Ayurveda is a natural healing system which originated out of India over 5000 years ago. It is the system for maintaining optimal health through adherence to natural rhythms and cycles - A healing gift that has been given to us from the ancient enlightened Vedic culture.
Ayurveda employs a variety of natural means to bring harmony to the physiology including diet, herbs, spices, minerals, exercise, meditation, yoga, mental hygiene, sounds and smells.
Ayurveda is translated as ‘ayur‘ (life) and ‘veda‘ (knowledge of or science). It is commonly known as the ‘Science of Life’.
The Rig Veda is the oldest of the four Vedic scriptures and contains the main concepts regarding Ayurveda. It speaks about three cosmic powers associated with Wind, Fire and Earth and how these primal forces relate to the three psycho-physiologic constitutions of man known as Vata,Pitta and Kapha.
From the five elements, the three doshas are derived—Vata,Pitta, and Kapha. Known as mind-body types, the doshas express particular patterns of energy—unique blends of physical, emotional, and mental characteristics.
In Ayurveda, health is defined as the dynamic state of balance between mind, body, and environment. It is possible for each of us to achieve and maintain a vibrant and joyful state of health by identifying our mind-body type and then creating a lifestyle that sustains and nurtures our unique nature.
Vedic Science of Detox of Body and Mind
Our dietary habits, lifestyle and thinking have a collective effect on our overall health. These 3 are considered as the three pillars of health – AhAra (diet), vihAra (lifestyle) and vichAra (thoughts). Any form of disturbance in these three can lead to a disturbance in the equilibrium of the three doshas (vAta, pitta and kapha), which can be loosely translated to the 3 biological energies of the body.
By and by, there is accumulation of vitiated doshas (acting here as toxins) in the tissues of the body. The blood chemistry gets disturbed, leading to various lifestyle disorders like diabetes, hyper and hypo thyroidism, and skin disorders– to name a few. Virechana Therapy or medicated purgation therapy helps remove the vitiated doshas (especially vitiated pitta, since it has an intimate relation with blood tissue) from the body. When these toxins are removed from the body as per the methods given in the original scriptures of Ayurveda, the detoxification is permanent.
dOShANam cha druvANam cha mUlena upahate sati | rOgANAm prasavAnAm cha gatAnAm Agatihi dhruva || – Charaka Samhita, Sutra Sthana. 16
Translation: “Like how when the trees are uprooted from their roots, they won’t grow back, similarly the vitiated doshas (toxins) when removed from their roots through the detoxification procedure will not reappear.”
Agnis in Human Body
As per Ayurveda, the human body has thirteen “Agnis”. “Agni” is the term for the whole process of biological conversion and utilization of energy. Malfunctioning of Agni leads to production of Ama (undigested material that remains in tract and acts as antigens/toxins and are responsible for production of various diseases & autoimmune diseases). Production of Ama may occur at the level of Jataragni (improper digestion in digestive tract), Bhutagni (liver dysfunction) or Dhatwagni (disturbed tissue metabolism). Ama is said to be the root cause of all diseases and can be indicated by lethargy, a coated tongue and foul breath. These undigested substances can be recognizable to us as:
- High cholesterol
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Stress and anxiety
“Almost each one of you carry at least 5 pounds of poison in your body, because of the toxification by constantly watching tv and powerful lights, pesticides in your food and so many other reasons. This Nithya Yoga Retreat is specifically focused on detoxification through a sattvic diet, Nithya Yoga and Kriya and cleansing methods. You will be detoxing your body and mind. Whoever wants to have their body detoxified, here is an amazing opportunity.” – HH Paramahamsa Nithyananda Paramashivam
Best time to eat
Ayurveda says that in our manipura region (navel region), we have what is known as digestive fire (jataraagni). This jataraagni is closely related to the sun. When the sun is out, it means your digestion is functioning at its optimum. Always aim to eat your meals between sunrise and sunset (not before or after).
Eat light, sattvic and pure foods for breakfast – fresh squeezed juice, fresh fruit etc. Our jataraagni is at is strongest when the sun is at its highest in the sky (at approximately 1pm). It is best to eat our largest meal between 12pm and 2pm. The evening meal should again be light and best eaten before the sun goes down for the day.
Devote at least half an hour to eat and digest each meal (1.5 hours per day for eating is not much).
Remember that one fourth of your food is taken through the eye (sense of seeing) so serve your dish on a beautiful plate – you are worth your best cutlery! It is also a nice practice to set the table you are eating at decoratively.
Say a small prayer before eating your food. It doesn’t have to be too elaborate, simply just say a small thank you for the food that you have and that is about to become part of your body.
Fragrance of the Food
Bring your face toward the food and inhale the fragrance of the food. Enjoy the different aromas of the food. Allow this sense to be filled.
Touch the Food
Touch the food with both hands and all fingers, feel the textures. All five fingers have minor chakras. Therefore, when we touch the food, we send a signal to our digestive system that you are about to ingest food.
Eating the Food
Let the first morsel be a sacred act to yourself.
Chew the food 32 times – or until food is pulp in the mouth. We do this for two reasons. The first is, when you chew the food slowly, your system has time to understand that enough food has been eaten. You won’t overeat when you chew the food slowly. The second reason is, when you chew the food well, the digestive process begins in the mouth itself where the enzymes in the saliva can start to break down the food. When the food reaches your stomach, it does not have to work so hard to breakdown all the food. Breaking down food in the stomach takes more energy than running around your street block. That is why we feel very tired after eating food.
Have positivity when you are eating and digesting your food
Leave Some Room
You should only fill three quarters of your stomach. Leave the final quarter for some water and air. Small sips of warm water can be taken during meal. Never drink cold drinks during a meal as they can weaken your digestive fire. Leave a complete half an hour after your meal, than you can drink a full glass of warm water if it is required. One can sip water throughout the day. It greases the system and breaks down what is known as ama which is residue of your digestion.
Sit in vajrasana to help digestion. Sit in the vajrasana position (sitting on your heels, knees and feet together) for 3 – 5 minutes after a meal. This position can help the food to digest as a lot of blood will be brought to that area. It helps to remove gas and prevent bloating. If you get the urge to belch or pass wind, that is what the posture is designed to do, so try not to suppress these urges. The posture will help you to feel light and energized after the meal.
Never lay down or sleep after a meal. If you want to gain weight, than this is a 100% guaranteed way to put on weight; sleeping after food
Ayurvedic Constitutional Test
Body Structure & Appearance
|Frame||Tall or short, thin; poorly developed physique||Medium; moderately developed physique||Stout, stocky, short, big; well developed physique|
|Weight||Low, hard to hold weight, prominent veins and bones||Moderate, good muscles||Heavy, tends towards obesity|
|Complexion||Dull, brown, darkish||Red, ruddy, flushed, glowing||White, pale|
|Skin texture & Temperature||Thin, dry, cold, rough, cracked, prominent veins||Warm, moist, pink, with moles, freckles, acne||Thick, white, moist, cold, soft, smooth|
|Hair||Scanty, course, dry, brown, slightly wavy||Moderate, fine, soft, early gray or bald||Abundant, oily, thick, very wavy, lustrous|
|Head||Small, thin, long, unsteady||Moderate||Large, stocky, steady|
|Forehead||Small, wrinkled||Moderate, with folds||Large, broad|
|Face||Thin, small, long, wrinkled, dusky, dull||Moderate, ruddy, sharp contours||Large, round, fat, white or pale, soft contours|
|Neck||Thin, long||Medium||Large, thick|
|Eyebrows||Small, thin, unsteady||Moderate, fine||Thick, bushy, many hairs|
|Eyelashes||Small, dry, firm||Small, thin, fine||Large, thick, oily, firm|
|Eyes||Small, dry, thin, brown, dull, unsteady||Medium, thin, red (inflamed easily) green, piercing||Wide, prominent, thick, oily, white, attractive|
|Nose||Thin, small, long, dry, crooked||Medium||Thick, big, firm, oily|
|Lips||Thin, small, darkish, dry, unsteady||Medium, soft, red||Thick, large, oily, smooth, firm|
|Teeth & Gums||Thin, dry, scaly, rough, crooked, receding gums||Medium, soft, pink, gums bleed easily||Large, thick, soft, pink, oily|
|Shoulders||Thin, small, flat, hunched||Medium||Broad, thick, firm,|
|Chest||Thin, small, narrow, poorly developed||Medium||Broad, large, well or overly developed|
|Arms||Thin, overly small or long, poorly developed||Medium||Large, thick, round, well developed|
|Hands||Small, thin, dry, cold, rough, fissured, unsteady||Medium, warm, pink||Large, thick, oily, cool, firm|
|Thighs||Thin, narrow||Medium||Well-developed, round, fat|
|Legs||Thin, excessively long or short, prominent knees||Medium||Large, stocky|
|Calves||Small, hard, tight||Loose, soft||Shapely, firm|
|Feet||Small, thin, long, dry, rough, fissured, unsteady||Medium, soft, pink||Large, thick, hard, firm|
|Joints||Small, thin, dry, unsteady, cracking||Medium, soft, loose||Large, thick, well built|
|Nails||Small, thin, dry, rough, fissured, cracked, darkish||Medium, soft, pink||Large, thick, smooth, white, firm, oily|
Waste Materials / Metabolism
|Urine||Scanty, difficult, colourless||Profuse, yellow, red, burning||Moderate, whitish, milky|
|Feces||Scanty, dry, hard, difficult or painful, gas, constipation||Abundant, loose, yellowish, diarrhea, with burning sensation||Moderate, solid, sometimes pale in color, mucus in stool|
|Sweat/Body Odor||Scanty, no smell||Profuse, hot, strong smell||Moderate, cold, pleasant smell|
|Appetite||Variable, erratic||Strong, sharp||Constant, low|
|Taste preferences||Prefers sweet, sour or salty food, cooked with oil and spiced||Prefers sweet, bitter or astringent food, raw, lightly cooked,without spice||Prefers pungent, bitter, astringent food, cooked with spices but not oil|
|Circulation||Poor, variable, erratic||Good, warm||Good, warm, slow, steady|
|Activity||Quick, fast, unsteady, erratic, hyperactivity||Medium, motivated, purposeful, goal seeking||Slow, steady, stately, strong, good|
|Strength/endurance||Low, poor endurance, starts and stops quickly||Medium, intolerant of heat||Endurance, but slow in starting|
|Sexual nature||Variable, erratic, deviant, strong desire but slow energy, few children||Moderate, passionate, quarrelsome, dominating||Low but constant sexual desire, good sexual energy, devoted, many children|
|Sensitivity||Fear of cold, wind, sensitive to dryness||Fear of heat, dislike of sun, fire||Fear of cold, damp, likes wind and sun|
|Resistance to disease||Poor, variable, weak immune system||Medium, prone to infection||Good, prone to congestive disorders|
|Disease tendency||Nervous system diseases, pain, arthritis, mental disorder||Fevers, infections, inflammatory diseases||Respiratory system diseases, mucus, edema|
|Reaction to medications||Quick, low dosage needed, unexpected side effects or nervous reactions||Medium, average dosage||Slow, high dosage required, effects slow to manifest|
|Pulse||Thready, rapid, superficial, irregular, weak/like a snake||Wiry, bounding, moderate/like a frog||Deep, slow, steady, deep, rolling, slippery/ like a swan|
Mental Factors and Expression
|Voice||Low, weak, hoarse||High pitch, sharp, moderate, good||Pleasant, deep, good tone|
|Speech||Quick, inconsistent, erratic, talkative||Intelligent, penetrating, critical||Slow, steady, dull|
|Mental Nature||Quick, adaptable, indecisive||Intelligent, penetrating, critical||Slow, steady, dull|
|Memory||Poor, notices things easily but easily forgets||Sharp, clear||Slow to take notice but will not forget|
|Finances||Earns and spend easily||Spends on specific goals, causes or projects||Holds on to what one earns, particularly property|
|Emotional tendencies||Fearful, anxious, nervous||Angry, irritable, contentious||Calm, content, attached, sentimental|
|Neurotic tendencies||Hysteria, trembling, anxiety attacks||Extreme temper, rages, tantrums||Depression, unresponsiveness, sorrow|
|Faith||Erratic, changeable, rebel||Determined, fanatic, leader||Constant, loyal, conservative|
|Sleep||Light, tends towards insomnia||Moderate, may wake up but will fall asleep again||Heavy, difficulty in waking up|
|Dreams||Flying, moving, restlessness, nightmares||Colorful, passionate, conflict||Romantic, sentimental, watery, few dreams|
|Habits||Likes speed, traveling, parks, plays, jokes, stories, trivia, artistic activities, dancing||Likes competitive sports, debates, politics, hunting, research||Likes water, sailing, flowers, cosmetics, business ventures, cooking|
|Total||Vata ..||Pita ..||Kapha ..|
- Waking up
- Rise Early (before 4:30am)
- Declare completion
- PanchaKriyas (Eye wash, JalaNeti (Sutra Neti for advanced yogis), natural evacuation & enema)
- Drink neem juice or lemon juice on empty stomach
- ThailaKriya – Oil Pulling
- Cleaning Tongue and Brushing Teeth
- Oil Massage
- Bathing – Be inside your boundary when you bathe. Let your mind be where your body is, full awareness of the sensations
- Moving – Any practice of Hatha Yoga
- Being mindful with every movement throughout your day
- Mindful Eating – Practice ‘Mindful Eating’ at every meal
- Sit in vajrasana after meal
|Oils||Require oils that are heating & lubricative||Require oils that are cooling||Require oils that are heating and invigorating|
|Sesame, Almond, Jojoba, Wheatgerm||Coconut, Sandalwood, Almond, Sunflower||Sunflower, Sesame, Safflower, Mustard, Corn|