In the last two blogs we talked about Dinacharya, which is a very important preventive aspect explained in Ayurveda. There are more routines in dinacharya to be discussed.
After waking up early, one has to first observe his/her body and assess whether the food eaten the previous day had been digested or not. In Ashtanga Sangraha it is explained that, if you feel the food is not digested properly, it is better to go back to sleep but not after the sun rise. Traditionally we have a custom of touching the earth before stepping as a mark of respect. When you think about it, this practice makes you more connected with the mother nature and her importance. When you bend, the abdomen is compressed well and it helps the waste to move down.
Apana vayu helps in the process of excretion and hence initiates the sroto sodhana of the body. In Ashtanga Sangraha the Acharya recommends to drink a palmful of water (acamana) before the process of defecation. Only after removing the old bundle, fresh food should be taken. This alone keeps your body channels healthy and clean. The urge for expulsion of feces and urine should be natural and straining to do so shows the unhealthiness of the body. Clean your hands with clean water and then clean all the orifices with utmost care. The basic hygiene principle starts here.
Ayurveda emphasis on brushing the teeth followed by tongue scraping. My childhood memories of my grandmother and great grandmother include a lot of Ayurveda. During the holidays I was encouraged to use Neem branches, Mango leaves, powdered charcoal, powdered cardamom etc to clean the teeth. Ayurveda books have specified certain trees which are good for oral hygiene. The scriptures specify that substance that tastes sweet should not be used to clean the teeth. Unfortunately, all the toothpastes we use now are sweet in taste. The modern toothpastes consists of fluorides, calcium & magnesium carbonates, chalk, hydrated aluminium oxides, silica gels etc. It is better to stay clear of these chemicals and go for natural ingredients. The root canal and gum problems are increasing day by day in spite of using all these so called WEST approved toothpastes. Our forefathers had strong and healthy teeth.
Brushing your teeth twice a day is an age old habit for good hygiene. Many Ayurveda products are available in the market to try. It is always good to go for the powdered formulations.
Different opinions are there about cleaning the tongue in the modern era. But according to the great life science, Ayurveda, one should do jihva nirlekhana or cleaning the tongue with soft, smooth cleaner made of gold, silver, iron or any tree twig. It removes bad tastes and odour in the mouth and enhances the sense of taste. In kerala the smooth twig of coconut leaf is used for the cleaning during old times.
Gandusha and kabala, which is holding and swishing of oils/ medicated water/saline water or even normal water should be done for the overall improvement of the oral cavity.
Mouth, the opening of digestive tract is very important not only for the social cause of good breath and shining teeth but also to keep the rest of the tract healthy.