Monday, September 25, 2006
The Science of Life - Ayurveda
Ayurvedic Guidelines for Holistic Living
Ayurveda prescribes three major guidelines for Healthy Living. They are Dinacharya, Ritucharya & Brahmacharya
One should get up early in the morning at 0430 AM , the time prescribed for Meditation. After brushing the teeth, one should take an oil bath.
Oil, preferably coconut oil, should be put all over the body and one should relax for 30-60 minutes for the oil to sink in. Oil Bath is known in Ayurveda as Abhyanga. Because of the oil bath, you will get proper sleep. The body becomes fresh. The body is fortified and becomes cool. Oil will take care of all the diseases of the scalp. It will prevent hair loss. The hair becomes blacker and more healthy.
After Abhyanga, one should do exercise. Exercise will increase the digestive capacity and obesity will be controlled. After doing exercise ( Yoga exercises are the best ), one should massage the body mildly. One should not do excess exercise. Excess exercise can result in weakness, thirst, fever and vomiting. Mild massage can destroy phlegm and reduce fat.
Taking oil bath daily increases the digestive fire. It will increase the sexual capacity. More energy and strength will be imparted by an oil bath. Physical weakness will disappear. One should pour only cold water over the head . Hot water bath is ideal for the rest of the body.
Western system of Astrology which follows the Tropical Zodiac identifies four major seasons - Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.
From March 21 we have the beginning of summer, after the Spring Equinox. From June 21 we have autumn, after the Summer Solstice. From Sept 22 we have Winter, after the Autumnal Equinox and after Dec 22, which is the pagan festival of Winter Solstice, we have Spring
The Indian system of Astrology which follows the Sidereal Zodiac identifies six major seasons known as Rithus. Two months constitute a Rithu. ( Tau Dwau Rithu ).
They are Sisira ( January & February), Vasantha ( March & April), Greeshma ( May & June ), Varsha ( July & August ), Sharath ( September & October ) & Hemantha ( November & December ).
The Three Humurs of Ayurveda are Wind ( Vata ), Bile ( Pitta ) & Phlegm ( Kapha ). Their equilibrium is Health and their disharmony is ill-health.
During Sharath Rithu, Pitta will be more.
During Hemanta Rithu, Kapha will be more.
During Greeshma, Vata will be more.
During Varsha, Vata will be more.
During the hot Greeshma Rithu, one should avoid hard labour which gives a tough time for the body. The ideal foods during Greeshma are Fruit juices, buttermilk, lime juice and these should be taken extensively. Can have cold water bath. Water Melon, plantains, bananas, cucumber, tomatoes, jackfruit and leafy vegetables can be taken in.
Uttarayana ( the Northern Progress of the Sun ) involve the six solar sidereal months from Capricorn to Cancer. During this phase, one should take abundant fruits like pomegranate, water melon, orange, grapes and tender coconut water. This phase is known as Adana Kala because much strength is lost from the body due to the hot season. Plantains and bananas should also be taken in. Rice, wheat, gooseberry ( which is a rich source of Vitamin C ), pineapple, mangoes, cashew, groundnut, carrot, pumpkin,honey, milk and leafy vegetables should also be consumed.
Dakshinayana ( the Southern Progress of the Sun ) involve the six solar sidereal months from Cancer to Capricorn. This phase is known as Visarga Kala , as this is a period which augments physical strength. Bittergourd, gooseberry, chilli, wheat, honey, rice and vegetables can be taken in during this period.
Brahmacharya means to roam in Brahman, the Absolute, to embrace none but Him.
Lustre and virility are all dependent on the seventh Tissue Element, Semen. If there is a weaking of this tissue element, the body loses potency. Hence the need for preserving this vital Tissue Element through proper celibacy.
Havelock Ellis in his "Psychology of Sex " has demonstrated that preservation of semen can result in increased creativity, high MQ & high IQ.
High Emotional Quotient and Spiritual Quotient are also the boons of Brahmacharya.
Semen consists of the triune properties of Heat ( Tejas ), Light ( Ojas) and Electricity ( Vidyut ). Sublimation of this vital fluid can result in increased longevity. It will fortify the Immune system and body can be saved from wrinkles. Intuition and the discriminative intellect will function more during celibacy. Hence controlled Brahmacharya is a must for Healthy Living.
Pathya - Diet Control
There is a popular saying in Ayurveda that there no cure for 2 types of people. People who observe Pathya ( Diet Control ) and people who do not follow Pathya ! If a man has hyperacidity and do not observe Pathya ( if he takes in spicy, hot foods, alcohol and beverages ), how can he be cured. even with a plethora of medicines ? If the same man follows Pathya ( he avoids spicy foods, alcohol & beverages ), he doesnt need medicines !
Diet Control is all in all
Even for disease chronic, Diet Control can cure
Without Diet Control, useless is the highest Therapy !
Hence the need for Foods Vedic !
For every disease there is Pathya. The Ayurvedic Physician will say dont take such and such food. Foods that are to be avoided in general are spicy foods, alcohol, non veg like beef, eggs and fish, carbonated drinks and processed foods
Fruits and vegetables contain Carotenoids and Bioflavonoids which are cancer preventing or disease preventing. They contain fibres that are vital for the body. The popular notion that eggs are cheap and contain proteins and high calories is a flawed notion. 100 gms of egg contains 13.3 % protein and 137 calories. 100 gms of vegetables contain 25.1% protein and 334 calories !
Why avoid Non Vegetarian Food
Because of the high cholesterol content, non veg food is not okayed by Ayurveda. A 100 gms of Mackerel contains 95 mgs of cholesterol, haddock 65 mg, tuna 63 mg , halibut 50 mg, beef 70 mg, chicken 60 mg and pork 70 mg. And when the comparison is made based on calories, fish ( 50mg/100 calories) is much higher in cholesterol than pork (24mg/100 calories), beef ( 29 mg /100 calories ) or chicken ( 44 mg /100 calories ). Animal protein causes osteoporosis or bone loss. Fish contains neither fibre nor carbohydrate. A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine warned that many fish contain high levels of Mercury, which may increase risk of a heart attack. There is evidence that fish fat ( Omega-3 fat ) will increase a person's risk of cancer and the risk of metastasis ( spread of cancer to other parts of the body ).
Naturopathy - The Prophylactic Aspect of Ayurveda
Naturopathy or Prakrithi Therapy is the Swastha Vritta ( Prophylactic Aspect ) of the Science of Life.
The Five Great Elements are the Five Doctors ( Annam Brahma ). Food is medicine and medicine is food. By food we mean Naturopathic food, the food that cometh from Nature. The Five Great Elements ( Pancha Maha Bhootas ) are prior to everything. Hence they are known as the Five Great Doctors ( Annam Hi Bhoothanam Jyeshtyam Thasmad Sarvoushadhamuchyathe ).
The Five Great Doctors can cure any disease. Exposure to Sunlight is Thejopasana. The body gets abundance of Vitamin D. Daily at least 10 minutes one should bathe in the Sun.
The Fivefold Worship of Naturopathy
Thejopasana - Sun bathing. Sunlight is a rich source of Vitamin D
Akasopasana - Fasting, the best medicine. During fasting the digestive system gets rest and diseases like ulcer are cured by Fasting.
Jalopasana - Water is a universal medicine. At least 12 glasses of water should be taken in daily and exercises like swimming are excellent.
Vayopasana - Getting fresh air is a must.
Prithyopasana - Fruits and vegetables cometh from Nature and are rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins. They contain phytochemicals which are cancer or disease preventing.