When it comes to Dinacharya, Ayurveda has given detailed descriptions for the care of all the sense organs or jnana indriyas. The sense organs are eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin which is named in sanskrit as netra, karna, nasa, jihwa and twak respectively. Our sense organs are often misused and are not given the attention they need. The five sense organs interact with the pancha mahabhutas ie. vayu, akasha, jala, agni and prithvi. The sense organs must always be kept clean and receptive. And that doesn’t mean going to the ENT, Ophthalmologist or a Skin specialists often, but one should know how to take good care of the jnanendriyas because the sense organs are our interactive tools with the nature.
As we all have learned, Skin/ twak is the largest sense organ. It covers the whole body and the dosha predominant here is vata. I can recollect my great grandmother and grandmother used to give us kids oil baths at least twice a week and we were bathed in water boiled with a lot of herbs in it. As a child, I had never liked it. For me it was a torture than a relaxation. The only interesting factor however was, after applying oil we were allowed to play outside for about an hour.
Later when I was around 10 years, a lady was appointed to give a full week oil massage or abhyanga. After the massage she used to apply some herbal powder to scrub off the oil followed by a wonderful herbal bath. During and the following week of this massage I was advised not to run and play at school.
Ayurveda gives a lot of importance to abhyanga, which is the oil massage. It is good for pacifying the vata dosha. Different medicated oils are available which could be chosen after consulting a doctor. One can even use normal sesame oil or coconut oil. Abhyanga is good for nourishment, improving immunity, promotes deep sleep, good skin and hair and it is also a very effective way of toning your body. The immense relaxation which is attained after a good massage is truly blissful. According to classical ayurveda texts, if one doesn't have time for a full body abhyanga, oil should be applied at least on head, ear and sole.
Vyayama / exercise is to be followed after. It makes your body light and energetic, increases your digestive fire and improves the metabolism, and removes the excess fat. Too much of exercise will cause fatigue and destroy the body. Powder massage or udwarthanam is done to remove excess of fat.
Bathing in lukewarm water is good for the body but cold water is advised for head. Snanam / bath is good for improving the digestive fire and is good for longevity along with its hygiene benefits.
Eyes are the organs of vision. It is mainly the seat of pitta which is predominant of fire and accompanied by the dosha kapha.
Application of collyrium (anjana) every day keeps the eyes healthy and lively.
Simple home made collyrium with ghee is the best. Preparation of collyrium at home was always an exciting event. For newborns, the collyrium application starts after 28 days. A clean cloth is dipped in herbal juices and dried, the process is repeated many times and finally wick is made out of the cloth which is burned in ghee and the deposits are collected.
Since siras / head is a seat of kapha, once a week application of rasanjana is important in order to remove the excess kapha from the eyes. Instead of rasanjana many use raw honey as a traditional practise and it have also got the scraping aspect.
Splashing of cold water, washing the eyes with triphala decoction etc clean the eyes and keep the dust away. Excess of heat is not good for eyes due to its pitta predominance. So it is always advisable not to wash your hair with hot water for the protection of the eyes.
The modern culture should give utmost importance for the care of eyes since it is one of the most tortured organ of our body. The brightness of laptops and excessive use of phones and other gadgets like the VR, weakens the eyes and it is our responsibility to pamper our eyes with lots of love and care. Tradaka is also recommended for the well being of the eyes.
Ears are the major seat of vata dosha and for the easy movement of vata, cleaning of ear is very important. The vatic imbalance is the main reason for vertigo, tinnitus, ear ache etc. Vata is pacified with the use of oil. Karnapurana is an ayurveda therapy for the balancing of vata dosha and also to keep the ear free of excessive wax formation which could cause the obstruction of sound waves. Never clean your ears with sharp objects that could cause the damage of the ear drums. Use a clean swab for the ears. There is no damage in applying a little of oil at the opening of ear to the first centimeter.
Nasya, which is also a Panchakarma is the therapy for nose. There are different types of nasyas of which pratimarsha nasya is done daily by instilling two drops of oil into both nostrils. Even though the medicine is unique for each individual, a common nasya oil is anu thailam. Nose is not only an opening for inhalation and exhalation but a proper nasya practise helps one to breath well, keeps sinusitis at bay, good for the brain and all organs above the neck. Nasya is also good for cervical spondylosis. Nasya procedure should be learned from an experienced ayurveda physician. At Least instillation of clean warm saline water is also good. The excess kapha is flushed out with the help of nasya. The oil and kapha that reaches the throat is spit out with force and swishing and gargling is to be followed. Yoga talks about neti, which is a shatkarma and is the process of cleansing nostrils.
Details of cleaning the tongue and mouth is discussed in the previous blog.
The dinacharyas are meant for the healthy individuals. Adopting these lifestyle changes, after consulting a certified Ayurveda doctor, will improve the health and also many lifestyle as well as other diseases that can be prevented and managed with little medicine.
Want to get more tips?
To get a better picture read my previous blogs here