Longevity

3 Ayurvedic Practices for Longevity

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).

 

 

Disclaimer
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.

 

Wonderful Ghee

In India, ghee has always been a sacred and celebrated symbol of auspiciousness, nourishment and healing; especially in the daily rituals of cooking and worship.

Ghee is a premium cooking oil celebrated for its taste, nutritional benefits, and medicinal qualities. Ayurveda, the ancient medical science of India, recognizes ghee as an essential part of a balanced diet, and considers it to be the best fat one can eat. Ghee is the very essence of butter; the end result of a long, slow, careful clarification process that removes all the moisture, milk solids and impurities. The absence of milk solids and water in ghee make it completely shelf stable. Ghee has one of the highest flash points (485ºF) which make this oil the best choice for high temperature cooking.

Ghee has a full spectrum short, medium and long chain fatty acids, both unsaturated and saturated. Ghee contains Omega 3 and Omega 9 essential fatty acids along with vitamins A, D, E and K. Ghee made from organic butter of pastured cows is one of the highest natural sources of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid). 9 phenolic anti-oxidants, as well as numerous other minerals are present in ghee.

Ghee is known as a substance that gives longevity, its elemental qualities balance the aging characteristics by enriching the living body. Ghee has been used for centuries as a digestive and elimination aid, for energy, sexual vitality, skin and eye health, as a lubricant for the joints and for alkalizing the blood.

The purity of ghee allows it to be deep penetrating and nourishing as it passes through the lipid membranes of cells. For this reason, the vitamins and minerals from food cooked in ghee will be drawn deep into the body where they impart the most benefit. The assimilation of the nutrients increases when suspended in a ghee matrix. When you add spices to ghee to cook with the flavor is carried deep into the food. Many herbal preparations in Ayurveda use ghee as the carrier oil because of these characteristics.
 

Ayurvedic Daily Routine

According to Ayurveda, routine plays a very important role in health. A natural life is regulated according to the individual constitution. It is best to have daily regimen governing all daily actions such as the time one wakes up in the morning and the time one begins body purification. 

In the morning before sunrise, one should wake up, excrete waste, clean teeth, mouth, eyes, nose and throat. After its good to drink a warm glass of water to help clean the kidneys and large intestine. During sleep and in the morning is the body’s natural time of purification. It is good to hold practice that will help this. 

One should then massage the body with oil and take a bath. This will produce a sense of freshness and alertness. After bath, put on comfortable clothes for exercise and meditation. Breathing exercises are also important in the daily regimen. After exercises, rest comfortably on the back with arms and legs outstretched and breath from the lower abdomen.

Breakfast may follow exercise and meditation. Lunch should be eaten before or around noon, if possible dinner before sunset. Its is best to go to bed by ten o’ clock. This regimen follows the flow of energy within the body and in the external environment. It is necessary at all times to remain aware of the flow in order to get the maximum benefit from your daily routine. 

Daily Routine

  • Awaken Before Sunrise.
  • Evacuate bowels and bladder after waking.
  • Bathe every day creates a sense of bodily freshness.
  • Drink a warm glass of water, can add slice of lemon.
  • Exercise, breathing techniques and meditation.
  • Take breakfast before 8:30.
  • Take a short 15 min walk after breakfast.
  • Eat in silence with awareness to food.
  • Eat slowly.
  • Massage the gums with the finger and sesame oil.
  • Sleep before 10:30pm.

Diet and Digestion

  • One teaspoon of grated fresh ginger with a pinch of salt is a good appetizer.
  • Drinking real buttermilk with a pinch of ginger or cumin help digestion.
  • A teaspoon of ghee with rice helps digestion.
  • A glass of raw, warm milk with ginger taken at bedtime is nourishing to the body and calms the mind.
  • Over eating is unhealthy.
  • Largest meal of the day should be at lunch.
  • Drinking a lot of water immediately before or taking food adversely affects digestions.
  • Prolonged fasting is unhealthy.
  • Excess intake of cold drinks and food reduces resistance and creates excess mucus.
  • Taking a nap after lunch will increase body weight and drowsiness.
  • Eating close to the same time everyday will optimize digestion.

Physical Hygiene

  • Do not repress the natural urges of the body, defecation, urination, coughing, sneezing, yawning, belching and passing gas.
  • During fever do not eat and observe a ginger tea fast.
  • Rubbing the soles of the feet with sesame oil before bedtime produces a calm quite sleep.
  • Application of oil to the head clams the mind and induces sound sleep.
  • Self oil massage promotes good circulation and reduces anxiety and pain.
  • Do not sleep on belly.
  • Bad breath may indicate constipation, poor digestion, and toxins in the colon.
  • Body odor indicates toxins in the system.
  • Laying on the back for 15mins clams the mind and relaxes the body.
  • Dry hair immediately after washing to prevent sinus problems.
  • After sex, milk heated with raw cashes and raw sugar promotes strength and maintains sexual energy.
  • Avoid physical exertion such as yoga or running during menstruation.
  • Avoid over exercise.

Mental Hygiene

  • Fear and nervousness dissipates energy and aggravates Vata.
  • Possessiveness, greed and attachment enhance Kapha.
  • Worry weakens the heart.
  • Hate and anger create toxins in the body and aggravates pitta.
  • Excessive talking dissipates energy and aggravates Vata.
  • Create positive thoughts and affirmations.
  • Practice of meditation and breathing techniques, they balance the mind and body, increases energy and vitality

 Ayurveda comprehensively illuminates the basic laws and principles governing life on earth. To understand Ayurveda is to understand the forces that engender our well-being as well as those that lie at the root of disease. The mind, body and consciousness are harmoniously working as one. When the balance of any of these systems is disturbed all are responsible for physical and psychological pain and misery. It is now time to look into the living book, which is your body, mind and consciousness. True knowledge resides in this temple. In applying your experience in that sanctuary the knowledge is set forth here, you will find the only authentic and trustworthy demonstration of the truth Ayurveda holds. The journey is long, but we will always return to the place whence we began.