Simple Ayurvedic suggestions to help you stay balanced and in optimal health throughout the day!
There a number of Ayurvedic practices that focus on oral health. Some of us think oral health requires nothing more than brushing our teeth, flossing, and having regular dental cleanings and checkups. But oral health deserves much more attention than that. Medical and dental professionals stress how important oral health is to overall wellness because of its far-reaching impact on the deeper organs and tissues of the body. Many people find that when they introduce Ayurvedic oral health care to their daily routine, their general health improves. We suggest that you adopt two simple Ayurvedic oral hygiene practices and see how they work for you.
First, Ayurveda recommends using a tongue cleaner at the start of each day, upon waking and while your stomach is still empty. According to Ayurveda, the tongue is connected to our health and mirrors the state of vital organs including the stomach, small intestine, colon, liver, spleen, kidneys, heart, and lungs. Scraping away the impurities that collect on the tongue is said to directly affect each of these organs. Most people use a toothbrush to do this, but because the tongue is soft and spongy, a hard, rigid instrument such as a metal tongue scraper cleanses this tissue more efficiently than pliant bristles.
By clearing away the coating of debris, microbes, and ama(i.e., toxic residue from undigested food) that builds up in the folds and grooves of the tongue, a scraper optimizes oral hygiene, which in turn helps protect the integrity of our teeth and other oral tissues. The removal of this buildup also helps maintain our general health by preventing oral bacteria from seeping into our bloodstream. This practice further enhances our overall well-being by stoking digestive fire, sharpening our sense of taste, and stimulating the internal organs.
It’s very easy to use a tongue cleaner at the start of each day. Just hold the ends of the tongue cleaner in both hands, open your mouth, and extend your tongue. Place the curved edge of the cleaner at the rear of the tongue, as far back as you can, and then, pressing gently on the tongue, pull the cleaner to the front.
Another easy Ayurvedic practice is oil pulling. Oil pulling consists of swishing oil in the mouth for anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes. This is best done with organic sesame or coconut oil. All oils are lipid-based, as are the exterior cell membranes of the microorganisms that inhabit the mouth. When these microbes come in contact with the oil, their cell membranes adhere to the oil, which helps detach them from the teeth and gums. This practice removes harmful mouth bacteria that raise the risk of not only plaque, cavities, gum inflammation, and bad breath, but also blood vessel and heart damage.
Oil by nature is heavy and warm. These qualities soothe and nourish the tissues. The practice of swishing oil throughout the oral cavity and in between the teeth distributes these beneficial qualities to all the tissues of the mouth, boosting their strength and resilience
In addition, the swishing action activates a wide array of muscles in and around the mouth. Some of these muscles are seldom engaged and typically get very little exercise. By working them for an extended period, swishing tones and strengthens these muscles, while increasing circulation to the entire mouth, thereby supporting both the nourishment and detoxification of the oral tissues. Healthy blood flow is particularly important for encouraging firm, healthy gums.
To enjoy these health benefits, practice this simple routine every day: In the morning, on an empty stomach, swish a mouthful (about 1 tablespoon) of coconut or sesame oil or a combination of both for up to 20 minutes. Swish the oil side to side, all around the gums, teeth, and cheeks and also pull the oil in and out between the teeth. Once finished spit out the oil, and rinse with water.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease.
Longevity is something most humans wish for. Its a constant battle. From the time of birth to until the time of death, the body is in a struggle with the aging process. Each day the body breaks down tissues and organs at a cellular level causing deterioration and degeneration. It is also at the cellular level that longevity can be support and rejuvenation must take place.
Each dosha plays a very important role in our health and longevity. The functions of all our billions of cells that constitutes our body are governed by the doshas. For example Vata is closely related to pranic life energy and governs all the bodies functions and movement. Pitta governs digestion, nutrition and transformation to a cellular level and Kapha maintains longevity and the structure in the cells.
On a deeper level, to combat aging it is necessary to also balance the three subtle essences within the body. In Ayurveda, Prana is the first subtle essence is the life. It is the energy that governs respiration, oxygenation and circulation. Prana is closely related to the Vata dosha. It also governs all the motor and sensory function, natural intelligence of the body, functions of mind, memory, thoughts and emotions. The physiological functions of the heart is governed by prana, and from the heart the blood enters the body and oxygenates all the dhatus and vital organs. Prana governs the biological functions of the two other subtle essences, ojas and tejas.
Ojas is the essence of the seven dhatus or bodily tissues. It is the related to Kapha and is the vital energy that controls the life-functions with the help of prana. It contains all five basic elements and all the vital substances of the bodily tissue. On a psychological level, ojas is respnosible for compassion, love, peace and creativity. Because ojas is related to Kapha, aggravation of Kapha displaces ojas and vice-versa. This pertains to all the doshas and its related subtle essence. Decrease ojas will create Vata-related reactions such as fear, general weakness, inability of the senses to perceive, loss of consciousness and death. Balanced ojas is necessary for biological strength and immunity.
Tejas is the subtle essence of the fire that governs the metabolism through the enzyme system. It is related to Pitta dosha and angi, the central fire in the body that promotes, digestion, absorption and assimilation of food. Tejas is the further transformation of the ingredients of nutrition and is necessary for the nourishing and transformation of each dhatu. When tejas is aggravated, it burns away ojas and reduces immunity and overstimulates pranic activity
Just as it essential for health to ensure balance among the doshas it is just as important for longevity that prana, ojas, and tejas remain in balance. To create such balance, the Panchakarma rejuvenation process of Ayurveda is most effective. Rejuvenation must take place on a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual level to be most effective. A yearly Panchakarma can create astonishing effects and is suggested to those who want to maintain health and longevity.
Ayurveda also provides simple techniques that can be used daily to support prana, ojas and tejas that can be incorporated into your lifestyle. When creating longevity it is importantto first avoid smoking, overexertion, cold drinks, most dairy products and hydrophilic substances, excess sexual activity, fried foods, red meats, excess alcohol staying up late or sleeping in. Its best to eat a nutrient rich plant based diet, primarily cooked foods with the balance of sweet, sour, pungent, salty, astringent and bitty tastes in each meal. 3-4 small meals a day with lunch being your biggest meal and daily light exercise is important.
Supporting Ojas can be simply done with Ghee. Ghee is a product made form unsalted cultured butter and is an excellent appetizer en-kindling agni and enhances the flavors of foods. It helps digestion because it stimulates the secretions of digestive juices. It enhances intelligent, understanding and memory. It does not increase cholesterol as do many other oils and it has anit-Vata, anti pitta and anti- Kapha properties. Thus it aids in the balance of the Tridosha. It is a rejuvenate for all the tissues.
Incorporating ghee into your diet is easy, you can start with replace your cooking oils with pure ghee. If you would like a more direct effect take a teaspoon of ghee each morning followed by a cup of warm water on empty stomach. Another way to support ojas, is to eat daily a date that has been soaked in ghee. Please make sure you are using organic grass-fed cultured ghee. A lot of the ghee you find in Indian markets is not the medicinal ghee and will not be effective.
Prana is best managed with pranyama and by eating an organic nutrient rich freshly cooked plant based meals. Pranyama is a yogic breathing exercise that brings healing and balance. As with yoga, there are different types of Pranyama. Ayurveda indicates which is suitable for a person based on their constitution. A pitta constitution should perform left nostril breathing. For this exercise, inhale through the left nostril and exhale through the right using thumb and middle finger to close and open alternate nostrils. A person of Kapha constitution should do right nostril breathing, inhaling through the right nostril and exhaling through the left. For a vata person, they should perform alternate nostril breathing, start by exhaling out of one nostril and then inhaling with the same nostril, then switch and exhale and inhale with the alternate nostril. Practice for 10-20 mins a day.
Tejas is the root of our digestive fire, it is believed in Ayurveda that the digestive system is the root of all imbalances. Improper diet, bad living habits and overuse of drugs will cause an imbalance in tejas. Substances that are hot, sharp and penetrating directly enhance tejas. Any tejas disorder can affect either prana or ojas. A great practice to enhance your tejas daily is to drink a warm glass of turmeric tea first thing in the morning. Ayurvedic turmeric paste with honey is an easy way to make tea.
For paste use 1/3 cup or 80 ml good, raw honey 2 1/2 teaspoons dried turmeric. Work the turmeric into the honey until it forms a paste. You can store this in a jar. For each cup of tea, place a heaping teaspoon of the turmeric paste in the bottom of a mug. Pour hot (but not boiling water) into the mug, and stir well to dissolve the turmeric paste. Add a big squeeze of juice from a lemon, and a good amount of black pepper. (pepper is invigorating and helps support the digestion of the turmeric).
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.
Triphala is known as one of Ayurveda’s most used herbal formulation. Triphala powder is a composed blend of three dried fruits., Haritaki, Bibhitaki and Amalaki. The blend is distributed into equal parts to ensure maximum efficiency. The principle of Ayurveda suggests that healthy stomach leads to a healthier life. Thus, to remain fit and healthy, it is very necessary for a person to keep his or hers stomach fit and healthy. This herbal formula is popular among Ayurvedic practitioner and its users as it is an effective bowl cleanser. The herbal formulation offers great support to the digestive system that helps insure that the process of digestion is completed at its best, ensuring optimal working of the digestive tract.
According to various general theories, Triphala is an effective laxative that helps in keeping the digestive system fit and working, However, in experts’ opinions. Triphala powder is not just a laxative but also as a nutritional food supplement as it has great nutritional values. Unlike other laxatives, Triphala dose not put direct effect on the liver and gall bladder to force them to secrete digestive juices to digest food. Instead, it works like a sponge that swells by absorbing fluid. Thus, it helps in cleaning not only the intestinal tract but also the liver and blood.
Top 15 Benefits of Triphala
- Improves and normalizes the digestive functions.
- Alleviates and corrects constipation.
- Tones the gastrointestinal tract.
- Cleanses bowel.
- Purifies the blood.
- Removes excess fats out of the body.
- Liver and Blood Cleansing.
- Builds body immunity and contains high amounts of Vitamin C
- Maintains good male and female reproductive health.
- Nourishes and strengthens the respiratory tract and lungs.
- Improves eye sight.
- Nurtures the voice quality.
- Enhances hair color and strengthens hair roots.
- Rich in powerful antioxidants, polyphenols which reduces oxidative stress on the body.
- Contains anthraquinone that help stimulate peristalsis.
In order to get the optimum results, it is recommended that a person should take no more then 1 1/2 tea spoons at in the evening, 45 minutes after having dinner or just before bed. It is best to boil for 5 mins in 1 cup of water, but it also can be taken with a spoonful of honey or in milk. Boiling the herbs allows for the molecules to break down further for better absorption. Tablet forms are also available. For best results see an Ayurvedic Practioner for additonal health management suggestions.
Ayurveda believes you should get your daily nutrients out of food as much as possible, and you can do this by eating plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, healthy meats and seaweeds. That said, there are cases in which it makes sense to supplement your diet with vitamins. Vegetarians should take vitamin B12 and possibly vitamin D, since they are missing out on these nutrients by not eating meat. Pregnant women should take extra folic acid. Those with osteoporosis will need to take extra calcium, magnesium, trace minerals like boron, and other supplements that specifically support their bone health. People recovering from a long illness may need to take certain immune-boostig supplements.
Its important to keep in mind that the American soil from which most of our food derives from is significantly depleted of nutrients, and as a result, our food is not as nutritious as it once was, which begs the question of what if we are even getting enough nutrients by eating a wide variety of foods. If this is of concern to you, you may consider taking a general mineral supplement or daily multivitamin. Whenever possible, ingest supplements that are extracted from a whole foods source like fruits, vegetables and grains. These will have the best bioavailability, meaning the highest absorption rate by your digestive system. The best way to take vitamins and minerals in is powdered from, liquid concentrate or as a oil. Avoid taking mega- doses or and dose larger than recommended dietary reference intakes, no matter how good you think they may be for your health.
Supplementing your diet with vitamins should be the exception, not the rule, they are, after all, called supplements. Nutrients are much more accessible and easily processed by your body when they are consumed in food forms versus supplement form. Also, there is the danger that a person taking vitamins will then rationalize that there is no need to focus on balanced nutrition from food, but there is no magic bullet and no replacement for a diet of healthy, whole foods.