New Year’s Resolutions are best known for the speed with which they are forgotten. Yet, total health is a lifelong journey – you need to work on your health every day.
Here are ten tips from Vaidya Rama Kant Mishra, Director of Research and Product Development at Maharishi AyurVeda, on enriching the new year with ayurvedic wisdom. Simple things you can do every day to stay healthy and happy.
START YOUR DAY WITH A STEWED APPLE
A stewed apple also helps your elimination system, because it is easy to digest and contains lots of fibre.
It also contains vitamins, trace minerals, and antioxidant flavonoids. All of this is good for weight loss, actually, because anything that is light on your digestion and adds nutrients rather than empty calories helps the body burn fat.
COOK YOUR FOODS RIGHT
The purpose of ayurvedic cooking is to combine the intelligence of the spices, the intelligence of vegetables and the intelligence of the fat – all the different enzymes and energetics – in a way that is not confusing for your body’s intelligence to break down and incorporate. Ayurvedic cooking methods are easy on the digestive system.
You can prepare ayurvedic vegetables in two ways
- One way is to steam the vegetables first using water, and then add spices sauteed in ghee or olive oil.
- A second way is to saute the spices in ghee or olive oil, and then add the vegetables, diced small, and saute for a few minutes. Cover and cook at low temperature.
- If you are making a curry (vegetables with sauce), add a small amount of water to finish cooking the vegetables.
EXERCISE EVERY DAY
Your body craves routine. If you exercise at the same time every day, eat at the same time and sleep at the same time, your body will respond with better digestion, better sleep and overall better immunity.
Also, the ayurvedic concept is that you shouldn’t need to rest a day after exercise. The idea is to follow the principle of balaardh, to maintain balanced energy and stamina at all times. Bala means “energy” and ardh means “half” – the ayurvedic recommendation is to never exert more than 50% of your capacity. This amount will differ from person to person, depending on your body type, your age and your overall health.
The way to tell if you are starting to exceed your capacity is if sweat starts to form on your nose, forehead or under the arms. Another sign is if you can no longer breathe through the nose. Breathing through the nose is recommended for ayurvedic exercise. If you start to need to gulp air through the mouth, it’s time to slow down or stop.
If you follow this one guideline, you will always feel energized by exercise instead of exhausted. And each day, you will find that your capacity increases to exercise more intensely or for a longer duration. Very naturally you will be able to handle more exercise without ever straining.
Following an ayurvedic routine and eating the suitable foods for your body type are the most important things you can do to improve your quality of sleep.
The ayurvedic routine includes going to bed by 10:00 p.m., during the Kapha time of night, so your sleep takes on that deeply restful quality.
Additional things you can do are a partial abhyanga before going to bed, on your lower limbs, hands and feet, using the non-staining Rejuvenation Massage Oils for Women or Men. Pay particular attention to the base of nails. A warm bath also relaxes the body and helps calm Vata dosha. Aggravated Vata (characterized by whirling thoughts) is usually the cause of not being able to fall asleep easily.
Avoid TV or working on the computer at night, as these make it difficult to fall asleep. Exercise during the Kapha time of the morning and doing your Yoga asanas and Salutes to the Sun also help balance the mind and body so sleep comes naturally in the evening.
It also helps to surrender your body to the bed. Don’t fight the bed. Lie down easily, lightly, in the rest pose. This means on your back, with your hands easily at your side, palms to the ceiling.
You may be plagued by worries when you lie down to sleep, by the things that are beyond your emotional, physical or financial capability to solve, which tend to bother you before bed. In this case, it helps to make a separate mental file of each problem, and then hand the problems over to Nature to take care of while you rest. By handing over the things that are beyond your capability to handle, you give your mind and body a sense of ease, a different kind of relaxation.
LET GO OF STRESS
The most effective way to eliminate stress is to practice the Transcendental Meditation program. Research shows that it is the most effective stress-reduction technique available.
Peace of Mind (MA1401) tablets and Take it Easy / Peace of Mind Tea are especially helpful in balancing Prana Vata, the subdosha of Vata that is implicated in mental stress. This is especially effective for people who are prone to anxiety, an overactive mind, and other forms of mental stress.
Eating more walnuts, fresh coconut, milk and fresh milk products such as panir and lassi also help reduce stress. In general, eating a balanced ayurvedic diet and following the ayurvedic routine is a formidable weapon against stress. The breathing exercise pranayama, practised before Transcendental Meditation, can help calm the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for the “fight or flight” response to stress.
FLUSH OUT TOXINS
The most important thing to do is to prevent toxins from forming. Eating an ayurvedic diet suitable for your body type and following the ayurvedic daily and seasonal routine is the best way to prevent toxins from forming in the digestive tract and at the cellular level.
You can also improve your elimination system (which carries toxins from the digestive tract out of the body through the bowel and urine) by eating prunes and figs in the morning with your stewed apple. Adding more vegetables that have been cooked in detoxifying spices to your diet also helps the body eliminate toxins.
Make sure that your bowel movements are regular (at least once a day in the morning). If your body is balanced from following the ayurvedic recommendations, it will be able to cleanse itself of most toxins using its own detoxification systems (such as through the sweat, urine and faeces).
Spring is the time of year that your body is naturally detoxifying, so it’s ideal to support it by doing a spring detox program. For two months, take Detox (MA1010) tablets (or if you are more Pitta-based, use Detox Pitta (MA1663) tablets to support the livers cleansing action, flushing out toxins that may have accumulated there.
And because the toxins are carried from the body through the elimination system, it is absolutely essential to support the elimination system as well. For this, we have included eliminative herbs in Detox and Detox Pitta and we also recommend combining it with Herbal Cleanse (MA602) tablets or Triphala Rose (MA505) tablets. You can use whichever product works best for you.
POWER UP YOUR IMMUNITY
The goal of Maharishi AyurVeda is to create balance and immunity with every recommendation. That’s why all of our herbal products help improve immunity as well as target specific concerns.
Many people find that by taking Maharishi Amrit Kalash (MA4 paste (or MA7 sugar and ghee free tablets) and MA5 tablets) on a year-round basis, they don’t fall prey to colds and flu any more. The formula is the cream of Ayurvedic rasayanas, the special elixirs for health and longevity. It protects the body by supporting immunity, removing toxins and producing more ojas, the substance in the body associated with immunity and bliss.
BEAUTIFY YOUR HAIR AND SKIN
Beauty is based on good health. In Maharishi AyurVeda, beauty has three pillars: inner beauty, outer beauty and lasting, ageless beauty.
At Maharishi AyurVeda we have developed a number of natural skin and hair care products to enhance the beauty of the skin, the face and the hair. But the really beautiful thing about these products is that while improving the outer beauty of the skin and hair, they are also improving the inner and lasting beauty aspects as well.
The Maharishi AyurVeda Skin Care Creams, for instance, penetrate to the seventh layer of the skin to cleanse and nourish that deepest layer, even though it is a cream that is applied from the outside.
While using the hair products and the Youthful Skin cleansers, oils, and creams is good, we also recommend taking supplements specifically for the skin and hair. Healthy Hair and Nails (MA953) tablets, for instance, fortify and enhance the growth of hair and nails.
Calciocare (MA925) is an excellent supplement to improve damaged hair or nails. It supports your body’s ability to assimilate the calcium from the foods you eat.
Youthful Skin tablets (MA989) provide the support your skin needs as it ages, reducing dehydration, wrinkles and the thinning of the skin.
Radiant Skin (MA926) helps flush out toxins that could cause eruptions and irritation, leaving your skin clear and glowing.
DRINK TO YOUR HEALTH
Drinking lots of water throughout the day can help detoxify the body and prevent ageing and dryness. But you can increase the impact many times by adding a few herbs to your water.
The herbal water recipes make a tremendously effective delivery system for the Maharishi AyurVeda products.
While it’s best to consult an expert trained in Maharishi AyurVeda for your own personal water recipe designed for your specific imbalances, here are general recommendations for the three body types.
- 1/2 t. whole cumin seeds
- 1/2 t. whole coriander seeds
- 1/2 t. fennel seeds
- 3 pinches of ashwagandha root powder
- 1 pinch whole-root liquorice powder
- Boil two quarts of water.
- Add spices and cover to steep
- Pour it into your thermos and drink throughout the day
- Drinking beverages at a warm temperature is best for Vata types
- 2 pinches of Indian Sarsaparilla powder
- 1/4 t. cumin seeds
- 2 pinches of liquorice powder
- 1/2 t. fennel seeds
- 1/2 t. coriander seeds
- Same procedure as above, only let the water cool to room temperature before drinking
- 2 thin slices of fresh ginger root
- 2 basil leaves
- 2 whole cloves
- 1/2 t. whole cumin seeds
- 2 pinches liquorice powder
- Same procedure as above, only sip the water hot, during and after meals
BOOST YOUR RELATIONSHIP HEALTH
The beauty of Maharishi AyurVeda is that it takes into account all areas of life. While you may think that your problems with relationships start with the other person, the fact remains that you can change only yourself.
Most relationships go wrong when the people involved start blaming each other. If you stop and look within, you will surely find that blame doesn’t always lie with the other person.
At the basis of all relationships is the human heart. The heart is the seat of Sadhaka Pitta, the sub-dosha of Pitta concerned with emotions. To use modern terminology, Sadhaka Agni is related to the neuro-hormones that are located in the brain and all over the body, including the heart. The neuro-hormones located in the heart sends signals to the brain to register depression or happiness, depending on how the individual processes and experience.
The reason this example is important to understand is that everyone needs to respect the special psycho-emotional makeup of others. Rather than blame them for reacting differently than we do, it’s better to develop understanding and tolerance, based on this knowledge of different mind-body types that Maharishi AyurVeda has given us.
If you are feeling irritated with someone, it’s best to look to your own physiology rather than blame him or her. You might eat a juicy pear, for instance, to pacify Sadhaka Pitta, which can cause irritation or frustration if it’s out of balance.
Taking Rose Petal Preserve on a daily basis is a powerful way to pacify Sadhaka Pitta. If you are feeling sad or are facing emotional adversity, the Blissful Joy (MA1402) supplement can help smooth out your moods. Blissful Joy is a completely natural yet powerful way to lift your spirits.
Total health is a lifelong journey – you need to work on your health every day”
Rama Kant Mishra comes from a long line of Raj Vaidyas — physicians to the erstwhile royalty of India. He is currently Director of Research and Product Development at Maharishi Ayurveda Products in Colorado Springs.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this document is presented for the sole purpose of imparting education on Maharishi AyurVeda and neither the information nor the products are intended to diagnose, treat, mitigate, cure or prevent any disease. If you have a medical condition or are pregnant or lactating, please consult a health professional and it is recommended that you speak with your physician before making significant changes to your diet or routine.