Ayurveda is 5,000-year-old holistic medical science from India’s Vedic civilization. It’s based on the philosophy that well-being is maintained by balanced energy of the mind, body and soul. Ayurvedic prevention and treatment depends on an individual's specific characteristics and body frame. According to Ayurveda, we are made up of a combination of three types of Doshas. The three Doshas are comprised of Five Elements.
A Combination of Air and Space
Mostly Fire with Some Water
Mostly Water with Some Earth
Tridosha imbalance is thought by many to cause health problems and disease. Diet, exercise and elimination of toxins are all major factors in finding and maintaining Ayurvedic balance.
GuruNanda lost 40 pounds, lowered his cholesterol and controlled his diabetes with yoga and an Ayurvedic diet rich in vegetables and lean proteins.
Oil pulling is also based on Ayurvedic science. Soon after waking, before eating or brushing teeth, pulling oil is swished around in the mouth and spit out to "pull” bacteria and other toxins from the body. Pulling Oil has long been used to help promote weight loss, better breath, healthier teeth and gums, thicker, more lustrous hair, and radiant skin, with claims increasingly backed by research.
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A daily routine is absolutely necessary to bring radical change in body, mind, and consciousness. Routine helps to establish balance in one's constitution.
It is good to wake up before the sun rises, when there are loving (sattvic) qualities in nature that bring peace of mind and freshness to the senses. Sunrise varies according to the seasons, but on average vata people should get up about 6 a.m., pitta people by 5.30 a.m., and kapha by 4.30 a.m. Right after waking, look at your hands for a few moments, then gently move them over your face and chest down to the waist. This cleans the aura.
"Dear God, you are inside of me, within my very breath, within each bird, each mighty mountain. Your sweet touch reaches everything and I am well protected. Thank you God for this beautiful day before me. May joy, love, peace and compassion be part of my life and all those around me on this day. I am healing and I am healed." After this prayer touch the ground with your right hand, then the same hand to the forehead, with great love and respect to Mother Earth.
Splash your face with cold water and rinse out your mouth. Wash your eyes with cool water (or one of the eye washes mentioned below) and massage the eyelids by gently rubbing them. Blink your eyes 7 times and rotate your eyes in all directions. Dry your face with a clean towel. Tridoshic eyewash: try triphala eyewash -¼ tsp. in 1 cup water, boil for 10 minutes, cool and strain. Pitta eyewash: use cool water or rose water from organic rose petals - most commercial rose water has chemicals in it that will sting the eyes. Kapha eyewash: try diluted cranberry juice, 3-5 drops in a teaspoon of distilled water.
Then drink a glass of room temperature water, preferably from a pure copper cup filled the night before. This washes the GI track, flushes the kidneys, and stimulates peristalsis. It is not a good idea to start the day with tea or coffee, as this drains kidney energy, stresses the adrenals, causes constipation, and is habit-forming.
Sit, or better squat, on the toilet and have a bowel movement. Improper digestion of the previous night's meal or lack of sound sleep can prevent this. However the water, followed by sitting on the toilet at a set time each day, helps to regulate bowel movements. Alternate nostril breathing may also help. After evacuation wash the anal orifice with warm water, then the hands with soap.
Gently scrape the tongue from the back forward, until you have scraped the whole surface for 7-14 strokes. This stimulates the internal organs, helps digestion, and removes dead bacteria. Ideally, vata can use a gold scraper, pitta a silver one, and kapha copper. Stainless steel can be used by all people.
Always use a soft toothbrush and an astringent, pungent, and bitter toothpaste or powder. The traditional Indian toothbrush is a neem stick, which dislodges fine food particles from between teeth and makes strong, healthy gums. Licorice root sticks are also used. Roasted almond shell powder can be used for vata and kapha, and ground neem for pitta.
To strengthen teeth, gums, and jaw, improve the voice and remove wrinkles from cheeks, gargle twice a day with warm sesame oil. Hold the oil in your mouth, swish it around vigorously, then spit it out and gently massage the gums with a finger.
Chewing a handful of sesame seeds helps receding gums and strengthens teeth. Alternatively, chew 3-5 dried dates and an inch of dried coconut meat. Chewing in the morning stimulates the liver and the stomach and improves digestive fire. After chewing, brush the teeth again without using toothpaste or powder.
Putting 3 to 5 drops of warm ghee or oil into each nostril in the morning helps to lubricate the nose, clean the sinuses, and improve voice, vision, and mental clarity. Our nose is the door to the brain, so nose drops nourish prana and bring intelligence. For vata: sesame oil, ghee, or vacha (calamus) oil. For pitta: brahmi ghee, sunflower or coconut oil. For kapha: vacha (calamus root) oil.
Conditions such as ringing in the ears, excess ear wax, poor hearing, lockjaw, and TMJ, are all due to vata in the ears. Putting 5 drops of warm sesame oil in each ear can help these disorders.
Rub warm oil over the head and body. Gentle, daily oil massage of the scalp can bring happiness, as well as prevent headache, baldness, graying, and receding hairline. Oiling your body before bedtime will help induce sound sleep and keep the skin soft. For vata use warm sesame oil. For pitta use warm sunflower or coconut oil. For kapha use warm sunflower or mustard oil.
Bathing is cleansing and refreshing. It removes sweat, dirt, and fatigue, brings energy to the body, clarity to the mind, and holiness to your life.
Wearing clean clothes brings beauty and virtue.
Using natural scents, essential oils, or perfumes brings freshness, charm, and joy. It gives vitality to the body and improves self-esteem. For vata the best scent to use is hina or amber. For pitta try using khus, sandalwood, or jasmine. For kapha use either amber or musk
Regular exercise, especially yoga, improves circulation, strength, and endurance. It helps one relax and have sound sleep, and improves digestion and elimination. Exercise daily to half of your capacity, which is until sweat forms on the forehead, armpits, and spine. Vata: Sun salutation x 12, done slowly; Leg lifting; Camel; Cobra; Cat; Cow. Slow, gentle exercise. Pitta: Moon salutation x 16, moderately fast; Fish; Boat; Bow. Calming exercise. Kapha: Sun salutation x 12, done rapidly; Bridge; Peacock; Palm tree; Lion. Vigorous exercise.
After exercise, sit quietly and do some deep breathing exercises as follows: 12 alternate nostril breaths for vata; 16 cooling shitali breaths (curling up your tongue lengthwise and breathing through it) for pitta; 100 bhastrika (short, fast breaths) for kapha.
It is important to meditate morning and evening for at least 15 minutes. Meditate in the way you are accustomed, or try the "Empty Bowl Meditation". Meditation brings balance and peace into your life.
Your meal should be light in the hot months or if your agni is low, and more substantial in the cold. Enjoy your day!