Dr. Srikanth, National Manager – Scientific Services – Pharmaceutical Division, Himalaya Wellness Company
In today’s fast-paced lifestyle where we are facing fierce competition to achieve our goals and aspirations, it is our health that gets most affected. Is it still possible to ensure that we lead a healthier lifestyle? The answer is yes! There is a simple, but often ignored guiding principle to a life lived well, which lays out three components for the sustenance of life – Food (Ahara), Sleep (Nidra), and Self-regulation (Brahmacharya). All the three work together to form the foundation of preventive management of diseases apart from bestowing healthy living.
Ahara – Food:
Basic knowledge of food, such as compatibility, seasonality, and keen observation of its influence on oneself (mind and body), are at the root of healthy eating. The quantity, quality, and timing are key aspects that must be followed carefully. This means that one should not eat until full, but only enough to satiate hunger. The food consumed should be nutritious and favorable to one’s body, and importantly, consumed at the right time.
A simple rule is to follow one’s own body signals keeping in mind what is naturally available in a particular season or geography. To master this, practicing mindful eating is important. Mindful eating is basically focusing one’s attention on food without getting distracted by external factors such as television, working, and reading.
Nidra – Sleep:
When a person sleeps, the body is silently and steadily working to achieve optimum metabolism along with all other biochemical processes involved in rejuvenation. Again here, the simple rule revolves around quantity, quality, and timing. Sleeping during the day is generally unhealthy, except when a person is fatigued due to work at night or seasonal influence. Early to rise and early to bed continues to be the universal guideline for healthy sleeping, which is in tune with the biological rhythm and helps the optimal functioning of all inner body processes. Sleep quality is linked to healthy eating and a deeper concept of self-regulating the body and mind. Consuming nutritious food helps the brain produce the neurotransmitters needed for adequate sleep.
Brahmacharya – Self- regulation:
Brahmacharya is self-regulation, i.e., staying in control of one’s body and mind. The key here is to set limits and practice those. Some examples of regulating the body are:
• Eating when one is hungry, but not stuffing oneself with a favorite food.
• Resting when one is tired, but not lazing in bed all day.
• Exercising regularly, but not overstraining.
Mindfulness and moderation are the key factors when it comes to self-regulation. These rules apply to every sphere of life.
Although professional accomplishment is an important source of fulfillment, care should always be taken so that one does not burn out; work-life balance is a must for a healthy social life.
As Ayurveda has rightly defined ages ago and what was echoed by the WHO years later, health is not merely the absence of a disease, but the presence of overall well-being – physical, mental, and social. The three tenets, Ahara, Nidra, and Brahmacharya, work in tandem to achieve a unique harmony that leads to this sense of complete and holistic well-being. Each tenet influences and complements the other in a crucial chain of action. For instance, while self-regulation is the key to healthy eating and sleeping, food and sleep habits if followed well can help in controlling the mind, thereby helping control other weaknesses that one may tend to indulge in.
In a nutshell, the three aspects should be practiced in moderation according to individual needs and that requires constant and careful observation of oneself. These three principles work together to form the cornerstone of preventive management of diseases apart from aiding in healthy living.