A Detail Guide of Ayurveda in Modern Urban Life

A Detail Guide of Ayurveda in Modern Urban Life

The uniquely comprehensive healthcare system developed in Ancient Indian civilization, gaining its relevance again, is called Ayurveda. Ayurveda is the first healthcare system to include the mental aspect of health. Many scholars consider Ayurveda to be the oldest healing science. Ayurvedic knowledge originated in India more than 5,000 years ago and in Sanskrit, Ayurveda means “The Science of Life.” Following this system, the physical body emerges from the mind.

Rooted in the principles of balance and harmony, Ayurvedic principles can enrich and elevate our urban lifestyles.
Ayurveda is a science that elaborates on the quality of life, life-promoting factors, and life duration. Ayurveda places great emphasis on prevention and encourages health maintenance through close attention to balance in one’s life, right thinking, diet, lifestyle and herbs. The science of Ayurveda can be viewed as an umbrella discipline or ‘mother’ of many modern-day alternative therapies. Let's delve into a detailed yet simple guide on how Ayurveda can be applied in contemporary urban life.


UNDERSTANDING AYURVEDA:


At the core of understanding Ayurveda, lies the belief that the mind, body, and spirit are interconnected, and achieving balance and harmony among these elements is essential for optimal health.
The Ayurvedic texts contain profound understanding of the deeper workings of nature and the rhythms and cycles that govern all life on earth.


According to Ayurveda, each individual possesses a unique constitution, or "dosha," which comprises the elements of air (Vata), fire (Pitta), and earth (Kapha).


“Ayu” is the duration of life and reflects the broad spectrum of Ayurveda. According to this definition of “Ayu”, even a bacterium is a living being and therefore a subject to Ayurveda. Imbalances in these doshas can lead to illness, while harmony fosters well-being.
Ayurveda promotes focus on health and health only. Once we have an exclusive focus on health, disease prevention becomes incidental and complete. It is no longer disease prevention; it is diseases elimination.


Balance is the natural order; imbalance is disorder.
Health is order; disease is disorder. Within the body there is a constant interaction between order and disorder. When one understands the nature and structure of disorder, one can re-establish order.


SLEEP SCHEDULE:


The concept of Dinacharya, or daily routine, emphasizes the importance of aligning our activities with the natural rhythms of the day ie., the environment around us.


The imbalances in our sleep patterns can be very discouraging—even debilitating—and the task of getting back on track can feel incredibly daunting. Sleep is a natural time for the body and mind to rest, reset, detoxify, and rejuvenate—and sleep is carefully regulated by our bodies.


A consistent sleep schedule is paramount for maintaining balance. Charaka Samhita, the ancient Sanskrit text on Ayurveda, mentions six types of sleep. According to the text, sleep may be due to:
• natural sleep without external imbalances
• depression
• increased kapha caused by eating an excess of foods like chocolate, cheese, or fried food
• exhaustion of mind and body caused by excessive physical work
• chronic disease
• imbalance or injury in the body


Further, sleep has been linked to important changes in the structure and function of the brain.
When it comes to infants and young children, sleep (and a lot of it) is absolutely critical to proper brain development. In adults, similar correlations have been drawn between sleep and the brain’s ability to reorganize itself and form new neural pathways. Going to bed early and rising with the sun is recommended to synchronize with nature's cycles. Adequate, undisturbed sleep supports physical rejuvenation and mental clarity, crucial for navigating the demands of urban life.
One 2013 study noted that regular practice of yoga along with pranayama, or deep breathing exercise, in the morning also helps in improved sleep.
Research from 2020 also shows that ashwagandha root, known as Indian ginseng, may improve sleep quality. Ashwagandha powder, along with nutmeg, can be taken with warm milk.


EXERCISE:


Ayurveda recommends exercise that complements one's dosha constitution. Vata types benefit from grounding practices such as yoga and walking, while Pitta individuals thrive on moderate, cooling activities like swimming or cycling.
Kapha types benefit from invigorating exercises such as brisk walking or vigorous dancing to stimulate circulation and energy flow. Ayurveda recommends the morning time 6 am to 10 am as a time for rejuvenation and achieving optimal health. The evening is the ideal time to relax, rest and rejuvenate. Healthy exercise from the Ayurvedic perspective means exercising to half your capacity. At this stage, you can still breathe through the nose, although breathing is deeper, and you can still chat easily. Slight sweating is good. Consistency and moderation are key, avoiding excessive strain that could disrupt dosha balance.


FOOD:


Ayurveda attributes 80% of all disease to imbalances of the digestive system and, therefore, much attention is given to its maintenance.


Diet plays a central role in Ayurveda, with a focus on wholesome, seasonal, local foods that nourish the body and support digestion.
Incorporating the six tastes—sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent—ensures a balanced meal that satisfies both physical and emotional cravings. Mindful eating, free from distractions, enhances digestion and absorption of nutrients. The Ayurvedic diet is a type of eating plan that sets guidelines for when, how, and what you should eat based on your dosha, or body type.


For example, the pitta dosha focuses on cooling, energizing foods and limits spices, nuts, and seeds. Meanwhile, the vata dosha favors warm, moist, and grounding foods while restricting dried fruits, bitter herbs, and raw veggies. Finally, the kapha dosha limits heavy foods like nuts, seeds, and oils in favor of fruits, veggies, and legumes.


Although the Ayurvedic diet has specific guidelines for each dosha, the diet as a whole encourages eating whole foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. Additionally, Ayurveda advises against overeating and encourages regular fasting to detoxify and rejuvenate the body.


TEXTILES:


Ayurveda extends its principles to the fabrics we wear, recognizing their impact on our well-being. It prefers natural fibers such as cotton, silk, and wool for their breathability and ability to regulate body temperature. Synthetic materials may disrupt energy flow and exacerbate dosha imbalances.
Choosing clothing that aligns with the climate and personal comfort fosters harmony within and without. Another concept of Ayurvedic clothing is called Ayurvastra - the art of producing natural textiles made of natural fiber such as cotton yarn, jute fibre, silk, wool etc. and dying them with medicinal herbs.


Ayurvastra clothing is completely free of synthetic chemicals and toxic irritants and is totally organic, sustainable and biodegradable. Plant-based dyes not only eliminate the effects of chemical dyes in the water supply, but also have more subtle healing aspects for the wearer.


The roots, flowers, leaves, seeds and barks of more than 200 medicinal herbs, plants, flowers, roots, and barks are used to make the dyes. In Ayurvastra, the color is gained from the medicinal preparation only — no other colorants are used.

The herbs used are different from vegetable dyes as they are not only natural but also have medicinal value. For example, for diabetes, cloth dyers combine Sensitive plant (Mimosa pudica), Cumin (Cuminum cyminum), flowers from the sacred Champa tree (Michelia champaka) and Shoe flower (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis).


The most effective time to wear the herbal-infused clothing is while resting, sleeping
or meditating, when the body is naturally healing and re-establishing balance, so many of the products are created with those effects in mind.


MINDFULNESS AND STRESS MANAGEMENT:


In the fast-paced urban environment, stress has become a prevalent concern impacting overall health. Ayurveda emphasizes the practice of mindfulness and stress management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and aromatherapy. Ayurveda places significant importance on the mind-body connection and believes that practices like yoga and meditation are essential tools for managing stress and promoting overall well-being. These practices are tailored to an individual’s constitution (dosha) and can help balance the doshas, calm the mind, and reduce stress. Cultivating awareness of thoughts and emotions allows for conscious responses rather than reactive behavior, promoting inner peace and resilience in the face of challenges.

Aromatherapy, the use of essential oils extracted from plants for therapeutic purposes, can be a valuable tool for managing stress according to Ayurveda. Ayurveda places a strong emphasis on the sense of smell and its impact on the mind and emotions. Aromatherapy can help balance the doshas, calm the nervous system, and promote relaxation.


Stress management through Ayurveda is a multifaceted approach involving diet, herbal treatments, and lifestyle changes.


CONCLUSION:


Integrating Ayurvedic principles into modern urban life offers a roadmap to holistic wellness, balancing the demands of work, relationships, and self-care. By aligning with the rhythms of nature and honouring our unique constitutions, we can cultivate vitality, resilience, and harmony in our daily lives. Embracing these principles, we embark on a journey towards vibrant health and well-being, enriching not only our own lives but also the communities we inhabit.

Back to blog