, yoga, exercise, massage, and a positive attitude
In order to follow a balanced and healthy life, Ayurveda suggests a specific daily routine for each individual.
Dinacharya is the ayurvedic term for daily routine. Following a proper dinacharya is one of the best methods to prevent disease, promote good health and prolong life. Unhealthy lifestyle can lead to problems like acidity, indigestion, stress and other lifestyle-related disorders. This approach also helps to manage these.
The daily routine is based on the individual’s basic body constitution [known as dosha].
Ayurveda emphasises on various times of the day and night, which correspond with the three doshas.
Early to bed and early to rise has been enthusiastically promoted by ayurveda. Waking up before sunrise not only helps cleanse the system better, but also helps precise planning of the day.
Tan mana bhunjeeta—total devotion or concentration while eating—has been advocated in ayurveda. So, watching television or working on a computer during meal time is a complete no-no. Eat only when hungry.
Ayurveda considers fresh and healthy food the best. It places a lot of importance on eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid food with preservatives, permitted colors, and food that has been over-cooked, burnt or seasoned with lot of spices and salt.
The quantity and quality of food as per an individual, health status, season, and age has a beneficial effect. Ayurveda advocates daily use of moong dal, honey, ghee, green gram, amla, black currants, and cardamom [elaichi] in your diet.
Along with food, it is important to practise good lifestyle habits regularly as per your body type [vata prakruti person needs to stick to daily oil massage; pitta person should reduce spices]. This is best done in consultation with an ayurveda practitioner.
Just as machines need periodical oiling to keep them running, we too need to keep our joints and bones lubricated.
Mix and heat coconut, castor, sesame or olive oils together. Cool them and preserve in a bottle. Massage your entire body with the mixed oil. After allowing the oil to soak into the skin, wash it off using besan [chick pea flour].
You can also add turmeric powder to it. An oil massage followed by hot water bath is an effective tool to prevent diseases and stay young, healthy and energetic.
Ayurveda believes in obeying nature. Natural urges like passing stools and urine, sneeze, yawn, cough, tears, vomit, hunger, and sleep should not to be controlled frequently, as it leads health problems. Tackle them as soon as you feel the urge.
Manage negative emotions like anger, jealousy, greed, unbridled lust and passion, coveting the wealth, dishonesty, and cowardice. The ability to control these is a positive step towards a healthy life.
Fear is yet another factor that keeps us away from happiness. Fear can cause discomfort, sleeplessness, and other serious diseases. Replace fear by logic and in justified fears, try to surrender yourself to God. Fear of failure may make you run away from real opportunities.
Face your fear. Positive thinking, group prayers and regular practice of yoga and meditation helps overcome negative emotions. Analyse the situation and act accordingly.
Prayer should be a part of your daily routine as it keep your immunity intact by co-coordinating the mind, body and spirit. Spending time in the company of books, honest people, and nature, is also beneficial.
Sleep when sleepy and try to maintain a regular bed time [whenever possible]. The duration of sleep changes depending on each individual, season, mental-physical exertion, and health condition.
You should feel fit, energetic and fresh when you wake up. This is an indication to determine the quality and quantity of sleep.
Avoid sleeping during daytime, if you want to enjoy perfect health, as it interferes with digestion and metabolism.
Ayurveda not only recommends a daily routine, but also seasonal routine to stay fit and fine. It advises one to undergo seasonal cleansing called panchakarma to purge the body of toxins and promote wellbeing.
This was first published in the January 2010 issue of Complete Wellbeing