We all want to achieve and maintain a fit and healthy body. But often, things end at the planning stage because the idea of having to work towards being healthy often slips down our list of priorities because it seems time-consuming. I know that the daily hustle is tedious enough and matching up to the standards of health and fitness influencers isn’t 100 per cent possible. If you just nodded in agreement, don’t stress, Ayurveda can help you find a midway. We all deserve to be in good health and happy, and adopting a few small yet effective Ayurveda lifestyle habits can make a big difference.
On this World Ayurveda Day, I share with you five lifestyle habits to incorporate in your daily life, for a healthy lifestyle.
Abhyangam is a simple self-massage routine that helps keep your skin soft and supple, takes the dryness away and also helps promote good sleep. Take a few drops of warm or room-temperature sesame oil and apply it all over the body.
Protip - Use circular massage strokes over joints and long strokes elsewhere.
As per the Ayurvedic daily routine aka Dinacharya, Abhyangam is one of the most important rituals and it must be performed daily. Ideally, this must be done before the morning exercise routine. The ideal morning sequence goes like - five minutes of Abhyangam, followed by 15 minutes of stretch, and bathing.
2. Eating 70 per cent of appetite
Ayurveda is the first-ever science that emphasised on gut health. As per Ayurvedic principles, human beings are more prone to be ill if their gut is not healthy. Best way to take care of it is to eat only when you are actually hungry.
Charaksamhita (one of the three main classic textbooks of Ayurveda) says that while eating, one-third of the meal should be liquid, one-third should be solid and the remaining one-third of space in the stomach should be left empty for air. This helps with the proper mixing of food with digestive enzymes and aids digestion. This is the same principle mentioned in the very popular book ‘Ikigai’, which depicts the life of traditional Japanese people, who lived an average lifespan of more than 100 years.
In Sanskrit, exercise is called 'vyayam'. It is one of the most important things to be done daily. The interesting fact is - Ayurvedic exercise is not about quantity, it’s about quality.
As per Ayurveda, we must always exercise half of our body strength. The tricky part is to understand what is half our body strength since it differs for everyone depending on their age, gender, emotional state, time of the day, and environment.
The answer to this is: ‘stop when you start panting; when you have started to sweat and you are about to feel tired”. This practice takes a little while to master but if done consistently, it starts to build your strength and stamina and the time duration you stop at, usually starts to increase gradually.
4. Walk post meals
A very simple habit that can amp up your health game is to never sit down or lie down post a meal. Recent studies show that walking for ten minutes post meals can improve our blood sugar levels, prevent obesity, and improve digestion. But guess what, Ayurveda has been saying that for thousands of years. 100-200 steps of gentle strolling post meals can help improve digestion and relieve symptoms of acidity, bloating, gas or constipation.
Remember I spoke about self-body massage in the first pointer?
It’s almost the same as abhyangam, except this has to be done at night, and is limited to the feet.
Here, 'pad' means 'feet', and abhyangam means 'massage with good fats'. Take a few drops of sesame oil and massage your feet. Start from the sole, go in between the toes and then ultimately, the ankle. Do the same for both feet.
Ensure to apply a little oil, the same quantity you would use to apply moisturiser or lotion; this ensures you don't feel sticky or uncomfortable and prevents your clothes and mattress from staining. This practice, as per Ayurveda, helps promote good sleep and improves sleep quality over a period of time.
Dr Vaishali Shukla is a registered Ayurveda practitioner and the founder of Vedamrit. Follow her on Instagram at @vedamrit_