A healthy body is a state of balance. Continuing our understanding on the means to achieve this state of balance, let us delve more into the practice which leads to attainment of balance. Cleanliness or shauch and code of conduct or aacharan are two important components which lead to good health. Aacharan or ethics inculcate in us the right way of living which influence our intellect in such a way that we do not go astray to cause pragyaparadh i.e. wrong judgment and giving in to temptation.
Ayurved has given dincharya
(day routine), ratricharya
(night routine) and ritucharya
(seasonal routine) to be followed.
Ayurved describes dincharya as the daily routine to be followed from sunrise till sunset. Early morning or Brahm Muhurat
is the time prescribed for waking up. A little before sunrise, it is the time when almost all animals, birds and newly born infants rise from sleep as they adhere to the principles of nature and are not influenced by modern ways of life.
For spiritual aspirants it is the most beneficial time in the day for their practices but people who are generally in the practice of waking up early exhibit the benefits reaped by virtue of these practices. They are generally seen to have glowing face and stronger healthy bodies but only those who do not nullify the effect by drinking tea or coffee as the effect is highly injurious to health of everyone.
Drinking fresh water is most beneficial in the morning. Yogic kriyas and a relaxing walk in the fresh morning air are highly beneficial at this time.
Natural products like neem datun (green twig of the margosa tree) are a better substitute for cleaning the teeth which is the next step. After walk and asanas, massaging the body with sesame or mustard oil is very useful when the sun starts rising higher. After the massage, again a 15-20 minute rest is prescribed, to be followed by bath. In summer use cold water and in winter bathe in warm (not hot) water. Neither cold nor hot water should be poured on the head. In earlier times sesame oil or ghee used to be applied in the ears, navel and nostrils and hair, after bath. Oil in ears and nostrils blocks dust and pollution. Oil on the navel helps the stomach and internal organs from the effect of vata. Oil is also a tonic for hair and the brain. After bath spiritual practices or prayers are to be performed.
prescribes proper meals twice a day, in the mornings before twelve and in the evening around seven. But diets are taken according to the kind of activities a person is into. For people who are into heavy physical labour, even three full meals can be taken.
One should take a small amount of water along with the meal to make the food easily digestible. In fact 1/3 part of one's meals should comprises of solid, 1/3 liquid and 1/3 should be left for vata to do its function properly. Teeth should once again be cleansed after meals. Except in summer, one should avoid afternoon nap.
After finishing the day's work one should try to defecate in the evening too. In summers evening bath is also good. A gentle walk is beneficial after the evening meal.
One should always clean the mouth and wash hands and feet before retiring to bed as it induces sleep. Massaging the feet with oil at night helps one relax and go off to sleep very easily and is a good practice for people suffering from insomnia. Seven hours of sleep is enough to maintain a healthy balance in the body.