Ayurveda, like its sister science, yoga, is based on mind-body-spirit balance. So it is no surprise that along with rejuvenating foods and exercises, Ayurvedic Healers also prescribe nourishing thoughts and intentions. Good intentions for more radiant skin? I know, I know, this may seem all too wishy-washy and you’re half expecting me to pull out the crystals and incense, but I assure you, the power of the mind and outlook is not a new age myth. What we think and how we perceive the world has a profound effect on our health and well-being. Just think of how flushed we get when we are angry or embarrassed, or how some of us breakout at times of high stress. Yes, our emotions are interconnected with our physical body so we need to make sure we are as vigilant in caring for consciousness as we are our diet and lifestyle.
But being good to our emotional selves is not only in the form of managing stress or being gentle on our egos. According to Ayurveda there are specific thoughts and behaviors that promote strengthening and restoration of our physical bodies as well as out minds. Below are seven rasayanas (rejuvenating substances and practices) that are said to be the most important practices to stay balanced and keep our tissues healthy.
1. Speak the truth – Vedic literature state that honesty creates ojas in the body, the biochemical correlate of bliss and health, while lying creates negativity, ama (toxins) and impurities. As Ayurvedic physician, Dr. Vasant Lad, always says – our issues are in our tissues. And when we are not truthful with ourselves and others, this is said to manifest in our bodies.
2. Stay free of anger – Anger causes imbalance and inflammation and is also said to be destructive in all capacities. Instead, practicing forgiveness, brings peace to the mind, body and spirit and is the best way to mitigate and prevent anger or resentment.
3. Respect your gurus and elders – It is said to be important to always respect those that impart knowledge and wisdom to you. Since consciousness is the path to enlightenment, an appreciation of teachers and guides through our lives is embedded into Ayurvedic philosophy. And cherishing those that support this promotes love and contentedness.
4. Strive to gain Vedic knowledge – Learning more about Ayurveda is important in this science (duh, right?). The more we understand about Ayurvedic Principles, the more we understand about ourselves. And from here we can better take care of ourselves and balance our bodies. This, and the pursuit of self-evolution itself is said to be very nurturing for our bodies.
5. Practice meditation – Meditation helps relieve stress and sharpen our mind’s focus. It keeps us astute as we age as well as helps us make healthy life decisions through increased mental clarity.
6. Eat saatvic foods – Foods such as milk, ghee, yoghurt, dates, mango, walnuts and almonds convert easily into ojas (fluid of life). They support the physical brain, our sensory organs and help us stay strong and supported.
7. Surround yourself with wise individuals – They say you are the company that you keep. So, according to Ayurveda, it is important to surround yourself with other individuals who are also striving for nirvana and harmony. Choosing like-minded, wellness-focused friends will encourage you to practice good behaviors and be committed to your personal journey. To me, this is one of the most important rasayanas – because it help us practice the other six as well as coincides with the idea of maintaining a positive, cooperative, invigorating community. And what is more nourishing than that? Healthy ties and relationships like these will definitely keep us young and vibrant.