We had Ayurveda as a subject in our school. We had regular Ayurveda periods, Ayurveda teacher and annual examination on the subject. We were taught about the 6 rasas, body types in vatta, kapha and pitta, advantages of jal neti, properties of peeramul, harde and various other herbs. Was it fun to learn Ayurveda? Then – no. No one enjoys writing exams! But now, when I look back, I realise it was a good idea to introduce Ayurveda, the ancient science of healthy living to students. Kids grow up learning these principles and practising at least some of them. I practise modern ayurvedic living, my form of easy Ayurveda. In today’s post, I will tell you how to practise easy Ayurveda in daily life:
Taking of 6 rasas (tastes): Ayurveda has identified 6 rasas – sweet, sour, bitter, astringent, salty and pungent. Every food has some rasa or the other. For example, we know bitter gourd has bitter taste. However, none of the foods have all these 6 rasas. In my knowledge, Amla or the Indian gooseberry is the only fruit that has 5 of them, except salty. Hence, a good way to eat it is to soak it in salty water and keep it in the sun for a week or dry it in the sun with salt. It then becomes a complete food with all 6 rasas.
Cutting the story short – our meal should have all these 6 rasas. That is what is a balanced meal. Now, you know why we eat karela ki bhaji even when it’s bitter and eat pickles because it is astringent. Because all these rasas are good for our body.
Waking up early: Ayurveda believes in waking up before the sunrise because it brings peace of mind and energy to the body. And waking up after the sunrise leads to lethargy. My mother would always say wake up early around 4 – it is also called the Brahma Muhurat – when whatever you learn you remember for your lifetime. Well, needless to say I always woke up in the early morning during my examinations.
This is one thing I need to start doing myself. 4 am is a bit early, but I intend to start waking up at 5 am. Let me start this and come back to tell you the experience.
Practising Yoga and pranayama: Ayurveda strongly advocates practising yoga and pranayama. Yoga postures are such designed that every part of your body is used and stretched and thus it keeps your body agile. Deep breathing exercises keep your lungs stronger and helps balance your doshas (kapha, pitta and vatta).
Using metal and clay ware: Do you know why we throw coins in water bodies? No, it doesn’t make your wish come true, however, it is good for your health. Let me elaborate. In earlier days, copper coins were in circulation. Throwing copper coins in water bodies would help discharge the properties of copper to the water which would then be consumed by people. They would get the benefits of copper in the water they drank. The same philosophy applies to cooking, drinking and eating in silver vessels. In many households, people add silver/gold coins to their water.
- Using clay pot for storing water helps in making the water alkaline and maintains the pH balance of the water. This water helps in curbing acidity and gives relief from gas. The water in the clay pot is cool and one doesn’t need fridge water which when consumed in the heat can lead to sore throat.
- Cooking in ironware dispenses the properties of iron into our body.
- It is a good idea to minimise the use of plastic and invest in copper bottles and clay pots, cook in ironware, drink in silver glass and immerse a silver/gold coin in your clay pot.
Consuming herbs and spices: Use herbs and spices from your kitchen instead of medicines to treat your ailments.
If you are suffering from stomach related ailments, instead of taking OTC medicines, take triphala churna which is a mixture of harad, bibhitaki and amla which has many other benefits apart from taking care of gastro related problems.
Using Tulsi leaves for cold and cough and ginger and peepramul/ganthoda for indigestion and acid reflux. Ganthoda is given during pregnancy and to new mother for better digestion and strength building.
Oil pulling: Oil pulling actually strengthens your gums, teeth and jaw. Hold oil (pure sesame or coconut) in your mouth and swish it around your mouth for 10-15 mins and then spit it out.
Eating early: Many religions advocate eating early. Let’s the leave the religion bit aside, but think about it scientifically. The sun is the greatest source of energy. The world wakes up with the sun and most activities stop when the sun sets. The plants stop growing and producing oxygen when the sun sets. The same way after sunset, our digestive system becomes weak. Hence, dinner should be consumed before sunset so that it gets digested properly.
I am integrating this post with HealthWatch. It is an initiative by Blogchatter which believes that health resolutions often fail because they are not made as a part of the community. But when we do it together, it always works. Sign up for #BlogchatterHealthWatch campaign by clicking on this link – Your body deserves the best!
These are my methods of using Ayurveda in daily life. Remember, Ayurveda is a way of life. It has many dos and don’ts. Not all are practical though they are advisable. These are few Ayurvedic daily practices I feel people who are new to Ayurveda or who would like to inculcate healthy living wouldn’t mind beginning with. I would like to hear from you if you are a firm believer of Ayurveda or would want to start practising it. Happy Ayurveda!!