What is health??
According to WHO, Health is defined as a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
Thus lifestyle which not only concentrate on physical health of person but also mental and spiritual health is included under healthy Lifestyle.
Healthy person according to Ayurveda is:
“sama dosha sama agnischa sama dhatu mala kriyaaha|
Prasanna atma indriya manaha swastha iti abhidheeyate” – Sushruta Samhita
Acharya Sushruta has described that the Doshas must be in equilibrium, the digestive fire must be in balanced state and the tissue (Dhatus) and Malas (wastes) must worth in normal state.
The Sensory and Motor organs and Mind, Atoms must be in pleasant state. Such a person is stated as Healthy person.
Health of an individual can be known by following aspects.
- Proper nourishment.
- Proper strength.
- Desire and appetite for intake of food.
- Proper digestion of food ingested at proper time.
- Sleep at proper time.
- Absence of pathological or dreadful dreams.
- Feeling of freshness after waking up in the morning.
- Proper evacuation of faeces, urine, and flatus at the proper time.
- Proper functioning of mental faculties, intelligence and senses in all respect.
- Absence of any kind of pain.
Ayurveda and Lifestyle Ailments.
Ayurveda the science of life primarily aims to preserve the human structure by:
1. Protection of healthy state (swasthrakshan)
2. Cure of sick state (vikarprashamanam)
In other words its mission is to preserve health.
How It can be Achieved?
In healthy person state of health is achieved by three important components:
1. Dincharya-Daily regimen
2. Ritucharya-Seasonal regimen
3. Rasayana Therapy – Longevity promoting medications and practices.
Dincharya: It is Dincharya are ideal Daily Life routine instructions which if followed as life style shall prevent life style related ailments.
This not only helps in provision of physical health but also helps attain mental and social health.
Components of Dincharya:
1. When to get up.
3. Brushing, bath, oleation, etc.
5. Social behavior
6. Sleep, etc.
7.Other mandatory components of dincharya can be retention of abnormal physical urges and retention of abnormal mental urges (vega adharan and vega dharan)
When To Get up:
- Ideal time is brahm – mahurta i,e between 4.00 to 6.00 am
- One should ideally have 6-8 hour sleep.
- That makes it ideal that one sleeps early
- People who regularly work at night can sleep during day as a habit.
- Lack of sleep disturbs bio-rhythm with physical and mental ailments.
- That is why nidra is one of up- stamba of life.
Regular exercise gives feeling of:
- Lightness (Laguta),
- Improves working capacity (Karyasamarth),
- Potentates appetite (Diptagni)
- Leads to loss of body fat ( Medokshaya)
- Strengthens body tissues esp. muscles.
- Vayajama should be performed to the extent of “Ardhabala” or limit it to time till one start mouth breathing.
- Ayurveda believes that diet should be as per season, age but it should be balanced both from point of view of quality and quantity.
- It should be “shadrasa”
Food Habits to be Avoided:
- Aakal annasavan – irregular timing.
- Atimatra – over feeding.
- Asatamaya – taking intolerable/undesirable diet.
- Visham-ashan – incompatible diet.
Indulgence in such dietary habits is called in ayurveda as “mithyaahara”
Like Ahara nidra is also considered as a pillar of health
While adequate sleep assures good nutrition, strength, potency, capacity to retain learned knowledge, etc.
Continuous lack of sleep leads to loss of energy and body weight, impotence, difficulty in retaining learned knowledge and may in long run vitiate entire bio-rhythm and cause even death.
These are primarily set of instructions which if ideally followed as per season shall help individual to physically and biologically to a particular season as well as make him free of seasonal ailments.
These include-dietetic instructions, clothing instructions as well as some behavioral practices which besides other guidelines include bio-purification as per seasonal needs.
Vasant (Spring) (Feb–March to March–April)
- Food to be taken: (Yava) Barley, Godhuma (Wheat),In non-veg- Light cooked meat, fermented beverages (alcoholic), Shunthi, Motha, Asana saadhit Water
- Food not to be taken: Heavy, Sour, Sweet, Unctuous
- Activities: Vamana (Emesis), Dry Massage, More physical activity, Gargling
- Common Diseases: Shwasa, Kasa, Pratishyay(Respiratory allergies/ disorders), Agnimandhya, Ajirna etc.
Greeshma (Summer) (April–May to May–June)
- Food to be taken: Sweet, Cold, Liquid and Unctuous Drinks & Food items, Manth, Sharbata, Light cooked non-veg items, Ghrit and Milk, Plenty of Water
- Food not to be taken: Alcoholic beverages, Lavan, Katu, Amla, Ushant
- Activities: Divaswap- Nap during day time, Stay in cooled place, indulge in forest, cold water and flowers. Should not indulge in sexual activity and excessive physical exertion.
- Common Diseases: Sun stroke, Exhaustion, Aruchi, Trishna etc.
Varsha (Monsoon / Rainy) (June–July to July–Aug)
- Food to be taken: Drinks & Diet mixed with Honey,Amla, Lavana & Sneha- on the day of excessive raining to counteract the aggravation of Vata, Old cereals- Barley (Yava), Godhuma (Wheat), Shali Rice, Processed Yusha (Soup) of grains, Grape wine and Arishta (withhoney)
- Food not to be taken: Watery demulcent drinks, Impure / contaminated water
- Activities: Dry massage (Udvartana), Stay in less humid place, Wearing garlands, perfumes. Avoid day sleeping, excessive physical exercise, sexual intercourse, exposure to sun
- Common Diseases: Amlapitta, endemics like cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, skin diseases.
Sharad (Autumn) (Aug.-Sept. to Sept.-Oct.)
- Food to be taken: Madhura (Sweet), Sheet (Cold),Laghu, Tikta (Bitter), Shali Rice, Godhuma (Wheat), Moonga, Yava, Madhu, Ghrita with Tikta (Bitter) medicaments. Food which subsides Pitta
- Food not to be taken: Vasa (Fatty tissue), Oil, Meat of aquatic animals, Dahi (Curd), Kshara (Alkaline preparations)
- Activities: Wearing garlands, Exposure to moonlight in the night, No day time sleep
- Common Diseases: Amlapitta, Sheetpitta, Kandu etc.
Hemant (Early Winter) (Oct.-Nov. to Nov.-Dec.)
- Food to be taken: Heavy food (Unctuous), Newly ripened rice and other grains, Heavy Non-veg preparations, Snighdha, Madhur, Amla, Lavana, Wine, Madhu (Honey), Milk & Ikshu (sugarcane) products, Wine and other alcoholic beverages.
- Food Not to be taken: Vatavardhak, Laghu (Light Moonga), Ruksha (Dry- without oil)
- Activities: Oil Massage, Application of Oil over head, Sunbath, Utsadana (Massage), Residing in warm underground chamber, Wearing of heavy, woollen cloths, use of thick blankets, unlimited indulgence into sexual activities
- Common Diseases: Sandhi stabdhta, Sandhi shool, Pratishyay, Swasa, Kasa etc.
Shishir (Winter) (Dec.-Jan. to Jan–Feb.)
- Food to be taken: Same as that of Hemant
- Activities: Same as that of Hemant in addition remain in Less ventilated and more warm place.
As per Classical Ayurvedic reference, there are three poles for balanced healthier life in Ayurveda.
1) Ahara (Food)
2) Nidra (Sleep) and
3) Brahmacharya (Shukra raksha and happiness).
Brahmacharya, one of the three pillars of Ayurveda. In Sanskrit language, Brahmacharya means movement in a great-awareness. In Brahmacharyashram – ‘Brahmacharya’ means dedication towards gaining education. This knowledge or education that is needed to attain eventual means, as there is: business, a job, trade etc., requires to be maintained during this period, therefore here abstinence from any other distractions is described as Brahmacharya.
In todays modern world people have adopted many unhealthy foods and life style which causes many life style disorders and in future it will affect the younger population too.
So, to avoid this we all should follow the ayurvedic Ahara (Diet) methodology i.e. Acharya has explained some rules i.e, healthy diet, Ahara vidhivisheshaaytanas, Aharaparinamkar bhavas and knowledge of viruddha ahara. We have to follow healthy life style also.
Thus all will help us to manage and prevent the life style disorders. Hence we conclude that our diet not only influence our physical nutrition but also our mental and spiritual health.
In this modern era we need to adopt all the methodology describe in Ayurveda to live healthy life.