Be Your Best This New Year: Tips for an Ayurvedic Lifestyle

Feeling irresolute about wanting to make those New Year's Resolutions? Consider this: During your lifetime, advances in medical sciences will add about two years to your life, but changes in your personal behavior — read lifestyle — can add 15+ years. Isn't it about time to make some changes?

Ayurvedic healing, as you know, places the highest value on good lifestyle. Ayurveda describes four types of life: hita-ayu, ahita-ayu, sukha-ayu and dukha-ayu. Hita-ayu is life that is led for doing good to yourself and others. Ahita-ayu refer to actions which are not for the good of yourself or another person. Sukha-ayu refers to those healthful and blissful actions that you do for the good of your physiology, while dukha-ayu is leading a life that harms the physiology. Choose to lead the hita-ayu and sukha-ayu life, and your days will be filled with bounty in every way.

The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians shows you how to lead the hita-sukha lifestyle this year.

The Cup That Cheers

This year, discover the cup that really cheers. Kicking the coffee habit can be hard — in fact some researchers today say that taken in moderation, caffeine can actually help fend off Parkinson's disease, increase alertness and improve moods. So if you're among the 160 million Americans who love coffee, that's grounds for celebration.

But... remember that all the research underlines coffee consumption in moderation — that is, not more than two cups a day. What to do when the urge for the third cup hits? Try Raja's Cup: a precise blend of four potent herbs — Clearing Nut Tree, Coffee Senna (an herb that is not the same as coffee), Licorice and Ashwagandha — this time-tested beverage helps promote well-being and vitality. Published research shows that Raja's Cup has hundreds of times the antioxidant power of vitamin C or vitamin E. And it tastes delicious too! In a blind taste test, coffee drinkers thought that Raja's Cup was actually coffee. Caffeine-free, with no grains, Raja's Cup can be enjoyed any time of day — after meals, at breakfast or before bed.

Spice Up Your Life

Make this year the year of spice. The confusion about what to eat is getting worse every day. The fashion and entertainment industry urges you to be thin, and commercials promote junk food. What's found to be healthy one day is proved by research to be unhealthy the next.

But one thing is for sure. Whatever other surprises research might throw up, it is never likely to prove that artificial, chemical-laden foods are good for you. This year let your resolution be to discard all those over-processed, milled, greasy foods from your kitchen cabinets. Eat fresh, organic, whole foods that are alive with nature's intelligence.

Learn to use spices and herbs in your daily cooking for more flavor, aroma and healing benefits. You'll derive maximum benefit from spices if you blend them to make sure you get all six flavors ayurveda recommends — that is, sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent. Sounds like too much trouble? Try Maharishi Ayurveda Churnas, which are blended precisely to make sure you get balanced flavor.

Use Ghee

One of Maharishi Ayurveda's best kept secrets is the virtues of ghee (clarified butter) — a time-honored alternative to ordinary cooking oil. Ghee is all-natural, salt-free and lactose-free. Chefs know that you can use half as much ghee as ordinary oils. And it stays fresh for weeks at room temperature.

Ghee helps bring out the lipid-soluble portion of spices so you can gain the full benefit of the spices. Plus, ayurvedic doctors report that ghee aids digestion and absorption of nutrients while reducing excess stomach acid.

Don't visit your doctor too often

A recent study that surveyed hundreds of American men found that four out of five men feel sick at least once in a month, and one in five goes to a doctor for some health problem. Don't be an unhappy statistic this year. Learn why disease happens, then strive to keep it away. Ayurveda believes that accumulated toxins, or ama, are the reason why all disease takes root. Keep your body ama-free by following five simple steps:

  1. Sip plain hot water frequently throughout the day. This helps the body digest food and eliminate ama efficiently.
  2. Eat a warm, full meal at lunchtime, with all the six tastes on your platter — sweet, bitter, salty, sour, pungent and astringent.
  3. Take at least 20 minutes to eat, and sit quietly for a few minutes after you've finished your meal.
  4. Eat a light, early dinner and consume only liquids after 8:00 p.m.
  5. Build your immunity: discover the power of Amrit. Amrit is a powerful, holistic nutritional supplement for mind and body. It provides comprehensive nourishment at fundamental levels, helping to strengthen each cell for optimum functioning. Thirty-eight rare whole herbs and fruits are combined in precise proportions in this powerful formula to keep the body functioning at peak efficiency and filled with vitality.

Get Your ZZZs

Get 365 nights of great sleep. Sleep apnea, narcolepsy, insomnia: these are just a few of the recognized disorders that keep their afflicted from getting enough sleep. Nearly half of all Americans have difficulty sleeping.

Don't be one of them this year.

Turn to ayurveda for simple and practical solutions to help you sleep well. Herbs have long been known to calm the mind and improve the quality of sleep. Indian Valerian, Muskroot (Jatamansi) and Winter Cherry (Ashwagandha) are some of the star sleep-friendly herbs that Maharishi Ayurveda's Blissful Sleep herbal formula contains. The herbs in this synergistic formula produce a calming, balancing effect on the body, mind and emotions. Blissful Sleep can be used in conjunction with the Worry Free formula if you tend to worry about being able to sleep well.

Besides the herbs, there's time-tested advice. Ayurvedic physicians have, for instance, always recommended a glass of warm milk before bedtime. Modern research explains the scientific reason for this: milk taken at this time helps the body absorb tryptophan, a sleep-promoting amino acid that releases melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep well.

The Power of Positive Thinking

Heal the Self. The most important relationship in the world is the one you have with your own self — in sickness and in health, for better or for worse. The stresses of daily life, however, make it a struggle to keep in touch with your natural reservoir of creativity, nurturance and intelligence. Result: your efforts to love and care for others become a struggle, leaving you empty and cold inside.

This year, resolve to get back in touch with the reservoir of love inside, so you can give without being exhausted, care without wanting to cling. A great way to achieve this is by learning Transcendental Meditation®, which is an effortless, proven way to take you back to the field of natural calm and peace. TM® makes you more productive, energetic and positive — and when you're feeling so good about yourself, it's easy to feel loving towards other people.

How to Keep Yourself Motivated

READ UP: Making a resolution is essentially about changing established unhealthy patterns — right from sleeping late to eating the wrong kind of foods. A superb way to motivate yourself is to read up on how lack of sleep damages your physiology and psychology; or how the wrong food combinations taken at the wrong time of day can play havoc with your entire system. Thanks to the internet, all this information is just a click away.

SHARE YOUR GOALS: Tell someone about your fresh resolutions, and seek their co-operation. Invite your friend/mother/boss to do what you are going to do. This way, you not only ensure that you are motivated, but also inspire others to live more healthfully.

BE REALISTIC: Don't go into your resolution with an all-or-nothing attitude. It's okay to slip up. What's more, think of ayurvedic lifestyle guidelines as bonus points: you benefit tremendously if you pick up more points, but not picking them up once in a while won't harm you in any way.

RECORD YOUR PROGRESS: A calendar with stars, or better still, a personal journal is an excellent incentive for tracking your successes and failures. A journal does more than keep records — it puts you back in touch with yourself, improving the way you feel about the whole world.

REWARD YOUR SUCCESSES: But don't punish yourself for failures. Although following a new healthful routine is in itself a reward, you will do better by rewarding yourself externally too. Promise to buy yourself a good book or a new dress at the end of a healthy week. When you have something good to look forward to, keeping up with that nightly glass of milk or timely lunch becomes a pleasure.

UNDERSTAND THE SPIRIT OF WINTER: Winter's dark, cold, slow-moving nature makes it the worst time of year to begin a vigorous workout schedule or stringent weight-loss program, like many of us do as New Year's resolutions. It is a time to conserve strength, to rest, and to build energy, not expend it. Just as plants reemerge in the spring, so should you. So whatever your resolve, make sure it is in tune with the season.


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.