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Written by Dr Ashwini Konnur,
The use of modern techniques of Ayurveda as a means of alternative medicine is steadily increasing. Ayurveda, if used efficiently, can have various benefits and can be of aid in solving various physical and mental illnesses.
Ayurveda has enumerated 6 seasons (ritus) which a year comprises of; The Northern Solstice, (Uttarayana) includes Winter (Shishira), Spring (Vasanta) and Summer (Grishma) Wherein the bodily strength is extremely low. The Southern Solstice, known as Dakshinayana is made up of Autumn (Sharada), Monsoon (Varsha) and Pre-Winter (Hemanta) during which the flow of bodily energy is incessant.
The Grishma Ritu, which is known to us as summer starts from mid-May ranging through mid-July during which the sun rays are persistent and strong and there are hot winds blowing which depletes the environment of its natural hydrol content and makes it unsuitable. Summers bring about Pitta, dehydration, Sun strokes, excessive perspiration and a feeling of fatigue in us.
The top 5 ways to beat the heat this summer are:
1. Keep a check on the cooked food you eat.
Anything we consume has a varied impact on our level of energy. In the summer, the best thing to eat is easily digestible food. Since the body’s digestion power is anyway low, consuming these would do wonders on how we feel and how our body functions. A few examples of easily digestible food would be- Yogurt, boiled white rice, Salmon. Simple congee is a very good pick too. Salty, pungent food is to be avoided at all costs.
2. Stock up on fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables are extremely high in Vitamins, Potassium, Folic acids, Minerals, etc. These are essential for the body to function well. They also contain Healthy fats essential for the heart to function well. The best picks for the summer are – cucumber, berries, watermelon, citric fruits, and avocado.
3. Increase fluid consumption.
Consuming fluids are especially important in the summer as our bodies are generally depleted of them. These help replenish our systems and help us feel cool. It is better to avoid alcoholic beverages in the summer. Fluids like Fruit juices, Lemon water, buttermilk, coconut juice, Green tea are easily available and have multifold benefits in the summer.
4. Changes in exercise schedules.
It is advisable not to exert the body too much in the summer. Engaging in excessive hours at the gym, running on the ground should be avoided. Cooling Pranayama also is to be practised.
A few recommended asanas (should be repeated 9-11 times for the impact)are:
• Sheetali Pranayama- This is to be practised by rolling the tongue laterally which leads to it becoming like a tube and then inhaling. This helps to calm the body in the summer.
• Sheetkari Pranayama- this is folding the tongue inwards and breathing between the sides of the nose and calmly exhaling from the nose.
• Sadanta Pranayama- in this asana, the teeth are to be clenched and we’re supposed to breathe from between them.
Yoga Asanas that can be practised are – Vrikshasana (Tree Pose), Ardhkati chakrasana (Half waist wheel pose), Konasana (Angle Pose), Trikonasana (Triangle Pose), Marjariasana (Cat/ Tiger Pose & Breathing), Baddakonasana (Butterfly pose), Vajrasana (Thunderbolt pose), Shashankasana (Moon Pose), Chakrasana (Wheel Pose), Navasana (Boat Pose), Yoga Nidra (Deep Relaxation Technique)
5.Changes in lifestyle.
In the summer, since nights are short, sleeping during the day is acceptable. Wearing light-coloured cotton clothes, using sandalwood, and perfumes made from flowers is advisable. It is very important to wear sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 50 before stepping out in the sun. Using an umbrella during the time the sunrays are persistent could be of aid.
It is also very important to be calm mentally as the correlation between the mind’s activities and the body’s reaction to it has been scientifically proven.
Ayurveda as an alternative to modern medicine
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