Ayurveda is one of the world’s most ancient and comprehensive medical sciences. It not only talks about prevention but also about effective disease management. It is often defined as “the science of life”, which simply means that we need to find the right balance in every area of our life, including our physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. It is also important to cultivate meaningful relationships, take care of our financial health, and contribute to the greater community.
Let’s explore some simple mind-body techniques to achieve and optimize that state of balance and harmony.
Spend Time in Nature
We are 100 per cent made in and made by Mother Nature. The vital elements of nature define our existence. Fresh air, pure water, and clean food are the basic necessities of life. Interacting with the elements of nature cultivates inner calm and tranquility. It also allows us to effortlessly sync our biorhythms with the changing rhythms of nature. The new science of chronobiology, which studies how living organisms adapt to solar and lunar cycles, validates this ancient ayurvedic concept. To put this principle into practice, each day, get outside and enjoy the gifts of nature. Even a short walk by the ocean or a visit to a city park will calm your mind and rejuvenate your spirits.
Keep All the Moving Parts Moving
We can’t overemphasize the importance of daily exercise. The body is a complex machine with so many moving parts, and keeping it well oiled, lubricated, and moving is paramount for health and balance. When you feel rusty, stiff, and blocked, this is when the disease process gets created. Lack of movement may lead to lymphatic stagnation, poor circulation, and incomplete bowel movements. Proper exercise like yoga, walking, cardio, and other sports will create a pleasant feeling of tiredness, which will promote easy and deep sleep. Good sleep is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory activities you can enjoy.
Rest and activity go hand in hand. When you move your body and get restful sleep on regular basis, you will become a happy and positive person, and you will be productive in every area of life.
Eat Right, Eat Light, and Be Bright
It is very important to eat foods that are simply made in and made by nature. They should be clean, fresh, and filled with nutrients. From an ayurvedic perspective, what you digest is just as important as what you eat. My new book, Hot Belly Diet, clearly explains that our choices about when, where, why, how, and how much we eat are just as critical as our choices about the kinds of food we put in our mouth. New research tells us that when we eat late at night and then sleep in late in the morning, we will tend to gain weight. The epidemic of emotional eating and unconscious snacking is one of the root causes of not being able to lose weight and will make you feel dull, heavy, groggy, toxic, and tired. Food is information (or Bramhan, from a Vedic perspective). Super foods are filled with color, nutrients, prana, chi, and nature’s intelligence, and these should be the mainstay of your diet.
Know Your Mind-Body Type
In Ayurveda, every decision about our health is based on an understanding of a person’s individual mind-body type or dosha. You can find out your own mind-body type by taking the free Chopra Center Dosha Quiz and online mini-course on Ayurveda.
Once you know your dosha and the inherent tendencies of your body, mind, and temperament, you can make better choices to correct any imbalances and return to your innate state of good health. The science of epigenetics, which is the study of how our environment and lifestyle choices affect our gene expression, clearly supports this cornerstone ayurvedic principle. Knowing your mind-body type or dosha is like decoding your genome and calibrating your response to diet and lifestyle. Ayurveda is the original lifestyle medicine, and that is why we call it the “science of life.”
Be happy for no good reason
Happy people are more likely to be healthy and productive. Yoga and meditation help us cultivate that state of detachment (vairagya), which minimizes sensory cravings. Maintaining good emotional health with family and friends is also very important. We are social animals, and we nourish ourselves with good company (satsanga). Pure thoughts, kind words, and noble actions will bring vitality, peace, and joy not only in your life but also to every person with whom you interact. Do good and it all comes back to you a hundredfold. It is the most ancient technique to attract abundance and create radiant health.
Ayurveda is a consciousness-based approach to health and wellbeing. Our awareness and cultivation of an enlightened lifestyle is the first step towards higher states of consciousness.