“Life is not merely to live but to be well”
As wisely said in Caraka Saṃhitā “dharma artha kāma mokṣāṇāṃ ārogyaṃ mūlaṃ uttamam".
It is high time that we realise the fact that health is superior to everything in this world. The sudden outbreak of this deadly COVID-19 virus is actually an eye opener to each one of us. Through social media, newspapers, televisions etc., we have gathered quite a good knowledge about this virus.
But have we ever thought why highly developed nations like the United States of America, Italy, Spain and so on, with sophisticated medical facilities and staff, couldn’t even find a resolution to prevent community spread but India still being a developing nation with meager facilities compared to them, are in the third stage and has not yet entered into community spread?
It is true that we are following all the measures like social distancing, masks, sanitizers, stay @home etc. Perhaps, the most vital reason behind this is the immunity of Indians compared to the foreigners. Though unknowingly for many, our way of life, food habits and tradition is contributing to our immunity a lot. People from the old generation pass their lifestyle and culture to the upcoming generation. For example, the upavās (fasting) we follow, may it be of any religion, is a method to rekindle your digestive fire and in effect, boost your immune system.
Another aspect is of cooking. There are hardly any cuisines in India especially in Kerala, where Ayurvedic herbs like haridrā (turmeric), ajamodā (dried celery fruits), marīca (black pepper), lavaṅga (cloves) etc. are not used. All these are panaceas for tackling common health diseases like flu, common cold and cough.
Diseases occur when there is a favorable environment for them to occur, same is with various micro-organisms. They can break the defense barrier of the body only if the body is too weak to prevent the attack or retaliate swiftly.
As documented well in Ayurveda, seasonal changes result in physiological jolts in the process of maintaining homeostasis in the body. The concept of ‘Preventive Healthcare’ is just like having good rear-view mirrors in the right place and applying brakes at the right time and gradually minimizing wear and tear of a car. If we prepare the body for the changes that are going to come, then there is no sudden collision with the seasonal changes.
The human body is a very complicated machine that requires regular servicing. This lock-down is an opportunity to service your body towards a better health. Luckily, Ayurveda lays out a set of seasonal guidelines known as ‘ṛtucaryā’ in Sanskrit- with ‘ṛtu’ translated as ‘season’ and ‘caryā’ translated as ‘guidelines’. These guidelines serve as prescriptions for diet and lifestyle throughout the year. This includes Ayurvedic detox treatments and help us calm our minds, fill it with positivism and make our body vibrant. Here are some points to practice:
- Try to wake up between the hours of 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. The 2 hours before sunrise are supposed to be the purest of the day.
- Be sure to eliminate the body's waste products at dawn to avoid illness.
- Wash your face and eyes with water, warm decoction etc. Put 1 to 2 drops of Aṇutailam* (a medicated oil for nasal instillation) in your nostrils to clear sinuses.
- Exercise early in the morning to keep diseases away.
- Consider getting an oil massage regularly to delay aging.
- Eat a light breakfast.
- Try to obtain a gainful employment that fits your prakṛti (natural type).
- Plan to have a light dinner between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- Try to go to bed at about 10 p.m. to get at least 7 hours of sleep.
‘Live a healthy life’ or rather it would be better to say ‘Live an Ayurveda Life’.
If it's corona today, tomorrow it is going to be something else. There are chances that similar scenario may present again. What we have in our defense is our health. So, we must prepare ourselves to stay healthy, stay immune so that the disease itself should fear us.
*Please consult an Ayurveda Practitioner before administering any formulations.
"lokāḥ samasthāḥ sughino bhavantu"