The Ayurvedic concept of being ‘healthy’

Ayurveda believes that a healthy person is one who has balanced doshas (vata, pitta and kapha). Other ‘must-haves’ in this list are:
The Individual should have balanced Digestion power (Agni), Balanced Tissues (Dhaatu), Balanced Excretions (mala), a Happy Mind, a Happy Soul or Spirit (prasann aatma), Happy Senses (prasann indriya), and balanced senses objects (indriya artha).

A person who has all of the above in order is considered as being ‘Healthy’.

Pillars of Health:

The main pillars of health according to Ayurveda are Aahaar (diet), Vyayaam (exercise) and Nidra (Sleep).

A person who wishes to be healthy should maintain a balanced diet, exercise regularly including practice of yoga, and have a balanced full sleep. Any increase or decrease in diet, exercise and sleep will make our body a prey to diseases. A balance of these three factors is essential for good health, and hence, they are terms as ‘Pillars of Health’ in Ayurveda.

Ayurvedic tips to remain healthy:

Ayurvedic experts detail the following course to stay healthy for a long time:

  • Just as the popular adage goes ‘Early to bed and Early to rise makes one healthy’, Ayurveda truly sticks to this principle. Getting out of bed before sunrise is considered to be auspicious as there is already fresh air and minimum noise in the atmosphere at this time. Before getting down from bed, it is good to offer prayers to one’s own religion and then go on with daily chores.
  • It is best to clean the face with lukewarm water in the morning. Sprinkling cold fresh water over the eyes is useful for preserving and promoting eyesight. Thereafter, gently rub the eyelids and a tender massage can be given to eye-balls.
  • First thing to do on waking up in the morning is to drink two glasses of lukewarm water, as this helps in easy bowel movements. Ayurveda suggests avoiding intake of tea in the morning as the hot tea stimulates the intestines so strongly that the stimulating effect loses its significance leading to constipation later on. Also, evacuation of bowels in the morning should be made a regular habit.
  • Ayurveda recommends ‘Til oil (sesame oil)’ gargling rather than simple water during brushing teeth, as til oil gargling is considered beneficial for jaws, depth of voice and good taste for food. Also, this protects from cracked lips, bad odour, sore throat and tooth-ache.
  • Even when bathing, a gentle body massage with til oil is considered beneficial to the skin, and one who practices this regularly enjoys a good physique and becomes strong. Oil application to the head and body plays an important role in maintaining good health, according to Ayurveda. Applying til oil on head regularly is considered to prevent headaches, baldness, greying, etc.
  • Physical exercise, particularly yoga asanas, brings lightness to the body, improves its stability, and stimulates digestion. Yoga asanas can be done daily for better blood circulation and to gain extra strength. Ayurveda considers ‘Sheershasana’ to be most beneficial for humans.
  • Maintaining hygiene in aspects such as dressing and grooming not only adds to beauty and appearance, but also is vital part of remaining healthy.
  • Food intake should be in proper quantity, depending on the power of one’s digestion. Proper amount of food gets digested in proper time. Avoid over-eating and drink sufficient quantity of water. Ayurveda recommends vegetarian foods which nourish the body than the non-vegetarian foods, as animal meat, fish and eggs are thought to disturb digestion systems and harm the body leading to diseases. Therefore, Ayurveda recommends simple food like rice, bread, leafy green veggies, oats, milk or ghee during a meal.
  • Simple food makes a body strong, keeping it away from diseases. Food should not be taken in a hurry and a 10 minute rest after food is essential. Ayurveda suggests that food need to be taken only twice a day at 10am and 7.00pm, and in between fresh fruit may be taken in limited quantity. Having an early dinner (by 7pm) is essential. There should be enough gap between intake of food and bed time to ensure proper digestion of food and a sound sleep.
  • Finally, a good seven to eight hours of undisturbed sleep is very essential to recharge the mind and body and prepare for the day ahead.

Ayurveda believes that any disturbance to these routines physical or mental can manifest itself in both somatic and in the psychic spheres through vitiation of doshas, thereby leading to ailments. Hence maintaining physical and mental balance is essential to lead a healthy life.