12 Ancient Indian Habits that you should live by and why?
#1 SUNLIGHT IS POWER
Speaking of ancient healthy habits…
How many of us get exposed to natural sunlight without fearing of sun damage and skin tanning?????
Sunlight is very important factor in the very formation of life.. It is the best source of energy available
Plants need sunlight to grow. Animals including humans, need plants for food and the oxygen produced by plants
Seeing the natural light of the sun helps the brain to work better. (Don’t stare into the sun, but allow your eyes to be exposed to natural outdoor light)
Every single cell of our body requires vitamin D which our body synthesizes using sunlight
Vitamin D is often referred to as “THE SUNSHINE VITAMIN”
People those who are deficient to Vitamin D – may suffer:
Bone and back pain,
And Dull skin
The prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency ranges from 40% to 99% of Indian population, with most of the studies reporting a prevalence of 80%–90%. It was prevalent in all the age groups and high-risk groups alike
So, Go out and take sun ☀️ bath – both you and kids
Even a 15 min exposure is a great habit
Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation is an ancient technique of paying respects to the sun.
It is a form of expressing gratitude to this source of all life on earth
Why one should do 108 Surya Namskar???
First understand the science behind this ancient technique:
Ancient Indian sages have said ‘different energies govern different parts of the body’. For instance, the solar plexus which is located behind the navel is connected to the Sun.
Regular practice of Surya Namaskar enhances the size of the solar plexus. This helps in increasing your creativity, intuitive abilities, decision-making, confidence and leadership skills. This is why the practice of Surya Namaskar is highly recommended
Health benefits of Practicing Surya Namaskar
☀️It helps keep you disease-free and healthy
☀️Regular practice promotes balance in the body
☀️Improves blood circulation
☀️Strengthens the heart
☀️Improves gut function ☀️Stimulates abdominal muscles, respiratory system, lymphatic system, spinal nerves and other internal organs
☀️Tones the spine, neck, shoulder, arms, hands, wrist, back and leg muscles, thereby promoting overall flexibility
☀️Psychologically, it regulates the interconnectedness of body, breath, and mind, thus making you calmer and boost the energy levels
☀️Surya Namaskar is also immensely beneficial for losing weight, skincare and hair care
☀️ And as mentioned in the previous post… It gives you vitamin D. (For importance of vitamin D – visit previous post on our page).
#3 PRACTISE MALASANA
Yoga is absolutely a gift to humanity from our ancestors. In yoga therapy, asanas are not practiced for the sake of burning extra calories, but to develop body awareness, to understand the language of body, the way it works, and what suits it best.
Here I would like to mention about Mālāsana
Mālāsana is a term for various squatting āsanas in hatha yoga and modern yoga as exercise.
Benefits of Mālāsana
🧘♀️Malasana stretches the thighs, groin, hips, ankles, and torso
🧘♀️It tones the abdominal muscles and improves the function of the colon to help with elimination .
This pose also increases circulation and blood flow in the pelvis, which can help regulate sexual energy
🧘♀️Malasana improves balance, concentration, and focus
☀️Hippocrates said, “All diseases begin in the gut. Poor digestion is the root of all evil.”
So, start practising ancient yoga pose -Malasana and get relieved from constipation 🙃🙃🙃
The Abhyanga (body massage) is an ancient practice. It’s believed to promote wellness and balance, along with stress relief and healthy skin.
Abhyanga is done with warm oil. The oil is applied on the entire body, from the scalp to the sole of your feet.
Abhyanga is typically performed by a massage therapist. But it’s also possible to do self-massage.
According to abhyanga practitioners, healthy skin is the prime benefit of massage.
The oil used nourish the skin and improves its overall appearance.
Benefits of Abhyanga
🍁Increases in skin blood flow
🍁Reduces appearance of wrinkles, cellulites and scars
🍁Improves skin smoothness and softness
🍁Decreases hyperpigmentation 🍁Reduces muscle stiffness
🍁Increases energy and alertness
🍁Increases physical strength
🍁Delay age-related changes
For self-massage, follow these tips:
🍂Make sure the oil is warm but not too hot
🍂Take your time on each body part.
🍂After massaging your soles with oil, be careful while walking. The oil could make you slip
🍂Use a clean towel when you get out of the shower
🍂Do an abhyanga self-massage daily for optimal results .
🌿Oils to use:
The best oil for abhyanga depends on your body type
* Dry skin: Use heavy oils like almond or sesame seed *Sensitive skin: Apply a neutral oil like ghee
*Oily skin: Use a light oil, such as sweet almond or flaxseeds
#5 EAT SATVIK FOODS
“You are what you eat” is an old saying. This is based on a teaching from our shastras including Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Bhagwat Gita, and the various Upanishads
In Bhagwat Gita chapter 6 shloka 17 where Krishna says to Arjuna “Yukaharaviharasya yuktachestasya karmasu Yuktasvapnavabodhasya yoga bhavati duhkhaha”
It means “the one, whose diet and movements are balanced, whose actions are proper, whose hours of sleeping and waking up are regular, and who follows the path of meditation, is the destroyer of pain or unhappiness.” .
The message is relevant even today, validated by modern scientific research and analysis of data
Every person is distinct as his or her personality depends upon three attributes called satva, rajas and tamas
Satvik food : Is living food. With life energy inside it. It is food straight come from nature with no or minimal human interference.
Rajasik food : Foods that are too bitter, too sour, salty, pungent, dry and hot in nature. It includes foods with excess flavouring of salt and spices.
Tamsik : Food that are stale (eaten after 3 hours of being cooked), rotten (meat and fish) and foul (bad smelling)
Our modern lifestyle with its high level of stress, less physical activity and toxins leads to a life that fluctuates between Rajsik and Tamsik. For healing of body and to achieve happiness we have to transcend from Rajasik and Tamsik to SATVIK diet
Eating a satvic diet is a way to promote, and keep, satva—a clear head space of truth and stability. You can get there by eating more fresh, local foods; being thoughtful about how you prepare them; and sitting down to enjoy your meal.
#6 SIMPLE CLOTHING
Clothing in India changes depending on the different ethnicity, geography, climate, and cultural traditions of the people of each region of India.
Historically, male and female clothing has evolved from simple garments like kaupina, langota, dhotis, lungi, saree, and gamacha to cover the body into elaborate costumes not only used in daily wear, but also on festive occasions, as well as rituals and dance performances
Herodotus, an ancient Greek historian, mentions Indian cotton in the 5th century as “a wool exceeding in beauty and goodness that of sheep.” When Alexander the Great invaded India, his troops started wearing cotton clothes that were more comfortable than their previous woolen ones.
Cotton fabric is breathable and transmits moisture away from the body and is absorbent and removes liquid from the skin.
Cotton allows you to remain comfortable as you exercise, keeping moisture from building up between your skin and clothing
Cotton clothing protects from heat in the summer and cold in the winter by providing thermal insulation as the cotton fabric traps air between the fabric fibers
Cotton is hypoallergenic and does not irritate skin, it is used in medical products like bandages and gauze, and is the fabric of choice when it comes to baby clothing
Cotton clothing is soft and easily stretches, making it a comfortable fabric to wear. Due to its softness and comfort, it is often used in undergarments
Following are the Side effects of modern clothing:
Wearing ridiculously tight or skinny jeans is often linked to nerve impairments and yeast infections
Tingling and numbness are symptoms of the condition meralgia paresthetica (Meralgia paresthetica is a condition characterized by tingling, numbness and burning pain in your outer thigh. The cause of meralgia paresthetica is compression of the nerve that supplies sensation to the skin surface of your thigh ) that occurs when the nerve that runs down the front of the thigh is compressed
The butt-squeezing, thigh-hugging denim can cause nerve damage if it is too tight
Note : Avoid using tight and skinny clothing
Use comfortable cotton cloths
Avoid using tight undergarments
Always wear clean clothes
#7 USE VEDIC UTENSILS
Have you ever tried handi chicken🍗 or handi biryani ? If you have, you would know the difference of the taste of the chicken as compared to what is cooked in normal utensils
In the olden times, people in rural India along with storing water in earthen pots also used to cook in clay pots or handi, which is very beneficial for health.
Clay pots add many important nutrients like calcium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium and sulfur to food, which are extremely beneficial to our body. Clay is also alkaline and thus, acts neutralized the acidity in the food, which makes it easier for us to digest
Oil is not necessary for cooking in a clay pot and thus, it is observed that food cooked in clay pots are much lower in fat than food prepared in any other method
Due to slow cooking and porous nature of clay pots, the moisture and aroma tends to stay in the pot without losing any nutrient, hence making it flavoursome
Now a days clay pots are glazed with substances that contain lead, mercury and many others that can be hazardous for health. If you manage to get an unglazed and pure earthen pot, you can start cooking in them after soaking them in water for some time
Copper utensils :
Copper is an essential trace mineral that is vital to human body. It has antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties.
To know, benefits of copper utensils please read my previous post on “benefits of drinking water in copper bottle”
Iron Kadhai :
Iron kadai is smoothest in the Indian market. It makes it more easy to clean and saves your time while cooking
When you cook food in iron vessels, it reacts with the metal surface. As a result, iron gets released in the food (which helps to increase HB in blood) .
Note : Water and other fluids should not be stored in iron vessels. Iron reacts with moisture and forms rust, For this reason, any food cooked in iron vessels should be transferred immediately to another dish or a-glass. Don’t cook Sour or acidic foods such as kadhi, rassam, sambhar or tomato based curries. They may react with the iron to create an unpleasant metallic taste.
#8 USE SPICES
Spices add aroma, fragrance, taste and flavor to the Indian Cuisines. Not only this but all the spices have their own health benefits in some unique ways.
Use spices , not sauces 😑
Imagine your food without any spices. Unimaginable 😬😬😬 isn’t it?
You can be more creative in use of spices if you know it’s uses better. . See uses of few Indian spices
1. Hing (Asofoetida) : remedy for whooping cough and stomach ache caused due to gas.
2. Elaichi (cardamom) : to control bad breath and digestive disorder. Also good for coping with diabetes.
3. Dalchini (cinnamon) : it helps for natural production of insulin and reduces blood cholesterol.
4. Launge (clove) : beneficial for chest pain, fever, cough and cold. Also coping with tooth ache and sore gums.
5. Zeera (cumin) : Good source of iron and keep immune system healthy.
6. Dhaniya (coriander) : good for coping with soar throat, allergies, digestive problems, fever etc.
7. Curry leaves : beneficial for reducing blood sugar. Dried leaves are extensively used in herbal medicines
8. Jaiphal (Nutmeg) : for treatment of asthama , heart disorder and bad breath
Now why not sauces: ❌
They can cause acid reflux, mouth and throat irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, mild spasms & muscle aches etc.
Lycopene present in tomato sauce can cause accumulation of fat under the skin, indigestion and worsened hot flashes.
Also regular use of sauces can cause headache, nausea and weakness. So please start using spices in cooking, not sauces 😉
#9 MINDFUL EATING
Firstly, what is Mindless eating :
We are distracted by television, work, computer or social media while we eat. Many people eat very fast and feel too full by the time they stop eating. Have you ever been eating something and started reaching for more, only to realize you have eaten the whole thing and didn’t really even taste it? This is an example of mindless eating. This is because we are not paying attention to our hunger and our fullness levels. We’re paying more attention to what we are watching or doing, than when our body is saying its full.
Now what is Mindful eating :
Mindful eating is a practice that helps you gain control over your eating habits (Buddhist concept) .
How to do it :
* Pay attention to the food that you eat, minimizing distractions (no mobile, TV, social media)
* Sit down, slow down and savor your meals and snacks
* Bless your food (The positive thinking and blessing of the food change the molecule structure of water, influencing the fluid cells in food and the way they affect your body and digestion) .
*वदनि कवळ घेता नाम घ्या श्रीहरीचे ।
सहज हवन होते नाम घेता फुकाचे ।
जिवन करि जिवित्वा अन्न हे पूर्णब्रह्म ।
उदरभरण नोहे जाणिजे यज्ञकर्म ॥१॥
जनीं भोजनी नाम वाचे वदावे ।
अती आदरे गद्यघोषे म्हणावे ।
हरीचिंतने अन्न सेवित जावे ।
तरी श्रीहरी पाविजेतो स्वभावे ॥२
* Pay attention to your senses: smell, taste, noticing colour and texture of food
* Slow down your eating, chewing food thoroughly
* Tune into your body signals of hunger and fullness
* Eat when hungry and stop at a comfortable level of fullness
* It allows you to feel in control and enjoy the experience of eating so much more
* It has been shown to promote weight loss, reduce binge eating, and help you feel better
Remember that learning “how to eat” is just as important as learning “what to eat.”
#10 CIRCADIAN CYCLE
Circadian rhythms are linked to your body’s internal clock and your sleep/wake cycle (also known as your body clock)
We’re designed to have 24-hour rhythms in our physiology and metabolism. These rhythms exist because, just like our brain needs to go to sleep each night to repair, reset and rejuvenate, every organ needs to have down time to repair and reset as well.
Circadian rhythms help set our sleep patterns, the brain controls the production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep.
Your circadian rhythms works best when you have regular sleep habits, like going to bed at night and waking up in the morning around the same time each day.
Skip using blue light-emitting devices at least one hour before going to bed (like mobile, computer, etc). This type of light has been shown to impact the levels of melatonin your body produces, more than any other wavelength.
Chronic disruption of circadian (daily) rhythms/the day/night cycle leads to :
Weight gain (obesity)
Slower thinking and other physiological and behavioral changes.
So, follow the law of nature :
🌱Wake up early (before or with sunrise)
🌱Step outside or look out of your window, connect with natural sunlight after wake up
🌱Exercise at the same time everyday
🌱Eat only after sunrise
🌱If you take a power nap don’t cross 30 min
🌱Consume more nutrients/calories in morning breakfast & lunch time
🌱 Early dinner as close to with or after sunset as possible
🌱Set sleep time & wake up time at the same time everyday
🌱Phone, computer & Screen off 1hr to 2hrs before bed time 🌱Do Intermittent fasting (more than 12 hrs) & listen to your body when you eat
#11 MORE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND LESS USE OF TECHNOLOGY
Our ancestors never went to gyms and didn’t even even know about Pilates, Aerobics, Tabata or Zumba.
Why were our ancestors healthier? .
Here are some reasons why they must be healthier and happier than us:
They were active in doing their daily activities. They had to look after their house and didn’t have maids or servants taking care their daily chores. They did not sit on a desk all day looking at a screen.
They led a simple life where there was no internet. Meaning – If they went out for a walk, it meant they were walking, looking outside, enjoying walk and not checking phone, emails or WhatsApp messages. This reduced stress levels and more importantly anxiety levels.
They had the art to cut off and concentrate and enjoy the simple pleasures of life, where we all fail miserably
They had no televisions, Netflix or Amazon Prime and did not spend hours on watching them. They were following circadian cycle.
The most ancient individuals were less likely to have been predisposed to cancer and neurological/psychological conditions.
We can try and simplify things around us. All we need to do is sometimes slow down and enjoy the small joys life has to offer us.
Following are some tips to increase physical fitness :
🏋️♀️ Avoid using elevator 🏋️♀️ Use cycle or walk to near places 🏋️♀️ Do household chores yourself
🏋️♀️ Walk your pet
🏋️♀️ Plant and care your own garden
🏋️♀️ Replace a coffee break with a brisk 10-minute walk. Ask your spouse/friend to accompany
Exercise may also change levels of chemicals in your brain, such as serotonin, endorphins and stress hormones
To maintain health and reduce risk of health problems; health professionals and researchers recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all days.
Doing any physical activity is better than doing none. If you currently do no physical activity, start by doing some, and gradually build up to the recommended amount.
#12 MEDITATION (ME TIME)
The word meditation stems from meditatum, a Latin term that means ‘to ponder’. Through the practice of meditation, we can seek to find a better connection with our body.
Meditation is a process to relax and rejuvenate your mind
Health benefits of Meditation :
Stress & anxiety reduction is one of the most common reasons people try meditation
It can also lead to an improved self-image and more positive outlook towards life
It helps you develop a stronger understanding of yourself, helping you grow into your best self
It helps increase the strength and endurance of your attention
Improvements in attention and clarity of thinking may help keep your mind young
Meditation can also improve physical health by reducing strain on the heart & helps to reduce high blood pressure and Meditation is the best way to spend your me time.