According to Ayurveda, one is in good state of health, when ones’s body, , sense organs, mind & spirit are in tune with each other.so health and wellness may be considered synonymous. Ayurveda delves into the purpose of life- why one has taken birth. What are the different levels of experience and what are the ultimate purpose of existence in this world .
Wellness can be generally divided into two regimens. The first is the daily routine or the human life cycle from birth to death through the changing physiological conditions of the person in infancy, in youth, in middle-age and in old age. The second is the seasonal routine
Infancy is divided into three stages:
- Ksheeraad: the first 6 months to 1 year when the baby is fed only on the breast milk.
- Ksheera-annaada: the next 1 year ( 1-2years)when the baby is fed both mother’s milk and solid food in equal quantity or an appropriate ratio.
- Annaada: the second year onwards when the baby is fed entirely on the solid foods
Youth – the growing or regenerative phase :
- Up to 15years: Adolescence
- 15-45 years: Prime youth
- 45- 70 years: Middle age
- 70-100 years: Old age
There are six seasons in a year which can be divided into two categories:
The first is visargakala which is health promoting, bulk- promoting and agni (digestive fire) promoting, and is the energy giving part of the year. The moon predominates and the sun is subdued due to the climatic situation which in turn depends on the earth’s cosmic constellation. These seasons include Varsha, Sharath and Hemanta .
The other three seasons- Shishira, Vasanta and Grishma – are predominantly solar and are bulk reducing, agni reduceing, tiring and energy draining. This period is known as Adana-Kaala. At this time, the body loses its energy. It is not capable of digesting heavy food or of toiling and is prone to being sedentary. Wellness programs for individuals have to be devised bearing in mind the typical nature of these two groups of ritus.
Ayurveda enlists 15 signs and symptoms that can be observed by an individual him/herself to know whether one is in a state of perfect health.
The first five are related to the digestive system:
- Ahaaraakaanksha- timely appetite, desire for food, proper digestion.
- Svadanam vipaaka- digestion with proper secretion of digestive juices without any difficulty. No gastritis, no gas, no acidity, no heaviness.
- Purisha ( stool) – proper bowel movement once in the morning and once in the evening ideally.
- Mootra- elimination of urine at intervals without retention, pain, burning sensation .
- This is not being noticed properly , it is the elimination of gas from gastrointestinal tract without any foul smell, sound or rumbling.
The next five are the sense organs:
- Eyes- being able to see sukshma and sthula objects, bright and dark aspects and distinguish length and distance without pain, strain or burning sensation or redness and watery eyes.
- Nose- should be able to smell all things upto a certain limit.
- Ears- proper recognition of all the various sounds.
- Skin- should recognize and distinguish softness, hardness, hot, cold, rough, smooth or a total of 20 indriya-gunas by touching and feeling objects.
- Tongue- should be able to recognize and distinguish all six tastes through the taste buds.
- Manah sukhatvam- if the mind is peace then the person is in perfect health. It is a state by which one is able to forget ones’s body , say while in a state of dhyana. If there is an ailment or pain in any part of the body, that part will be alert to the mind and will hinder dhyana, preventing one from being at peace with oneself.
- Bala- each one has his natural strength which is subjective and in consonance with his/her age. This bala may be an acquired one. By consuming the right rasayana, one can step up one’s health .
- Varnalaabham- is an important Ayurvedic attribute of health. It is the understanding of the health of a person’s skin. The glow, luster, suppleness, reflective colour- dark or fair or wheat complexioned- and natural pigmentation are all manifestations of a person’s health.
- Sleep – at night without any difficulty, effort or breaks. We say that one should go to bed and sleep.
- Waking up at the right time at dawn.
Thus in Ayurveda the concept of health is very well explained. It takes into consideration a wide range of factors. Ayurveda highlights what is to be done if there is deviation from the healthy track.
Written by : Dr. G.G.Gangadharan