This is an article about taking charge of your health; it presents a path to health through some often overlooked principles. It presents healthy living as a fun lifestyle, and it presents Ayurveda wisdom & principles and common sense.
My opinions on lifestyle, sex, diet, exercise, and meditation are all covered. You will also get exercise plans for your constitution and a free diet plan based specifically on your Ayurveda constitution (dosha).
Written by an Ayurveda therapist with a passion for health, longevity, and qigong.
Contents at a Glance:
1. Table of Contents
2. Pillars of Health
8. Sleep in depth
9. Exercise in-depth
5 essential practices/principles that you need to incorporate into your lifestyle to be healthy In order to be healthy you need to have a solid foundation of good healthy living – it is like making a good investment by living a healthy lifestyle. You will be surprised at how much common sense these principles are – yet they are often ignored to our overall detriment.
The below pillars of health come from the classic 3 pillars of health in Ayurveda, and 2 extra additions by my mentor the Ven Losang Jinpa, Buddhist Monk Ayurvedic Doctor – as you can see they are very necessary additions as in the time when the Ayurveda classics were written (Ayurveda has been around for 5000 years).
Most people did loads of physical activity, they had no cars and walked or rode there (even riding a horse is a workout!) the first addition is exercise, to combat our sedentary lifestyle, the second edition is meditation, which I fully agree with, in our modern high stress, insane mental activity levels from overstimulation (think double espressos, all-nighters, TV, video games, news and get the idea that the human mind would be far better off without all this overstimulation) so meditation is an excellent antidote to this mental activity and stress
Best practice: go to bed before 10 pm and wake up at sunrise Sleep is the mother of all healing, it allows the body to regenerate effectively, see below (sleep in depth) for more on Sleeps role in health and longevity and curing insomnia. Sleep Like a dog!
Best practice: eat correctly according to your dosha There is a link on this lens to a dosha quiz which will establish your constitution (dosha) Once you know your dosha you can download the correct diet plan for your constitution.
General advice around eating (unless you are prone to thinness) is eaten slowly and chew thoroughly, eat until you feel 80% full, and then stop.
Clicking below will take you to the downloads page of my site where the various Ayurveda diets are found (first find out your dosha) Ayurveda Ireland Downloads
Best practice: don’t shag too much, don’t shag too little- shag according to your constitution. It is no secret that when we are in a passionate relationship we feel MUCH more alive, vitality flows and everything feels um…better. Use this to your advantage, passion does not mean lust however; a passionate relationship implies connection on many levels, love, spirituality, and pure arousal.
We are geared to be sexually active and evolutions primary goal is to perpetuate the species, so knowing this it is of vital importance to keep your sexual potency/virility/fertility high otherwise evolution has no need for you and will treat you like a spent drone bee(you die after your sexual purpose/usefulness is over)
Keep your sexual health high and do not waste your essence: Both Ayurveda and Chinese medicine acknowledge the importance of retaining your sexual health- not losing Jing (essence) = sexual fluids mean you should learn techniques to regulate the loss of vitality expended in sex (as a man) Deer exercise for men and Kegels for the ladies are recommended
Women tend to gain vitality from sex(well good sex) however ladies do lose essence from sexual fluids during sex, excessively heavy periods and postpartum(after giving birth) ladies need to fine-tune their system after childbirth.
Best practice: -sweat all over -every day. Exercise does not need to be complicated or a huge effort, it can be any form of exercise that gets you to sweat, you need to sweat as its one of the 3 ways your body detoxifies your system, not sweating = too much toxic burden on kidneys, liver, and colon.
Also important is not to over-exercise or do the wrong kind of exercise for your constitution Check out the link to the dosha quiz and then you can download your doshic exercise recommendations.
In addition to your sweaty exercise take a daily 30-minute walk (very good for you)
Best practice: once in the morning 30 min long and once in the evening around 9 pm meditate until your mind is calm – for details on how to meditate check out below I will have a detailed How-to guide on different types of meditation.
Meditate according to your dosha
-Vata does normal seated meditation, focus on calmness and the breath.(Vatas battle to sit still and always on the go-busy mind) -Pitta does seat or standing meditation and meditates on calm abiding and compassion. -Kapha usually battles with sitting meditation(keep falling asleep) but can with persistence, if battling focus on standing meditation.
Meditation is an absolute must in the modern life, this is a major stress buster and mind calmer, which leads to a more stable mind and emotional state conducive to healing and NOT depleting your adrenals(normal lifestyle nukes your adrenals of corticosteroids) very bad.
Sleep in depth
An often overlooked and the most ignored/maligned principle in the modern lifestyle, yet it’s absolutely the most important for health and longevity. Li Ching Yun had advice for living a long life: “Keep a quiet heart, sit like a tortoise, walk sprightly like a pigeon and sleep like a dog” – and apparently, he followed his own advice, because Li died at a ripe old age of 256!
The reason I put this quote here is to show how sleeping can be tied to longevity(and obviously health) Sleeping well accounts for good healing and restoration of our stem cells= proper regeneration and repair, it is not rocket science to realize if you are pulling 6 am – 3 am long waking sessions you are going to break down.
Sleep is the mother of all healing and the number 1 key to a long and healthy life.
Constantly going to bed late erodes your immunity and ages you prematurely, at 10 pm your liver starts to regenerate and detoxify and if you are awake – this does not happen efficiently leading to a slow decline in your health and a decline in your longevity.
Some people suffer from Insomnia, so here’s some advice to help you sleep soundly and fall asleep quickly..
Follow this routine for supreme mastery over your sleep
*Get up early -Get up at sunrise *Go to bed before 10 pm -Your digestive fire starts to flare upbringing your consciousness up to a high degree of alertness (second wind) at around 10 pm, this is one of the contributing factors to insomnia, work with nature and be in bed before this time to take advantage of the pre 10 pm sleepiness.
*Keep a routine, so your body gets used to sleeping at the right time
*Set time aside for thinking/contemplation -Something we often neglect, we keep busy right until we go to bed doing stimulating things like watching an action movie, working on that budget, or playing pc games.
Obviously this does not allow your mind the time to think, so naturally the first pause it gets, it will then start harassing you with all the ignored details of the day, things you didn’t do or just needed to think about.. so seriously it is important not only to meditate but to contemplate too. Set aside some relaxed alone time where you just sit and think/contemplate, or your mind will decide to do it when you try to sleep.
*Herbal Insomnia Cure in your cupboard fridge: -Nutmeg or lettuce
if you are really struggling to get to sleep and your mind is like a jackrabbit, then feed it lettuce, lol no seriously – lettuce will help you fall asleep quite quickly eat 2 whole leaves especially the white bit near the stem of the leaf. Eat lettuce in preference to nutmeg in summer as it is cooling in nature. especially helpful if you are overheating and sweating a lot at night.
This is very effective, but a little heating, therefore it is best to use it in winter, take half a teaspoon of nutmeg powder on your tongue wash it down with water and you will be asleep in 30 mins!
We will give a little advice on the types of exercise each dosha can do:
Vata – Only do light exercises like tai chi and yoga or qigong, walking every day is ok (No jogging or extreme exercises)
Pitta – You can do the walking, some jogging, as well as tai chi and yoga, some gym too but not extreme exercises(powerlifting)
Kapha- This group can do the heaviest most extreme exercises and this is encouraged. Kapha people have the strongest physical constitution.