Ten Ayurvedic Health Ideas for the New Year

  1. Eat High-Mood Foods

    Foods create moods. And foods that infuse your body with bliss have a high level of prana (life force) to begin with. High-prana foods include fresh, organic fruits and vegetables such as summer squashes, fresh milk products such as panir and lassi, and whole grains such as rice, quinoa, amaranth, and barley. Some high-mood foods to favor are soaked walnuts and almonds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, Organic Rose Petal Spread, and almond butter.

    "Foods that produce irritability and fatigue are packaged, frozen and canned foods; leftovers; fermented foods such as alcohol; and sour foods such as vinegar, which is found in ketchup, mustard and pickles. Unintelligent, dead foods clog the channels between mind and heart," explains an ayurvedic expert from The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians. High-prana foods, on the other hand, clear the channels, keeping the mind, heart and soul more connected.

  2. Say Goodbye to Stress

    Stress is known to be the cause of 90% of disease. The best way to relieve stress is to practice the Transcendental Meditation® program morning and evening. Many studies from top research institutes have found it to be the most effective self-development technique for relieving mental, emotional, and physical stress.

    But the benefits go well beyond that. The Transcendental Meditation technique provides the experience of Atma, the transcendental Self, and develops higher states of consciousness. Rather than being a football of stress, tossed this way and that by the changing ups and downs of life, you remain rooted in the unchanging, eternal Self.

  3. Clear Your Body's Channels

    Deep breathing clears your body's channels, enhances absorption of nutrients, purifies the blood, banishes fatigue and supplies oxygen to the cells.

    While it's not a good idea to force your breath, you can easily cultivate a habit of deeper breathing. Exercising on a daily basis helps.

    Another way to clear blocked channels and enhance cellular oxygenation is to drink water with fennel and holy basil. Bring two quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 t. whole fennel and two leaves of holy basil. Let steep. Drink throughout the day.

    One precaution: if breathing deeper makes you feel dizzy, this is a sign that your mental channels are blocked with ama (toxins). It's best to consult an expert trained in Maharishi Ayurveda, who will prescribe a suitable diet, spice mixture, and daily routine to help clear the channels.

  4. Put Your Attention on the Positive

    Everything in life has a darker and a lighter side. But whether it has a positive or negative effect depends mostly on how you look at it — on your attitude.

    Let's say you go outside in winter without a hat, and you get a headache and a fever. Most people would react to this situation by feeling depressed about missing work. It's healthier instead to focus on the lesson you've learned (not to go outside without proper clothing). After all, the headache and fever will soon disappear from eating warm soups and drinking Organic Kapha Tea — but you learned something valuable without losing your job or getting really sick.

    The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians also recommends Blissful Joy and Worry Free to help create a more positive attitude. Take Blissful Joy if you feel irritable or low, and take Worry Free if you feel worried and anxious.

    But you can't just talk about thinking positively — you have to take the health measures to actually create a blissful physiology. There is a story about a saint who had many beautiful birds. Because a hunter lived nearby, he decided to teach his birds how to avoid the hunter's net. Each morning he would remind them to chant, "If the hunter spreads his net, don't fly into the net or you will die." Then one day the saint had to travel to the next village. When he returned, his beautiful birds were gone. Fearing the worst, he went to the hunter's home. There he saw his birds trapped in the net, still chanting the words he had taught them!

    This story shows how important it is to apply the knowledge of practicing Transcendental Meditation, eating right, and following the ayurvedic routine — not just talking about it.

  5. Improve Your Mind Power

    To one person, it's a problem. To another who has more creativity, that same situation is merely an interesting challenge. Maharishi Ayurveda recommends herbal compounds and foods that nourish the mind and brain, called medhya in Maharishi Ayurveda.

    Ghee, organic milk, panir and soaked walnuts are all medhya foods that enhance the power of dhi (learning), dhriti (retention) and smriti (recall). Mind Plus contains medhya herbs to boost problem-solving ability even under stress. And Maharishi Amrit Kalash is a powerful medhya rasayana for mental clarity.

  6. Adopt the Pace of an Elephant

    If you are always running from one thing to the next, it's time to stop.

    Too much rushing decreases ojas. And for activity to be successful, you need the full support of ojas.

    At the basis of the habit of rushing frenetically is an imbalance in Vata dosha. The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians recommends a Vata-pacifying diet, with warm, cooked foods rather than light, dry cereals and salads. The analogy of moving slowly like an elephant is actually quite appropriate, because elephants eat more Kapha-building foods such as fresh fruits. Stop watching TV at night, go to bed earlier, and take time out each day to enjoy life. You can also paste signs around your home reminding you to slow down.

  7. Learn Something New Every Day

    There is a verse in Charaka Samhita that says, "For a wise person the whole world is a teacher." There is a message for us in every event of life, so there is always something valuable to learn if you are conscious and awake.

    The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians also recommends reading the newsletters and health tips on the knowledge of Maharishi Ayurveda. These are the collections of eternal knowledge, and if you try each day to learn one new health tip and apply it, you will find your health and well-being improving rapidly. MAPI.com is a great source of knowledge.

  8. Do Something For Yourself

    Why not treat yourself to a soothing massage, an herbal bath or a nutritious snack such as almond butter or Organic Rose Petal Spread? Pamper yourself — you deserve it!

    Treat yourself to avoid treatment. Vata Aroma Oil, Youthful Skin Cream for your face, Youthful Skin Massage Oil for your whole body — all of these luxurious treats bring pleasure, but they heal your mind and body as well.

  9. Do Something for Someone Else

    When you give something, you create the feeling of bliss inside. That feeling of bliss produces instant ojas — and that's priceless.

    To give something to someone else doesn't require money. You could clean out your closet and give away the things you don't wear anymore. Or write a poem, bake some cookies, or offer your babysitting services as a surprise treat for a friend or family member.

  10. Start a New Health Habit

    While it's not humanly possible to do EVERYTHING right every day of your life, you can improve your health dramatically by changing just one unhealthy habit.

    Focus on one habit at a time, such as going to bed before 10:00 p.m. to feel more rested during the day. Once you start feeling freer and more energetic as a result of your new health habit, it will be easier to tackle the next one.

    It's best to change a habit gradually. Make your own set-point, your own timeline based on your body's needs, and go from there.


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. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.