Vihara, the next step to Create Health-Part 1
In my last post I wrote about Ahara as the first step in creating great health. Ahara is defined as all that we take in including food, water, air and perceptions.
Today’s post is about Vihara which is the next step to creating true health. Vihara refers to lifestyle. As important as eating properly, getting outside and letting go of perceptions are to your health, Vihara is equally important. Continuing with the story of Ruth from the last post, our next session was about Vihara.
Ruth likes to stay up late and watch TV. She claimed that she “can’t ever fall asleep before 1:30AM”. After she eats her bowl of ice cream at night, she typically turns on her lap top and starts reading emails, checking Facebook etc. She also likes to shop late at night and suddenly she realizes it’s 1:00AM!
When it comes to waking up the next morning, Ruth sleeps as late as she possibly can to make up for being up so late the night before. She usually wakes up at 7AM to get ready for work and rushes out the door to get to work on time. (Note to self, this equates to just 5.5 hours of sleep!) She feels tired every single morning and gets her non-fat latte to help her feel more awake as a result of her lack of sleep.
Remember in the last post, I talked about Ruth’s bad digestion, but what i didn’t mention was her bad poop. You read that correctly, POOP! Ayurveda practitioners always ask about poop. How it looks and how often you poop, is it firm, loose, does it float, what color is it? Why are we so obsessed with poop? I’m so glad you asked because poop has everything to do with your digestion. If you have good digestion, more than likely, you will have good poop every morning (and it optimally your bowel movement should be first thing in the morning). You could even say if you poop well, you digest well.
What, you might be asking, has poop got to do with what time you go to bed overnight??? It has everything to do with that.
- If you sleep between 10pm and 2am, it’s pitta time and pitta has everything to do with transformation.
- The body transforms everything you have taken in all day (yes – Ahara again) into energy and feeds the tissues. And then the body discards what it doesn’t need through your urine and your poop.
There are many more aspects to Vihara and here are the first few things to start your daily routine.
- Scrap your tongue every morning after you brush your teeth. A copper tongue scrapper is best. This action removes toxins that have built up overnight. Gives you cleaner breath etc!
- Next, swish oil in your mouth and through your teeth for 5 to 20 minutes. Sesame oil is more traditional here (it actually has anti-bacterial qualities) but there are some great products out there today that taste fabulous, like Banyan Botanicals SWISH product. When you’re done, spit the oil out and rinse your mouth with water (don’t swallow the oil as it’s filled with the contaminants you want to get rid of).
- Use a neti pot EVERY SINGLE morning! Use boiled and cooled water to make the water as pure as possible. Add a quarter teaspoons of salt to your neti pot, stir and rinse one side of the nostril and then the other side.
- Drink a cup of warm to hot water.
- After you get in your morning exercise, it’s time for ABHYANGA, which is a daily oil massage. You’ll apply this oil over the entire body. Herbalized oils for your unique self are best, otherwise use coconut oil for Pitta, sesame oil for Vata and Kapha. Leave the oil on your body for at least 10 minutes (longer when you have more time) while your puttering around doing other things and finally wash it off in the shower. No need to use soap except maybe on your stinky parts!
There are many more items that fall into the Vihara category, so many, I’ll need to write Part 2, but this is a great beginning. And I advised Ruth not to let this list of “things to do” overwhelm her. It doesn’t add but a few minutes everyday to your routine and it is sooooo important, but it makes a big difference.
This is PREVENTIVE care! This is where it starts!
Are you with me?