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Living Ayurveda- Natural Practices for Mind, Body, and Spirit

The word Ayurveda is derived from the Sanskrit language, Ayur (life) and Veda (science or knowledge) which makes it “the science of Life”, Ayurveda is a holistic approach to health and wellness originating in India over 5000 years ago. It focuses on maintaining balance within the body, mind, and spirit through natural means.

The Indians have practiced Ayurveda since the 2nd Century BC. Ayurveda was first mentioned in Atharva Veda. Later, from the 6th Century BC to the 7th Century AD there was a systematic development of science called the Samhita period, when several authors produced many classical works. During this period there is evidence of organized medical care.

Fundamental Principles of Ayurveda.

Five Elements and Three Doshas: Ayurveda views the universe as the composition of five elements – Space, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. These three doshas are formed by combining:

  • Vata – Space and Air 
  • Pitta – Fire and Water
  • Kapha – Water and Earth

Each dosha has distinct characteristics and influences physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Prakriti: Another fundamental principle of Ayurveda is Prakriti, It describes a person’s specific nature as defined by the ratio of the three doshas in their body. Prakriti influences personality, strengths, weaknesses, and susceptibility to diseases. Maintaining or restoring dosha harmony according to one’s Prakriti is a key goal in Ayurveda.

How We Can Practice Ayurvedic.

Daily Routine (Dinacharya) :

Daily Routine plays a very crucial role in our body and our mind. It helps boost self-esteem, Stress Reduction, and Increase productivity. Going to bed early is one of the best ways to retain excellent health, according to Ayurveda. Try to be in bed by 10 pm, as it is said that the body detoxifies and renews itself between 10 pm and 2 am. Switch off your devices an hour before you wish to be sleeping, and don’t bring your gadgets with you into the bed.

Diet and Digestion: 

What we eat and how we eat are very important because we become what we eat. Eat three meals a day. Choose your meals very wisely. We must have all six tastes—sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent—in each meal and chew food properly to make food digestion easy. Properly chewing food prevents overeating. If you are feeling overly emotional, it can lead to poor digestion. So, eat in silence and appreciate your food.

Seasonal Routine( Ritucharya): 

Ritucharya, an ancient Ayurvedic practice, combines “Ritu” meaning season, and “charya” meaning regimen. It offers lifestyle and dietary guidelines to navigate the effects of seasonal changes on both body and mind. By following Ritucharya, we enhance physical strength and mental resilience, and guard against seasonal ailments. It ensures balance among the body’s three doshas, promoting overall well-being throughout the year.

According To Ayurveda, there are 6 Seasons

1. Adaan Kaal (Northern Solstice/Uttaryana): January 14 to July 14

  • Shishir Ritu (Winter): Mid-January to Mid-March

Cold, windy conditions; focus on warm, nourishing foods.

  • Vasant Ritu (Spring): Mid-March to Mid-May

Transition to warmer weather; emphasize light, easily digestible foods.

  • Grishma Ritu (Summer): Mid-May to Mid-July

Intense heat; opt for cooling, hydrating foods.

2. Visarga Kaal (Southern Solstice/Dakshinayana): July 14 to January 14

  • Varsha Ritu (Monsoon): Mid-July to Mid-September

Rainy season; favor sour and salty foods, avoid heavy meals.

  • Sharad Ritu (Autumn/Fall): Mid-September to Mid-November

Moderating temperatures; include sweet and light foods in the diet.

  • Hemant Ritu (Late Autumn/Pre-Winter): Mid-November to Mid-January

Cool, dry weather; consume nourishing, oily foods, and maintain warmth.

Ayurvedic Remedies and Treatments:

1. Panchakarma: 

Panchakarma is a unique method of cleansing the body’s waste through five procedures. It’s preventive, curative, and promotive for various diseases. Ayurveda emphasizes health as balance in body systems. Panchakarma treatments cleanse toxins with methods like vomiting, purgation, and enemas. Preparatory steps and dietary adjustments help recovery. These practices aim to prevent illness and promote well-being.

2. Yoga and Pranayama: Yoga improves mind-body coordination and consciousness, while pranayama improves breath and mind control. Pranayama is a yogic practice that focuses on breath, which is associated with prana or life energies. 

Various types of Yoga 

  • Ashtanga Yoga, 
  • Hatha Yoga,
  •  Jnana Yoga,
  •  Mantra Yoga, 
  • Bhakti Yoga, 
  • Kundalini Yoga, 
  • Karma Yoga

Various types of Pranayama: 

  • Bhastrika pranayama, 
  • Kapal Bhati pranayama,
  • Nadi Shodhan pranayama, 
  • Bhramari pranayama

3. Ayurvedic Massage (Abhyanga)

Abhyanga, or Ayurvedic massage, is a traditional practice that involves applying warm, herb-infused oils to the body through long, repetitive strokes. It is considered one of the most beneficial therapies in Ayurveda and is often recommended daily, especially for those with a predominant Vata dosha, the elderly, and those experiencing stress, anxiety, or insomnia.

4. Meditation and Mindfulness

The term “meditation” refers to a variety of techniques that combine the mind and body to improve general health. It includes practices like focusing one’s attention on sensory experiences like breathing, noises, pictures, or mantras. On the other hand, mindfulness means being free of judgment in the present moment, enabling people to recognize and embrace their emotions and experiences.

5. Marma Therapy

Marma Therapy focuses on the subtle energy points in the body known as Marma points. These points are considered doorways to the 7 Chakras, centers through which energy flows. Marma Therapy involves the gentle stimulation of these points to relieve stiff muscles, boost blood circulation, and promote healing of the body, mind, and spirit. There are 107 Marma points in the human body, where veins, ligaments, muscles, bones, and joints meet. Injuries to these points can lead to disability, disease, or fatal conditions.

Marma Therapy offers numerous benefits, including self-care, relief, toxin removal, improved digestion, glowing skin, detoxification, mental clarity, improved sleep, enhanced perception, increased creativity, and balanced body systems. Practicing Marma Therapy requires sensitive hands and proper training from a Marma teacher.

6. Rasayana Therapy:

Rasayana Therapy is a traditional Ayurvedic rejuvenation therapy aimed at restoring the body’s vitality to its fullest capacity. In this therapy, we chose different herbs, and foods that help to cure disease. Rasayana is associated with longevity. It helps in youthfulness and keeps you physically and mentally fit. Rasayana therapy is recommended for those facing stress, Insomnia, and weak appetites. This therapy lasts a minimum of 5 to 14  days. Duration may depend on the patient’s condition and expectations.

The daily program includes therapy sessions like Snehapana, Abhyanga, Shirodhara, Basti, Beauty Therapy, Yoga Nidra, Oral Herbal Medication, Ayurvedic Diet, Yoga and Breathing sessions, and Meditation in the Rasayana therapy. 

Conclusion: 

Ayurveda, originating over 5000 years ago in India, helps to improve health both physically and mentally. By following the fundamental principles of Ayurveda and embedding these principles in our daily lives, we can maintain our diet, body, mind, and spirit. Ayurveda provides remedies and treatments aimed at promoting longevity, vitality, and overall wellness. With its enduring wisdom and time-tested methodologies, Ayurveda continues to offer profound insights into the science of life, nurturing both individual and collective health for generations to come. 

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