Though the concept of lifestyle varies from one geographical region to another and culture. Generally, lifestyle is a way a person lives which reflects a series of activities, behavioral patterns, personal interest, interaction, etc., and is generally established by culture, group, or society. In short, how a person’s attitude shifts from sunrise to sunset defines our lifestyle. Sudden dramatic transitions and altered lifestyle is due to frequent advancement or scientific progress made by a country or part of society. Upgraded lifestyle patterns ultimately have implications on an individual’s health and the onset of various diseases.
What is an Ideal Lifestyle as per Ayurveda?
Ayurveda or knowledge of longevity originated in India around 5,000 years ago and is considered as the world’s most ancient healing and holistic sciences. This science of life enables a person to create a healthy equilibrium between mind, body, and soul according to own bodily constitution. Ayurveda mainly focuses on the maintenance of health or Swasthya Rakshanam and a healthy lifestyle to prevent diseases. According to Ayurvedic principles, a person’s health completely depends on three factors i.e. codes and conduct (Sadvritta), daily routine (Dinacharya), and seasonal regimen (Rituacharya). All these factors promote and dramatically maintain a disease-free (Nirogya) body.
What are the Chief Components of Dinacharya?
Dinacharya begins the moment you open your eyes in the morning and the art of self-care rituals which includes grounding, cleansing, meditating, and digesting. Taking this to deep discussion it consists of Brahma muhurtha utthana, Achamana, Nasya, Anjana, Jihwa nirlekhana, Abhyanga, Vyayama, Snana and Vastra dharana. All these rituals have been designed to reconnect and maintain natural circadian rhythms. Not only our dinacharya but sadvritta leads to a harmonious and ideal life. Right, conduct Madhur bhashana, Indriya vyavahara, gamana vidhi, Achara Rasayana, dharma acharana, and shareera chesta vidhi. The day one adopts and incorporates these habits in life his soul, mind, and body becomes pure.
How Ritucharya is one of the Cornerstones for a Healthy Lifestyle?
The word Ritucharya is composed of two words, “Ritu” means season and “Charya ” means daily routine or regimen. It involves an Ayurvedic diet and a healthy lifestyle which helps us to cope up with the mental and bodily impacts caused by seasonal changes. This ultimately enables our body to battle ailments and build our mental and physical strength impacts caused by variation in weather. Moreover, it helps to balance Doshas and the five elements present in our body.
According to Ayurveda, a year (year/period) has been divided into two Kaal (year/period) which further comprises three seasons each. Let us discuss types along with their diet routine and lifestyle briefly.
- Aadaan Kaal or Uttaryana: This Kaal is usually characterized by extremely powerful wind and the sun starts in January and ends in the mid of July. Aadaan Kaal is divided into three Ritus; Shishir Ritu (Winter), Vasant Ritu (Spring), and Grishma Ritu (Summer).
- Shishir Ritu– Deposition of Kapha and Agni remains high during this ritu which lowers the strength in the body. Indian traditional herbs like Amla, Pippali, Ginger, Garlic, Haritaki, etc. along with new rice, wheat flour, and corn should be included in the daily regimen. A food item that is pungent, bitter, astringent, cool, and light in nature must be avoided.
- Vasant Ritu– In this ritu Agni power stays in the manda state and the vitiation of Kapha dosha takes place. We should try to include easily digestible food (cereals, wheat, rice, barley, pulses, lentil, mugda, etc.) and that is bitter in our diet.
c)Grishma Ritu- Accumulation of Vata dosha occurs and Agni remains in mild condition. Food items having Madhura, Snigdha, Drava, and Sheeta like lentils and rice should be included in the diet.
- Visarga Kaal or Dakshinayana: Visarga Kaal initiates in the middle of July and ends in January, and comprises Varsha Ritu (Monsoon), Sharad Ritu (Autumn), and Hemant Ritu (Pre-winter).
- Varsha Ritu– Food items possessing qualities like tarty (Amla), Lavana (salty) and Sneha (unctuous) should be added to your daily diet.
- Sharad Ritu– Madhura (Sweet), Tikta (Sharp), and Laghu food items are suggested to include in your daily diet which mollifies Pitta dosha
- Hemant Ritu– One should incorporate fats, meats, dairy products, green gram, Masha, and new rice in the daily regimen.
Unfolding Healing Power of Mantra Meditation
“Amantram akṣaram nāsti, nāsti mūlam anauṣaḍham
Ayogyaḥ puruṣo nāsti, yojakas tatra durlabhaḥ”
This verse means no syllable in the world cannot be considered as a mantra and a root which is a medicine; no human on this earth is not born with a purpose but it takes skills to identify these things. While growing up as a kid we Indian have heard the echo of seed mantras like “Oṃ gaṃ gaṇapataye Namah” and “Om Namah Shivaya” coming from the temple or by our grandparents. The real power of these mantras can be seen when properly articulated.
In Ayurveda, mantras are known to have the capability of healing various organs and systems in the body. For instance; hrīm for eyes, rm for ears, and hrum for the liver which have further extensions also which if recited with mindfulness can have positive impacts. There are certain longer mantras like the Maha Mrtyunjaya mantra which if recited 108 times daily can heal many ailments.
“Oṃ tryambakam yajāmahe sugandhim puṣṭi vardhanam
Urvā rukam iva bandhanān mṛtyor mukṣīya māmṛtāt”
All the Sanskrit mantras exist to honor the aspects of nature, forces, and different deities which activate energy all over the body. Chanting mantras creates powerful sound peaks and this uttering of sounds known as Nada Yoga.
Moreover, Meditation is one of the three aspects of Yoga which reaches to our prana and consciousness and helps us to connect with inner self. This is the key traditional practice behind an authentic holistic lifestyle.
How Proper Sleep or Nidra is Important to Keep Yourself Healthy?
It is mentioned in Ayurvedic scriptures that there are three Upa-stambha (sub-posts) i.e. Ahara (food), Swapna (Nidra), and Brahmacharya (God-consciousness) which are important for Swasthya (Health). Nidra has been explained as Sukhakar (Happiness giver), Balya kar (Strengthening), and Jeevankar (Life-giving). It is believed that nourishment, strength, life, death, knowledge, sterility, and weakness all depend on sleeping patterns. According to Sushruta, when mental channels (Manovaha srotas) start getting accumulated with mucus (Shelshma) then our mind starts getting fatigued and a person falls asleep. We should avoid sleeping during the first and last parts of the night as Nidra is considered as Ratrisvabhava Prabhava.
We are in charge of our growth and health; balance towards health and lifestyle depends on how dedicated you are towards your Dinacharya. There is no doubt that old habits take time to go but are hard at the same time but making changes is very important.