“Maharishi AyurVeda would like us to express our innate source which is infinite vitality and energy” – Dr Donn Brennan
How much energy and vitality you have in your body and mind is closely linked to the strength of your immune system. When vitality is weak, immunity is correspondingly low. When energy levels are strong and free-flowing, illness has little chance of taking hold.
The following article is a summary of how Maharishi AyurVeda can help bring more energy and vitality into your life.
From the perspective of Maharishi AyurVeda the source of all life is a field of consciousness – a field pure potentiality and the infinite source of the energy (Prana) that animates creation.
Through identification with our physical body, our senses and our environment we tend to see ourselves as mere physical entities, separate from other people and from the rest of creation. According to Dr Donn Brennan, a medical doctor and a Maharishi AyurVeda practitioner, the reality is far more wonderful and sublime: “Our essence, our reality, is that we are that inner Being, that field of consciousness, that cosmic intelligence that pervades all of creation.”
The latest theories of quantum physics locate the basis of the physical universe in a single unified field. Remarkably, thousands of years ago, the seers of Ayurveda came to the same conclusion, but they took the concept a stage further and stated that the origin of all aspects of existence – mental and physical – is also a field of pure intelligence and pure consciousness. They described it as a field of Sat Chit Ananda: Sat – pure existence; Chit – aware of its own existence; Ananda – all-pervading bliss.
The Vedic understanding is that the basis of all life is a state of eternal bliss consciousness. This infinite source of pure potentiality, energy and life expresses itself in the creation of the universe and in each individual.
Maharishi AyurVeda, says Dr Brennan, would like us to fully express this unbounded source of energy and vitality. He explains that our consciousness, or inner being, creates our mind-body system: “You create, you construct, you govern, you become your body,” and he adds with typical humour, “So you might as well do a good job!” We have the instinctive desire to achieve that state of perfect health where, he says, “consciousness is streaming unobstructed through our physiology”.
Balancing Vata, Pitta, and Kapha
The first step in achieving perfect health is to maintain a balance between the three fundamental dynamics of our mind-body system, the three Doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Vata is responsible for movement, Pitta for transformation, while Kapha is the cohesive, structuring principle that holds everything together.
If we find our energy and vitality levels are low, the symptoms will be quite different depending on which of the three Doshas is out of balance. Accordingly, the recommendations to restore balance, and therefore vitality, will also differ.
- When Vata out of balance you may experience fatigue, anxiety, and perhaps dizziness
- Impatience, irritability and frustration indicate a burnout situation where Pitta has become aggravated and out of imbalance
- When Kapha is out of balance symptoms such as lethargy, dullness, heaviness and depression are often experienced.
The Doshas are brought back into balance by favouring things with qualities that are opposite to them. For example:
- A person with Vata out of balance will feel revitalised by keeping a good routine, taking more rest, and doing regular oil massage
- Those suffering with Pitta burnout will really benefit from Transcendental Meditation to calm down their fight-or-flight stress response
- If you are feeling the sluggishness of a Kapha imbalance, you will benefit from plenty of exercise and be energised by changes and challenges that bring variety and spice into your life.
Promoting good sleep patterns
Good quality rest is the basis of good quality activity, so a good night’s sleep is fundamental to having more energy and vitality in our lives.
Dr Brennan explains how it is important to take advantage of the organising power of natural law and re-establish the natural rhythm of waking and sleeping.
Nature has its rhythms and cycles, which affect our state of mind as well as our body – solar cycles, such as time of year, time of month, and time of day, have their influence on our Doshic balance, energy levels, mental alertness and emotional state, as have lunar cycles.
Contemporary life can often disengage us from these rhythms of nature and the consequence can be to the detriment of our sleep and energy levels. Maharishi AyurVeda helps to realign us with these rhythms through proper daily and seasonal routines and appropriate diet and lifestyle.
- Reconnect with the holistic value of nature’s intelligence, your inner Self, through the regular practice of Transcendental Meditation. This simple technique has been found to greatly improve both sleep patterns and energy levels
- Get to bed early to gain a better quality of sleep. According to Ayurveda, the best time for mental and emotional processing during sleep is between 10pm and 2pm.
- A particularly good strategy to promote sound sleep is to provide an experience that is soothing to the five senses. As Vata is most intimately connected with the senses, anything that balances Vata Dosha will help. Balance Vata through:
- Minerals, such as magnesium and potassium, and vitamins, particularly the B vitamins, are essential for good sleep. According to Ayurveda, such nutrients are best obtained directly from food rather than supplements.
- Meat, fish, eggs, milk and milk products, whole grains, beans, peas, dark green vegetables are key sources of B vitamins and other essential nutrients
- Almonds, cashews, spinach, bananas, kidney beans, black beans, lentils, whole-wheat, brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa and avocado are high in magnesium
- Potassium rich foods include: fish, milk and milk products, beetroot, beet greens, spinach, tomatoes, potato with skin, butternut squash, oranges, grapefruits, prunes, raisins, bananas, lentils, kidney beans, split peas and lima beans.
- Maharishi AyurVeda recommends blending different herbs in precise proportions to produce an effect that is holistic in its benefits for mind and body. Blissful Sleep tablets are an example of one such preparation. Once you have identified what type of sleep disorder you are suffering from (Vata, Pitta or Kapha – see above), it is recommended to combine Blissful Sleep Basic (MA1778)with the appropriate Dosha-specific Blissful Sleep formula, such as Blissful Sleep Vata, Blissful Sleep Pitta and Blissful Sleep Kapha.
- Another formula, called Peace at Night, is particularly good at soothing a busy mind, and can be combined with Blissful Sleep.
Prana, Tejas, and Ojas – the essence of the Doshas
For a deeper understanding of how we can restore our energy and vitality we can look at the pure essences of the Doshas: Prana, Tejas, and Ojas. These essences function at a level that is so subtle and sublime as to be almost one with our inner intelligence. Prana, Tejas and Ojas are the essential forms of Vata, Pitta and Kapha that sustain positive vitality and promote health, creativity and well-being
Prana: the pure essence of Vata Dosha
Sometimes known as the life-force, Prana is the vital force that animates our lives. It is the flow of intelligence and is responsible for respiration, oxygenation, circulation, all motor and sensory functions, mind, memory, thoughts, and emotion.
When the flow of Prana is low, you become weak and have little vitality; the immune system is lowered and you become more prone to disease.
To increase your flow of Prana, try the following:
- Exercise every day. Yoga and pranayama breathing exercises offer a great boost to the flow of balanced Prana and hence an increase in your energy and vitality levels
- Meditation, though seemingly a passive activity, greatly increases Prana
- Outdoor walks in the countryside, in the mountains or by the sea are wonderful Prana increasing activities
- Breathing fresh air, drinking pure water and eating fresh food also improve the flow of Prana
- Kalari Marma Uzhichil is a vigorous massage, which requires firm and full pressure. The Uzhichil massage available at the Maharishi AyurVeda Health Centre aims to promote the full and well-balanced flow of Prana to promote healing. Patient report increased energy and vitality after its practice.
Tejas: the essence of Pitta Dosha
Tejas is the essence of Agni (fire in its cosmic and localised forms) and of Pitta Dosha and it transforms matter into energy and consciousness. It is the burning flame of pure intelligence within us and when it shines, it gives lustre and strength. As Prana is the movement of thought, Tejas is the form or intelligence of thought. It is the primary energy in digestion and transformation of all we take in and experience.
When Tejas is high we shine with intelligence, energy and vitality, both mentally and physically.
To make sure your digestive fire is always at its best, and to keep Tejas at its peak:
- Only eat when you are truly hungry – when the previous meal is fully digested
- Stop eating before you are full, so that there is room for proper digestion to occur
- Take time to sit and rest after eating
- Don’t exercise immediately after a meal
- Breakfast and supper should be light and easy to digest
- Have your main meal in the middle of the day
- Sip hot or warm water with your food
- Don’t drink for up to 30 minutes before eating and at least an hour after eating
- Go for a short walk after meals to aid digestion
- Add Vata Churna, Pitta Churna or Kapha Churna (spice mix) to your food to aid digestion
- If digestion is low, try Trikatu with Cloves before meals to get your Agni (digestive fire) fired up
- Use Triphala with Rose to reduce excess Ama – the raw, undigested, toxic material that accumulates when foods are not fully processed by the body.
Ojas: the essence of Kapha Dosha
Ojas is the pure essence of all our body tissues. It is the medium through which intelligence flows and it is the seat of Prana. The physiology of a highly evolved person is full of Ojas and they shine with its lustre.
The words Ojas and vitality are nearly synonymous and when Ojas is high we feel radiant with energy. Ojas gives natural immunity, strength, vitality, and youthfulness.
Ojas can be nourished or depleted by the quality of our lives. It is diminished by poor digestion, stress, poor lifestyle choices and unhealthy relationships. Yoga, meditation, a good digestive fire, joy, happiness nourishing life experiences, wholesome lifestyle choices and healthy relationships tend to increase Ojas.
Following is a list of foods that help increase Ojas:
- Ghee and oils such as almond, olive, coconut and sesame oil
- Almonds, cashew nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and tahini
- Sweet potatoes
- Dates, raisins and figs
- Honey and raw sugar
- Sweet, juicy fruits such as apples, mangos, blueberries, grapes and peaches
- Coconut, coconut water and coconut milk
- Organic, unhomogenised whole milk (warmed and taken with spices, such as cardamom, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon)
- Brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, oats, whole wheat and other whole grains.
Herbal supplements for energy and vitality
Rasayana for Energy (MA1403)
Beyond veins and arteries, your circulatory system goes into minute channels that supply nutrients for billions of cells. To maintain good energy levels it is important to keep these channels clear. Rasayana for Energy combines 18 herbs and minerals that have a revitalising effect. They help to replace old cells with energetic new cells and help to keep the bodily channels clean.
Organic Almond Energy Drink
Almonds are renowned as energisers and fortifiers. Almond Energy is a delicious mixture of blanched almonds, Ayurvedic processed sugar and energising herbs. Mixed with milk or water Almond Energy makes a delicious drink, which helps strengthen the body and mind. Added to warm milk, Almond Energy is a sumptuous caffeine-free alternative to hot chocolate.
Vital Woman (MA923)
The demands of an active lifestyle can make it difficult to keep going, let alone excel. This dynamic Vital Woman herbal formula can help you gain more vitality and balance under stress and enerate more energy, naturally. The 25 Ayurvedic herbs include Red Saunders, Lodha Tree and Ashoka Tree that work synergistically to give you more vitality, strength, stability and balance.
Vital Man (MA924)
For men who are physically and mentally active, Ayurveda makes a connection between the ingredients of this Vital Man food supplement and the special nutritional requirements of men. This supplement, which contains Shatavari and Shilajit, helps increase stamina and endurance, strengthen resilience to stress, support mental performance and emotions and strengthen the male reproductive system.
Rasayana for Women (MA3347)
Rasayanas are considered the most precious and powerful of all Ayurvedic preparations. Instead of targeting specific conditions, Rasayanas are designed to stimulate the intelligence that underlies both body and mind, and which controls each cell.
Our cells are constantly being replaced, but this process deteriorates with age. Rasayana for Women supports cellular regeneration, which slows biological and psychological ageing and helps restore a youthful glow.
The benefits grow and accumulate over time. This formula is especially helpful during the years before menopause. It supports the blood, bones, and bone marrow, which have to be replenished constantly for an easy, natural menstrual cycle.
Rasayana for Men (MA631)
Rasayana for Men is a herbal powerhouse designed to increase strength, energy, and vitality. Rasayanas are Ayurvedic rejuvenators and this formulation has been shown to slow cellular ageing. While nourishing the whole body, it specifically rejuvenates blood, muscle, bone, and reproductive tissue. It has a dual action of detoxifying the body and helping in the assimilation of vital nutrients.
Vital Man Tea
Vital Man tea is a reviving tea for men and a delicious and revitalising blend of Ayurvedic herbs and spices. With a subtly spicy, full-bodied taste, this tea contains winter cherry, ginger, nutmeg, basil, cardamom and cane sugar.
Melodies for Increased Energy
Gandharva Veda music can have a profound effect on the physiology and the music in these two CDs is designed to increase energy levels.
- The instrument used in Melody for Increased Energy (Raga Deshkara) is the Santoor and the artist is Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma. The melody is ideally to be played in the morning between 7am-10am.
- The instrument used in Rain Melody: Melody for Increased Energy and Bliss (Raga Megha) is the Bansuri (Bamboo Flute) and the artist is Amar Nath. This melody can be played at any time.
At the basis of our lives is a field of infinite intelligence, energy and vitality and it in the lack of connection with this field that suffering and disease arise. Maharishi AyurVeda contains the wisdom and methodologies that can help us re-connect with this field and thus restore perfect health.