It is said that discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment. So, if achieving optimum health is our goal, we must follow a regime. The ancient Indian scripture of Ayurveda has prescribed a set of daily health regimes known as “Dincharya” (Sanskrit: दिनचर्या). The word Dincharya is made up of two words in Sanskrit: “Din” means day, and “charya” means discipline. Here, we try to present a few habits mentioned in the scriptures for great health.
1. Getting up in the Brahma-Muhurta or early in the morning
ब्रह्मे मुहूर्त उत्तिष्ठेत्स्वस्थो रक्षार्थमायुष
A healthy person should get up from bed at Brahma-Muhurta. That is, before dawn or around 45 minutes before sunrise. The last three hours of the night, from 3 am to 6 am, is known as Brahma-muhurta.
प्राता रत्नं प्रातरित्वा दधाति ।
An early riser earns good health
2. Rinsing and cleaning of senses
Rinse your face with cold water and brush your teeth daily. Perform Jalneti, a technique that involves cleaning your sinuses, nasal passages, mouth, ears, nose, and throat areas of the body. Gargling is also a good practice.
Teeth should be brushed after every meal.
3. Abhyanga or oil massage
शिर: श्रवणपादेषु तं विशेषेण शीलयेत्
Abhyanga means massage. Daily oil massage has multiple benefits, including delaying ageing and relieving tiredness. It improves vision, nourishes body tissues, induces good sleep, and improves skin tone and complexion.
4. Vyayama or exercise
लाघवं कर्मसामर्थ्यं दीप्तोऽग्निर्मेदस:क्षय:
विभक्तघनगात्रत्वम् व्यायामात् उपजायते
Exercise brings lightness, improves work capacity, increases digestion power, and burns fat. It brings the body into good shape.
5. Snana or Bathing
दीपनं वृष्यमायुष्यं स्नानमूर्जाबालप्रदम्।
उष्णाम्बुना अध कायस्य परिषेको बलावह: |
तेनैव तूत्तमाङ्गस्य बळ्ह्रुत्केशचक्षुषां ||
Daily bathing is useful not only in getting rid of dirt and sweat, it also improves digestion, prolongs life, and increases enthusiasm and strength. While bathing, pour warm water below the neck and cold water above the head for improved vision and healthy hair.
6. Aahar or Diet
जीर्णे हितं मितं च अद्यत् I
मात्राशी सर्वकालं स्यात्मात्रा हयग्ने: प्रवर्तिका I
One should always eat, only after digestion of previous food and in limited quantities.
अन्नेन कुक्षेद्वौअंशौ पानेनैकं प्रपूरयेत्।
आश्रयं पवनादीनां चतुर्थमवशेषयेत ||
½ part of the stomach should be filled with food, ¼ parts should be filled with water and the rest should be left empty.
तन्मना भोजनगतहः चित्त
Eat mindfully; what we think while eating is as important as what we eat. How thankful we are for the food on our plate, the positive or negative thoughts in our mind, everything impacts our digestion.
7. Langham or Fasting
Skipping dinner once a week is ideal for all body types. It helps clarify sense organs, excretion of waste, and elimination of toxic and morbid material from the body.
8. What to Drink and When
भोजनान्ते पिबेत्तक्रं वासरान्ते पिबेत्पयः ।
निशान्ते च पिबेद्वारि त्रिभिर्रोगो न जायते ॥
One doesn’t get diseases by drinking buttermilk at the end of a meal, milk at the end of the day, and water at the end of the night or in the morning.
9. Maintain personal hygiene
Apart from daily body cleansing, one should regularly cut his hair, nails, and moustaches. Keep feet, ears, nose, eyes, etc clean. One should neither induce natural urges forcefully (e.g., urinating when there is no urge to pass urine) nor suppress them.
10. Sat-vritti or good conduct
नक्तं दिनानि मे यान्ति कथं भूतस्य संप्रति।
दुःखभाङ् न भवत्येवं नित्यं संनिहितस्मृतिः॥
One who constantly reflects on how his days and nights are passing and adapts accordingly to the situation will never be afflicted by sorrow.
आर्द्रसन्तानता त्यागः कायवाक्चेतसां दमः ।
स्वार्थबुद्धिः परार्थेषु पर्याप्तमिति सद्व्रतम् ॥
Having control over the activities of the body, speech, and mind, showing selfless devotion to the cause of others, and taking care of the interests of others as if it is his own are considered good conduct. Practising these conduct on a day-to-day basis guarantees good health and prosperity.
Source: Ashtanga Hridayam by Acharya Vagbhatta.