Getting rid of mental and physical toxicity
We have already touched upon the concept of Ama in our last article. If you missed it, you may read it Concept of ama in ayurveda Now we will talk about the next step – that of getting rid of toxicity from our system.
Ayurveda believes that prevention is better than cure स्वस्थस्य स्वस्थ रक्षणं and अतुरास्य विकार प्रशमनं. A very important step in this prevention is to avoid a condition wherein Ama starts affecting our daily life which in turn will slow us down and interfere with our mental and physical productivity. Ayurveda can help us achieve peak productivity by giving us easy-to-follow tips on avoiding Ama. We need to watch our Ahara (diet), Vihara (daily activities) and Aushadh(medication).
Rules regarding food intake
- Eat when hungry. One should eat only after the previous meal is completely digested. Ayurveda mentions some symptoms that give an indication of good digestion, such as belching (this should be devoid of the taste of the meal last ingested), lightness in the body, alertness of mind and so on. It is advisable to get in tune with your body and re-discover how it feels to be really hungry!
- Eat in a calm and comfortable place.Eat in peace, both physically and mentally. Do not watch TV while eating, do not read, and most certainly do not eat when upset or angry.
- Eat the right quantity. This differs from person to person. Still, as a broad guideline, Ayurveda advises that you eat half the capacity, and drink one fourth the capacity of your stomach – leaving some space in it for air to move around.
- Eat warm meals. Ideally you should enjoy freshly cooked meals. But as long as you avoid eating or drinking anything straight from the fridge, you’ll preserve your digestive power (Agni). Eating room temperature or warm food allows your digestive enzymes to work efficiently.
- 5. Eat quality food.Make sure that your meal is juicy or a little oily as this will facilitate digestion and improve nutrient absorption. Avoid foods which are too dry.
- Do not eat incompatible food items at the same time. This might lead to an upset stomach. An obvious example is fish and milk. We will try to provide you with a whole list very soon – make sure you keep following us!
- Be in the present moment when you eat.Use all your five senses. Take time to appreciate the aroma of your meal, the look of your plate, the texture of your food, the different flavors, and the sounds that you make when you eat. Our thoughts change our enzyme activity and the secretion of digestive juices. It’s a bit like how tears well up in our eyes with sorrow or how our mouth goes dry in a fit of rage – in the same way our emotions play a role in the process of digestion.
- Don’t eat fast. Don’t just swallow your food, take your time to chew it. As we all know, every stage of digestion prepares what we have eaten for the next stage. We need to allow ample time for the food to mix with saliva. We need to chew properly to increase the surface area of the food so that gastric juices can act upon it properly and there will be no residue (Ama) after digestion.
- Eat meals at regular times. Did you know that your body starts preparing itself for digestion way before you even start eating? That’s why it is crucial to maintain regular meal timings so that your system can stay organized and be less burdened by sudden hunger pangs or by overeating.
These simple rules will help keep your body free from toxins. But wait! This is not the end of our journey to a toxin free body.
As mentioned earlier, Vihara is physical activity. Ayurveda has a great deal to say on this subject, in fact, Charak Samhita which is a pioneering book on the subject of Ayurveda has dedicated a whole chapter towards Dinacharya – a protocol for daily living with pointers that will help us live a long and healthy life. Here, however, we are only focusing on guidelines meant to avoid toxicity.
Exercise: Exercise plays a big role in our life as much as any other activity like breathing, eating, sleeping and drinking. Exercise is mandatory for maintaining quality of life as it has the potential to keep our metabolism high. A good exercise regimen breaks down toxins and expels them from the body through sweat. It also plays a very vital role in removing mental toxicity -intense research has proven that after exercise the production of cortisol, the stress hormone, is significantly reduced. Exercise also promotes the secretion of BDN (brain derived neuro endorphin) which elevates our mood and makes us feel happy.
Walking 500 steps after every meal will push the food down and aid digestion. Sitting in Vajrasan also helps increase the Agni for proper digestion which in turn will help keep Ama at bay.
Avoid rigorous activity before or after partaking meals. Do not bathe just after a meal. The reason for this? When we indulge in rigorous activity or bathing our Agni moves away from the core (stomach or mesentery) instead of remaining in the digestive system where it is required to breakdown food and absorb it. In fact, Agni will not be able to digest even the lightest of foods if directed away from the digestive system and this partially digested food will become Ama in our body which will give rise to all kinds of issues.
As we come to the end of our article, we will discuss the most important part of a toxin-free body and mind – Panchkarma (purificatory procedures meant for attaining peak productivity of mind and body)
Dr Neeraj Jaswal B.A.M.S. M.D. (Ayu),
Sri Sri Tattva Panchakarma
New Rajinder Nagar, New Delhi.