No matter what your age, there are things you can do to look and feel younger, healthier, happier. You hold the future of your health in your own hands. The wonderful thing about ayurvedic healing is that it teaches both damage-prevention and damage-reversal; so following these few basic tips from The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians can make a big difference to that image you see in the mirror.
Here's what the Council has to say about looking and feeling young
Eat to Live Longer
How much of a change in your way of eating do you have to make to start feeling younger? "While no one has been able to quantify it, one thing is for sure. Even relatively small, painless changes in your diet — whatever your age — can make a big difference to the way you feel. I would go so far as to say your diet can lengthen your life span, if you start listening to your body and its true nutrition needs."
Listening to your body begins with having a vaidya (ayurvedic expert) assess your dosha-type, then following the basic food guidelines he prescribes. His purpose in telling you to eat or avoid certain things is to return you to your state of natural balance. Once you arrive at and maintain that state of balance, your health will improve in every aspect: physical, mental and emotional.
Some basic ayurvedic nutrition guidelines work well for everyone, regardless of dosha-type. Cooking with ghee, for instance. Ghee is simply clarified butter — butter with all the milk solids removed. It's a time-honored alternative to hydrogenated oils that clog arteries and promote free-radical damage.
In ayurveda, ghee is considered an effective "carrier" of the lipid-soluble portion of herbs and spices to the various parts of the body. It is a Sattvic food — one that nurtures the emotions and the spirit as it provides nourishment to the body.
More diet tips for everyone
a) Make friends with herbs and spices. Shredded iceberg lettuce and French fries may be a convenient daily option for lunch, but if your diet incorporates few or no herbs and spices, you're missing something. Not only in taste, but also nutrition-wise. Nature has endowed earth with a staggering variety of aromatic, colorful and healing ingredients that are waiting to be discovered. Cumin helps digestion, freshly-crushed black pepper helps you assimilate food better, cilantro cools and nutmeg soothes. But of course, if you have never used these star healers before, it can be difficult to decide which ones to buy, and how to combine them. Maharishi Ayurveda's precise, dosha-wise spice blends make your job simple: bring home the Vata, Pitta and Kapha churnas; sauté them in ghee or simply sprinkle them on soups — and you will discover good health the delicious way.
b) If you are an erratic eater, reset your mealtimes. Eating lunch at an almost fixed time daily will regulate your digestion and make you feel energetic and youthful within days. Nature has designed the human hunger to peak at noon and diminish at dinnertime. Listen to nature, and you'll add life to your years.
Join the Resistance Movement
The commonly-held view is that age generally brings with it a lower resistance and weakened natural immunity. But the good news is that lowered immunity need not be inevitable as you move through life.
Beat back time with one of many powerful weapons: regular exercise. Easy-paced walking or simple, no-stress yoga asanas can work wonders for you — they rev up circulation, help flush out unwanted toxins from the body and thus balance your doshas.
If you have so far led a sedentary life, don't over-exert yourself in your quest for good health. Even if you are fairly active, exercise only as much as feels comfortable — using only about half of your total energy levels at any time. According to Maharishi Ayurveda, exercise should energize, not exhaust, the body. You should feel more vital and alive after exercise — not ready to collapse.
But some of us cannot seem to draw the line between working out and maxing out. For such people, Maharishi Ayurveda has formulated a special self-care system called the Sports & Fitness System. So if you're one of those people who cannot resist a marathon gym session thrice a week, this self-care system will work as your best friend.
What's the biggest giveaway of a person's age? Those crow's-feet and frown lines, the bags under the eyes, that pouch under the chin. As people age, they collect more Vata— and Vata is a dry dosha, which means skin loses moisture and begins to wrinkle and sag.
It is, however, quite easy to keep skin glowing right into the mature years with some not-so-time-intensive routine care. Drink water several times a day to help the body flush out toxins and keep skin moisturized. Sleep and wake up on time so your body feels rested, your eyes stay bright, and your mind feels active. Eat foods that suit your personal doshic combination and imbalances. Maintain good hygiene and grooming. And don't forget to give yourself an all-body oil massage every morning before your daily bath.
Add to this some nourishment from herbs, and you can have skin that is supple, healthy and radiant. Maharishi Ayurveda has formulated some excellent skin-rejuvenating formulas that will infuse skin with a glow that lasts — without loading it with chemicals.
Rethink Your Attitude
Hitting 40 can make some people feel the journey downhill has begun. On the contrary, says a poet: "As infants we tumble, as toddlers we stumble, as teens we grumble at life. In our 20s we bumble, in our 30s we fumble, not until 40 do we start to get it right!"
Ayurveda also urges you to stay positive and optimistic at every stage of your life. Nursing a negative self-image is a "pragya aparadh — mistake of the intellect," says an ayurvedic expert from The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians. "I see so many potentially good-looking men and women in their 40s, who look far older than their years simply because they suffer from low self-esteem. By paying more attention to personal hygiene, caring for your appearance, and tuning in to yourself through Transcendental Meditation®, you can believe yourself beautiful — and young."
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.
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