EAT, REST & LOVE - AYURVEDA'S THREE PILLARS OF HEALTH
Updated: Jan 9
"A person who practices regularly a wholesome lifestyle, eats wholesome food, is deliberate in all his actions, not involved in the objects of mind, who is generous, just, truthful, forgiving in nature, who is service-minded and helpful to one's own kin - will remain unaffected by disease."
When looking at any manifestation of disease, we as Ayurvedic Practitioners focus on defining and removing the root cause of the ailment. Yes, current and troublesome symptoms are important to address, but pacification of fundamental cause is at the heart of Ayurvedic treatment. Otherwise, the disease reoccurs, moves to something more sinister and/or becomes chronic in nature. There is a plethora of treatment options an Ayurvedic practitioner can offer, ranging from herbal medicinal support, external treatments, diet and lifestyle guidance, meditation and yoga... all is tailored and offered to suit the current health needs and constitution of the individual. Before the practitioner administers a line of treatment however, the daily lifestyle practices and habits of the individual may need to be reviewed. These simple, sometimes overlooked or neglected daily routines are often the root cause of many ailments and can be removed or managed simply but with persistence. Often, there is much we can all do to extend our quality of life, eliminate disease and prolong the ageing process. Most of these lifestyle practices can be connected to the Ayurvedic three pillars of health - proper management of food (ahara), sleep (nidra) and sexual energy and activities (brahmacharya). Let's explore this a little further...
Ayurveda holds food and the process of eating in the highest respect, as what we eat provides nourishment not only to the physical body but the mental and spiritual one also. In the Vedic culture, food and its preparation is considered to be so important that the kitchen is kept as clean as the scared temples. Adding on from this, it is not only the food we eat that provides nourishment and healing, it is the way we consume it also. As the well known and revered Ayurvedic physician Dr. Vasant Lad once said, "eating the right food at the appropriate time, in the proper environment, and with great love and respect will not only nourish the body, but also the mind and soul". Think about this in connection to perhaps some of our daily practices we all fall into - eating dinner mindlessly in front of the TV, eating so quickly it gives us heartburn, eating foods that are out of season and not fresh or often combining foods together on our plates that are incompatible such as diary and fruit or hot and cold foods in the same meal. To eat food that is fresh and seasonal, in alignment with your natural constitution, cooked on the day if possible and eaten mindfully is one of the biggest steps forward to creating greater health.
We all know sleep is important, it's no secret. It promotes greater clarity of mind and a stronger physical body. Again, it is not just the quality of sleep we get when we are finally in bed, but it's how we prepare ourselves for rest that can generate greater health benefits. Cultivating a strong evening routine prior to sleep, even if only for 10 minutes, can improve not only how long we sleep for, but the quality of sleep we achieve. Ayurveda suggests for optimum sleep, to retire by 10 pm and rise with the sun is the beneficial daily practice for all body types. There are certain food and drink supports that can be taken prior to sleep that calm and soothe the body and most importantly, some meditation and/or yoga practice before lights out will best prepare the body to rest peacefully. It is no wonder that we all at times struggle to sleep well really - busy, often long days, screen time until late into the evening, dinner that is eaten too late, work that needs to be finished, family that requires your attention... With the above mentioned, the preparation of the body and mind for sleep is not just important in today's day and age, it's critical.
SEXUAL ENERGY & ACTIVITIES (BRAHMACHARYA)
This pillar is perhaps viewed slightly differently in Ayurvedic terms than what you might be thinking. Sexual energy and the way that we use it as humans, is linked to the deepest tissue level that Ayurveda recognises which is called Shukra. Shukra is responsible for many things, but is critical in making Ojas, or translated, the immune system. A balance of sexual energy and how we use it is vital in maintaining strength of the immune system and therefore, our ability to fight off disease. Too much or overindulgence in sexual activities can deplete the shukra tissue and immunity, and in opposition, suppressed sexual energy can cause equally detrimental effects to the body also. As always, Ayurveda stresses the need for harmony and balance and this applies to our intimate interactions as well.
These three pillars play a critical role in creating a body, mind and spirit that is free from disease and exists with peace. The great news is, all of us can manage these areas of our lives on a daily level with minimal guidance once you have some established Ayurvedic knowledge. Please don't hesitate to be in touch with any questions or to arrange an appointment to work with the team directly.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the science of Ayurveda. If you have an acute or chronic health concern, please consult your chosen trained health care professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a qualified Ayurvedic Practitioner, contact The Sattva Centre directly - firstname.lastname@example.org