The daily practices to be carried out to promote optimal health and optimal use of our faculties.
|Activities||Description||Indicated for||Contra- indicated in|
|Udhanam.||Getting up in Brahma muhoortham means 2 hrs. before sunrise.||Brahma muhoortham is the suitable time to acquire Brahmam or jnanam (knowledge).||Diseased conditions.|
|Mala-moothra Pravarthanam (defaecation & micturition).||Perform these, whenever the urge comes naturally. Do not inhibit or stimulate these urges.||To make the body systems clean and to expel the waste materials.|
|Soucham.||After defaecation clean the organs with pure water.||Cleaning.|
|Dantha dhavanam (Cleaning the teeth).||Clean the teeth with 12 finger long, straight, sharp one end crushed fibrous root, which is taken from herbs having astringent, hot and bitter tastes like Calotropis gigantia. Ficus bengalensis, Acacia catechu, Pongamia glabra etc. Then massage the gums with a herbal powder mixed with honey. This is to be done especially in the morning and after every food intake.||To make the teeth and gums clean & healthy.||Indigestion, nausea, respiratory disorders, facial paralysis, stomatitis, diseases of heart, eye, head and ear.|
|Jihwa nirlekhanam (Cleaning the tongue).||Clean the tongue with a thin 10 finger long spatula made of gold, silver, copper or soft wood or leaf. This is to be done only in the morning.||To make the tongue clean.||Nausea and vomiting.|
|Mukha dhavanam (Washing the face & mouth).||Wash the face, mouth, eyes, ear and nose, with cold water in hot season and luke warm water in cold season.||Cleansing to impart freshness.|
|Anjanam (Use of collyrium).||Apply the preparation of collyrium viz. souveeranjanam daily in both eyes. Apply the anjanam called Rasnjanam every 7th day.||Improves visual power, protects the eyes from Kapha dosha||Diseases caused by Vata.|
|Nasyam (Nasal drops).||Apply nasal drops prepared using oils, viz. Anuthailam.||For healthy head, shoulders & chest, sense organs. Also prevents wrinkles, baldness & discolourations.||Toxic conditions, indigestion, respiratory diseases and post natal care.|
|Gandoosham / Kabalam (Gargling).||Gargling with oils, decoctions, honey, milk, water etc.||For healthy mouth, teeth, tongue, gums and lips.|
|Dhoomapanam (Inhalation of medicinal fumes).||Burning herbal medicines and inhaling the fumes.||To make the head, sense organs & respiratory system clean and healthy.||Diseased conditions.|
|Thamboola Charvanam (Chewing).||Chewing betel leaves with spices.||To impart freshness in mouth.||Toxic con- ditions, mental diseases, tuberculosis and diseases of head.|
|Kesha-Nakha-Samrakshana (Care for hair, nails, etc.).||Shaving, nail cutting, maintenance of hair, etc. on time.|
|Abhyangam (Massage).||Apply oil all over the body especially on head, ear and feet and gently massage.||Reduces fatigue & ailments associated with ageing. For healthy eyes, sound sleep, longevity and nourishment.||Conditions with aggravated Kapha, immediately after food intake, after Sodhana treatments and in indigestion .|
|Vyayamam (Exercise).||Carrying out exercises daily using half the physical strength of the person till sweating.||For lightness of body, provides strength, improves digestive power & reduces obesity.||Conditions, like aggravated Vata & Pitta in childhood, old age and in indigestion.|
|Udvarthanam (Massage with powders).||Massage with herbal powder opposite to the direction of hair growth.||To provide strength to organs and health to skin. Reduces excessive Kapha, imparts sturdy body, proper functions of organs and comely skin.||Diseases of Vata.|
|Snanam (bath).||Take bath with luke warm water or wash the head with boiled and cooled water only.||Improves digestion, longevity, energy to keep the body clean & healthy.||Facial paralysis, diseases of eye, mouth, ear, flatulence, sinusitis, indigestion, diarrhoea and immediately after food intake.|
|Sugandhalepanam (use of perfumes).||Apply perfumes made out of herbal materials.||For pleasing the mind.|
|Pushpadharanam/Abharanam (Use of flowers/ ornaments).||Use ornaments and flowers according to the culture of the society.||For pleasing the mind.|
|Vasthradharanam (Dress).||Dress neatly.||For pleasing the mind.|
The Three Pillars of Life
The key to health depends not only in the application of drugs but on the prime factors of life and vitality. The three most important factors according to Ayurveda are food, sleep and sexual energy.
Food sustains the life of all living beings.
Properties of food
All food articles are composed of these three factors
- The five elements i.e., Panchabhuthas.
- The six tastes (Shad Rasas) .
- The twenty attributes (Vimsathi Gunas)
Rules for taking food Aharakalam (time for food intake)
- When previously taken food is completely digested.
- After defaecation and micturition.
- When belching is pure i.e, devoid of the smell of any food.
- When proper hunger arises
Aharamathra (quantity of food)
- Half the capacity of stomach alone be filled with food materials.
- ¼th space of the stomach needs to be filled with water.
- The balance space to be spared to facilitate smooth movement of air.
- Food must be fresh and consumed in a clean place in a comfortable environment, without talking and laughing and with concentration.
- While taking food, mind should be peaceful.
- Do not take excessive quantity of food; do not take inadequate quantity also.
When the body gets tired and mind turns away from the sense organs owing to the increase of the quality of Tamas in the mind, person falls asleep. Just as we require proper food, rest to the body and mind are also essential. Happiness and misery, obesity and leanness, strength and weakness, sexual vigor and impotence, consciousness and loss of sensory acuity, life and death all depend upon proper and improper sleep.
Depending upon the causative factors; sleep can be classified into
- Due to exhaustion of mind and body.
- Due to increase in Tamas or dullness in the mind.
- Owing to aggravation of Kapha which causes heaviness and fatigue.
- Caused by external injury (as to the head).
- Due to diseases and fatigue they cause.
- Due to the advent of the night or according to the movement of time.
Complications of day sleep
- Aggravation of Kapha and Pitta and diseases caused by them.
- Obesity and associated complications.
Permitted day sleep
- In Greeshma Rithu (summer)
Complications of Insomnia
- Body pain.
- Indigestion and vomiting.
- Yawning and weakness.
- Diseases of aggravated Vata.
Measures to induce good sleep
- Unctousness of the head, eyes, ear.
- Intake of milk, wine, soup.
- Psychic pleasure
- Hearty sounds and smell.
This deals with sexual enjoyment.
- Both partners must want to perform the act.
- Both of them should be good in physical and mental health.
- Should not engage in sex with a woman in her menstrual period..
- Avoid women who are devoid of passion, not clean, too old, too young, sick or pregnant.
- Both partners after enjoying the sexual intercourse, should take a cool bath, drink cool water, milk or wine or food containing natural sugar .
- Those who regulate their sexual energy will have increased memory, power, intelligence, health and longevity.
Sadvritha (Ethical Regimen)
Ayurveda prescribes certain rules for maintaining healthy mind. These are principles of right conduct that are applicable to all people at all times and places. Practicing them gives balance and peace to the mind. Mind has a strong relation to the Thridosha balance and thereby health. They are
- Always speak the truth.
- Do not lose your temper under any circumstances.
- Do not get addicted to sensory pleasures.
- Do not harm anyone.
- As far as possible, do not expose yourself to hardships.
- Try to control your passions.
- Endeavor to speak pleasant and sweet words.
- Meditate everyday for tranquility of mind.
- Observe cleanliness in all things.
- Be patient.
- Observe self control.
- Try to distribute knowledge, good advice and money to others.
- Whenever possible, devote your services to God, to the wise and to respectable or elderly individuals.
- Be straightforward and kind.
- Avoid irregularity in daily activities.
- Avoid over eating, overdrinking, too much sexual activity, too much or too little sleep.
- Behave according to the time and place where you are residing.
- Act always in a courteous and polite manner.
- Control your sense organs.
- Make a habit of doing all that is good and avoiding all that is bad.
The ten sins
- Himsa (Homicide).
- Astheyam (Theft).
- Anyadha kamam (Desire for another’s spouse).
- Paisoonyam (Gossip).
- Parusha (Harsh speech).
- Anrutham (Lying).
- Sambhinnalapam (Meaningless and ugly conversation).
- Vyapadam (Venomous act with vengeance).
- Abhidya (Desire for other’s possessions).
- Drik viparyayam (Atheism).
Rithucharya are activities that are specified to be done during the different seasons. They are, in fact, variations to be effected in the Dinacharya.
Eg: In summer daytime sleep is recommended.
Seasons taken into account are