Celebrating Ayurveda

Actor Richard Gere started meditating at the age of 24. He has said that it’s a creative process that helps to find the ‘space between thoughts.’ In Ayurveda, this is called Dhyana Chikitsa. Meditation has the power to heal in many ways and on many levels. It allows us to decompress and connect to a higher state of consciousness.

Ayurveda has played a preventive role during the pandemic. Dhanwantri Jayanti is being observed as ‘Ayurveda Day’ since 2016. This year it falls on November 2. From transcendental meditation, to herbs, to oil pulling, to yoga, people have taken the Ayurvedic route and now vouch for these practices.

The objective of Ayurveda Day is to focus on the strengths of Ayurveda and its unique treatment principles, and to work towards reducing the burden of disease and related mortality by utilising the potential of Ayurveda.

Dynamic young business tycoon Yash Birla found adapting to an Ayurvedic fitness regimen in his daily life a big challenge. “I started gaining knowledge in Ayurveda. Eventually, it became a part of my lifestyle,” says Yash, adding, “Fitness is not only about looking good but also a formula to keep your body strong and healthy. Practicing meditation, yoga and pranayama for at least 30 minutes every day is beneficial. Undergoing Ayurvedic therapy like Swedana, Abhyanga, Pizhichil, and Shirodhara once a week or once a month is very helpful.”   

“Ayurveda was kept alive through the years by one generation passing on its methodology and scientific knowledge to the next. Today, the youth is well-versed with Ayurveda’s scriptures, ingredient, and the extraction of natural products. They know the benefits of Ayurveda,” says Yash, Chairman, Birla Ayurveda.

Recently, actress Amala Paul shared on Instagram her experience of undergoing the ancient Indian wellness treatment method of Panchakarma. It is a method of cleansing the body of all waste after lubricating it. “You already know by now that my profile is a reflection of my life. In my unending journey towards becoming the best version of myself, both physically and mentally, I signed up for a healing process called the Panchakarma,” she wrote.

Actress Shilpa Shetty is a great admirer and advocate of Ayurveda as well, and has customised her diet plans according to its principles.

Ingredients from nature

WHO has endorsed this ancient system of medicine. “Ayurveda is the best way to maintain a perfectly healthy mind and body. It uses ingredients directly extracted from nature. These are things the world really needs to understand so that the benefits of Ayurveda can be fully utilized,” says Yash.

It’s wholesome

 “Ayurvedic principles apply to all aspects of life, from diet to well-being. In this age of instant gratification, its emphasis on moderation can bring balance by tempering expectations as well as desires,” says Namita Piparaiya, Yoga and Ayurveda Lifestyle Specialist, Founder —Yoganama.

“Ayurveda encourages everyone to live as per their unique personality type or Prakriti. And today’s generation is well on the path to self-acceptance — they should nurture this trait in a productive way by tapping into their unique skills and strengths to create a better world,” she adds.

Cultivate balance

The young generation is tasked with ensuring the wellbeing of the planet and all that it holds. “They must adopt a lifestyle that thrives on consciousness and being cruelty free, which is at the very core of Ayurveda. It is equally important for them to remember that Ayurveda is a formidable healing solution that can ensure life-long wellness and it respects nature and living in harmony with all living beings,” notes Clelia Cecilia Angelon, founder and CEO, Surya Brasil.

 “Nature have provided us many healing ingredients like Haldi, Brahmi and Dashmoola, to tackle various issues like blemishes, dark spots, hyper-pigmentation, hair-fall, greasy scalp, dandruff etc. This Ayurveda Day, the new India must vow to embrace the healing power of Ayurveda as an indispensable part of its lifestyle,” says Dr Himanshu Gandhi, co-founder and CEO, Mother Sparsh.

A mix of old and new

When you think Ayurveda, you instantly think of age-old brands that are not as appealing to the younger, modern consumer for various reasons — the taste is strong and unfamiliar, and the presentation of the products is lacking.

“The traditional Chyawanprash is effective, yet lacks taste and visual appeal. Ayurvedic practices still impact modern-day health and wellness however, and help keep your body and mind working as they should. But it’s important to understand what kind of Ayurveda really works with the modern consumer,” says Nikita Naterwalla, wellness expert and founder of Caim by Arelang.

Ayurvedic herbs can be most effective when they are used as supplements in the form of standardized extracts. “Most brands use the entire herb, which is not only less effective, but sometimes does more harm than good. But when age-old remedies are used in the right quantities, all the benefits can accrue. New players in this market are utilizing the age-old, wonderful benefits of Ayurveda, newly packaged and with updated formulations to ensure the greatest efficacy,” she adds.

Tamannaah Bhatia has shared a recipe of a brew to support digestion and prevent bloating – Add small quantities of ajwain, saunf and jeera to water and bring to a boil. Drink the infusion. In another Instagram video, she explains her morning routine:  Her day starts with some me-time, followed by 10 minutes of oil-pulling to detoxify the mouth. A drink of lemon cinnamon water alkalises the body and kickstarts metabolism.

Gwyneth Paltrow credits her Ayurvedic diet (in part) for her wellbeing. The celeb eats as per her dosha, and her meals include avocado, beetroot and lentils.

Drew Barrymore explained in a video that she liked to drink iced tea with tons of ice when she woke up, but Ayurveda inspired her to consider changing that. Barrymore said her “old guru,” certified nutritionist Kimberly Snyder, had recommended hot lemon water in the mornings too. So she is giving it a shot, though she drinks it at room temperature instead of hot.  

OM: This cosmic sound is believed to have initiated the creation of the universe. It is considered the first sound. When it is chanted, pure vibrations are created in the body.

Five treatments of panchakarma

Dr Manoj Kutteri, Wellness Director, Atmantan Wellness Centre, says the name Panchakarma comes from two words Pancha and Karma, literally meaning ‘five actions’ and revolves around five distinctive activities of purgation or elimination. It is a detoxification process using medicated oils while balancing the three doshas of Vata, Pitta, Kapha.

1 Vamana (Emesis Therapy or vomiting): The induced vomiting eliminates Kapha, which causes excess mucus. Congestion in the lungs causes repeated attacks of bronchitis, cold and cough. Vamana is also good for chronic skin disease such as psoriasis.

2 Virechana (Purgation): The patient is given a natural purgative to encourage clearing of the guts to rid the body of toxins. It is prescribed for pitta-dominated conditions. It helps in joint disorders, gynaecological disorders, chronic fever, headaches, asthma, skin disorders, Diabetes and digestive disorders.

3 Aasthaapana: A decoction enema or Kashaya Vasti helps combat Vata dominant disease in the colon. It relieves constipation, kidney stones, backaches, sciatica and other types of joint pain.

4 Anuvasana (enema using medicated oil): This lubricates the rectal area and removes lipid soluble waste through the anus.

5 Nasyam: Nasal instillation of medicated substances helps clear the respiratory tract and para-nasal sinuses. It is given for sinus congestion, migraine headaches, convulsions and certain eye and ear problems.

Lesser known facts about lemon peel:

1 It is anti-cancerous: Lemon peels have salvestrol Q40 (a natural phytochemical) and limonene, known to fight cancerous cells.  

2 More vitamins than lemon juice: Lemon peels contain 5 to 10 times more vitamins, minerals and enzymes than the juice itself. They contain Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin P, fibres, lemonene, polyphenol flavonoids, beta carotene, folate, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

3 Lowers cholesterol: Lemon peels help lower LDL cholesterol, or the bad cholesterol. The Vitamin C and potassium in it help clear clogged blood vessels.  

4 Good for bone health: With good amounts of calcium and Vitamin C, lemon peel helps prevent disorders like osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, fractures, inflammatory polyarthritis and osteoarthritis.

Additional health benefits of lemon as a whole:

Aids digestion
Treats acne
Fights parasites and worms
Has antidepressant qualities
Helps reduce stress and anxiety

Ayurvedic Principles to improve Digestive Health:

Drink water immediately after you wake up: Drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning will stimulate bowel movement. This will help remove toxins and free the body of unwanted substances.

Eat at the right time: Ayurveda  divides the day into 6 four-hour zones influenced by the 3 Doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) 1 day-zone and 1 night-zone for each of them. Each four-hour time period is dominated by one dosha and thus influenced by the qualities of that dosha. Kapha time, which is between 6:00 am and 10:00 am and again 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Pitta, which begins at 10:00 am and continues until 2:00 pm again from 10 pm to 2 am and Vata from 2:00 pm until 6:00 pm and again from 2:00 am to 6:00 am. Understanding this allows you to choose activities, food choices, etc. that will support the dominant energy inside and around you at that time.

Don’t eat when stressed, upset or angry: The digestive system is considered a ‘second brain’.  The two are linked closely. When we experience a stressful situation, signals from the brain to the stomach and oesophagus can alter nerve functions, causing heartburn.

Eat freshly cooked food: Try to eat warm freshly-cooked meals. This allows digestive enzymes to work efficiently. Avoid eating things straight out of the fridge as the cold temperature will affect digestive power (Agni).

Chew food properly: Food breaks down into smaller particles and saliva mixes with it on chewing. This prepares the stomach and other digestive organs to work well.

Rules of drinking water: Ayurveda forbids drinking large amounts of water immediately after a meal. Drink only enough to clean oral cavity and oesophagus.

Vajrasana After A Meal: Vajrasana is the only asana that you can do after having a meal. The thunderbolt pose or diamond pose alters the blood flow in the lower pelvic region.  

Chew ajwain (carom seeds) after meals: This has instant effect on digestive problems like acidity, bloating, indigestion, stomach ache, etc.

Take 100 steps after dinner: This leads to better digestion and balances the sugar level which spikes after meals.


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