Dinacharya – The daily routine, described in ancient Ayurvedic texts, is absolutely necessary to bring radical change in body, mind and spirit. It sets the tone for your entire day, bringing a sense of calm and well-being. It gives the body, mind, and spirit the chance to ground, cleanse, to start afresh.
This Ayurvedic body routine,helps to regulate one’s biological clock, aids digestion, absorption and assimilation, and generates happiness, peace, health, vigour and longevity.
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Ayurveda has always promoted maintenance of well-being and the prevention of diseases in the body. And for the same reasons, Ayurveda gives additional importance to building our Immunity, through Dinacharya, and Ritucharya.
Ritucharya is a combination of two words, Ritu meaning Season, and Charya meaning rules and regimens to be followed. As seasonal changes occur they bring various changes in our environment and in our body. These environmental variations may create imbalance of the doshas;certain seasons aggravate existing disease whereas others help to alleviate. And the transition period from one season to another (Ritu sandhi) may cause many people with less immunity to fall sick.So, Ritucharya is seasonal care by way of balancing our Doshas and strengthening our immunity through changes in diet and lifestyle.
Panchakarma is a time-proven natural therapy that not only detoxifies the body but also restores its inner balance and vitality.
The body has the innate ability to efficiently process and remove waste materials, including the vitiated (excess) doshas. However, due to an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, lifestyle, and (in relation to some diseases) a genetic predisposition, the body’s internal homeostasis system’s such as the digestive enzymes, the hormones, metabolic co-factors and Agnis, can become disorganized. This can lead to the accumulation and spread of toxins throughout the physiology, resulting in disease.
In Ayurveda Agni is the fire which equates to the force of intelligence within every cell, tissue and system of the body. It is thought that when Agni is out of balance and impaired, it is the root and cause of all diseases. This is a topic all of its own and will be expanded on in another article. But for now, let’s continue with Panchakarma.
All Panchakarma treatments begin with an initial consultation with a qualified Ayurveda doctor. During this consultation, the doctor will determine the Prakruti (Body Type) of the patient, discuss present health conditions, understand the past medical history of the individual and plan an appropriate treatment programme.
When the patient exhibits symptoms as a result of excess Vata, the preferred procedure of Panchakarma is Basti. Enemas are used in Basti. The enemas are made up of herbs and oils specific to the condition/disease. The overall strength of the patient is also considered in Basti. The enemas are administered at a certain time of the day and are extremely helpful in many poor health conditions. In Ayurveda, these herbal enemas are not only introduced via the rectum, but are also administered via the urethra in the male and the vaginal canal in the female.
Basti is considered to be one of the most important therapies as it works to keep a check on Vata. It is worth noting that Vata is the root cause for a majority of diseases. One of the reasons for this is that Vata is the wind and air in the body, being such, it moves the other two doshas. If Vata is out of balance then it is responsible for Kapha and Pitta becoming out of balance. This is because it governs movement (air) within the body. For this reason, keeping Vata balanced is an excellent way to keep diseases at bay.
The doshas are the 3 primary energetic principles which regulate every physiological and psychological process in the body-mind. A harmonious state of the three doshas creates balance in the body, mind, and emotions-homeostasis-and is the foundation of good health. Any longstanding imbalance in the doshas manifests as disease. The three constituent humors are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
Ayurvedic body type/body constitution is determined by apportionment of three doshas in the body. The determination and formation of the body type relies on the predominance of a dosha in the ovum, i.e. Female gamete and spermatozoon i.e. male gamete. When spermatozoon fertilizes the ovum and forms the zygote, your unique body type is determined. Once the body type is formed one cannot alter it but can definitely balance the doshas by way of diet and lifestyle habits and keep diseases away.
Based on these three doshas there are seven different types of body constitution according to the predominance of a specific dosha.
- Vata Pitta
- Pitta Kapha
- Vata Kapha
- Vata Pitta Kapha (body type: Sama Prakruti)
Nasyam is the treatment for the nasal cavities,the sinuses and the head. It involves the administration of drops of herbal liquid preparations, or medicated oils, into the nose. This method of detoxification is also known as Shirovirechana. In this process the excess mucus and phlegm accumulated in the sinus, throat, nose and head is eliminated by means of the nose or mouth.
In preparation for Nasyam, the head, neck and face are massaged with medicated oils. This is followed by a facial steaming. This facilitates the release of the toxins with more ease. The patient is required to lie on his/her back with the head slightly tilted downwards. The oil is administered into each nostril. The dose of medicated oil is dependent on the doctor’s prescription subject to the condition being treated. Obviously, the type of medication administered in the nose drops will also be dependent on the above conditions.
It is worth noting that Ayurveda, strongly believes that the nose is the doorway to brain and consciousness, hence this treatment is also of great benefit here.