AYURVEDA speaks about 3 main pillars (called dosha), which sustain good health namely: VATA (Space + Air), PITTA (Air + Fire + Water) & KAPHA (Water + Earth), and 3 sub-pillars namely: FOOD/DIET, SLEEP & CELIBACY.
Ayurveda states that the main cause of ill health is the imbalance of the 3 doshas, and this imbalance is caused by mainly wrong eating habits and unnatural lifestyle.
Generally, no one falls sick because of not taking medicines – if that were the case, most of us should be frequently sick due to not taking medicines every day! Instead, to maintain good health we need to observe the right diet and follow a lifestyle that is suitable for our own unique individual constitution, which will positively enhance one’s health, and at the same time, correct any imbalances one is experiencing at that point in time.
In other words, firstly, one needs to follow a diet (as per the Vikruti/ imbalance) which can help to correct the imbalance and when this is achieved, one should then follow a diet (according to one’s Prakruti/unique individual constitution) to prevent any kind of imbalance in the future. Accordingly, at times 2 different individuals with 2 different constitutions (Prakruti) may have to follow a similar diet plan & lifestyle pattern for a certain period of time if both are facing similar imbalance/s (Vikruti) within their systems. And similarly, sometimes 2 different individuals having similar constitutions may need to follow a different diet if both of them are experiencing a different kind of imbalance/s.
With regard to the diet, in Ayurveda, there are some precise general guidelines mentioned. For example, how to eat? All of us eat every day but most of us do not know what is the right way to eat! Some people say we should chew 30 times, or 32 times, or 40 times and so on. Practically it may not be possible to focus on count how many times we are chewing the food because most of the time we have our meals with our family members/relatives/friends/colleagues and we have conversations with them while having our meals. So it’s not possible to count how many times we are chewing the food in such circumstances. Another point is, how to decide what type of food to be chewed for a number of times.
Ayurveda is such a wonderful and practical science! It gives a very simple answer to, “How to eat?” It says – Drink the solids and eat the liquids. This means we should chew our solid food so well that it becomes liquid by mixing with the saliva in our mouth then we just need to swallow/drink it and we should drink the liquids sip by sip instead of gulping them.
It is also important to bear in mind that one should consume not only the right type of food but also at the right time of day. That means, even if the food is suitable/healthy, but if eaten at the wrong time, that very same food can cause imbalances within one’s system.
For example, if a person with a predominantly Vata dosha (strong Air element) eats salad or raw vegetables at night, thinking that salad is light and healthy, he/she may experience disturbed sleep – this is because one’s digestive fire (Pitta) naturally slows down after sunset, hence raw vegetables can become difficult for him/her to digest easily at night. Therefore, the vegetables will remain in his/her digestive tract for a long time, which can cause a disturbance in the air circulation within his/her digestive system (and overall within the body). And since Vata (the air element) is the link between our physical body and mind, directly affects that individual’s subconscious mind and makes it very restless/unsettled s. This can make the person very restless and therefore experience disturbed sleep.
Ayurveda guides us in making the right choices with regard to diet and timing of meals, to aid the digestive system in processing the food and transforming it into much-needed energy.
At AyurYoga, our qualified and experienced Ayurvedic Consultant can help equip you with knowledge of your Prakruti (constitution) and Vikruti (imbalance), and help you achieve & maintain great health by following the diet that is right/best for your individual needs.
This knowledge can be extremely helpful for you even in the future – by knowing your doshas, understanding your weaknesses and strengths, you can prevent many health problems which you may have a tendency of experiencing. Even if you happen to become sick due to some unavoidable causes, you can use this knowledge to regain your health by making simple adjustments in your diet, without having to resort to synthetic medication, with its potential side effects.