Ayurveda recognizes three main pillars of well being: proper diet, sufficient sleep and loving relationships. When kept in balance, these three pillars keep us healthy, happy and fulfilled. They promote good digestion, proper detoxification and increase vitality and contentment.
When out of balance we may experience digestive discomfort. We may also feel disconnected from our partners, family and friends. We may feel more exhausted and stressed. In the end, when out of balance we experience a host of other complaints.
Pillar #1: Diet
The most basic interpretation of diet is what we eat. However, at its core, diet encompasses so much more. Diet is everything we take in and digest, not just food. This includes:
Along the dietary lines, most of the Ayurveda principles around food are common sense recommendations.
Eat when you are hungry
Eat until you are full, but not stuffed
Eat fresh, whole, organic foods according to the season
Eat while seated and in a calm environment
As for the other aspects of diet, it’s important to:
Drink plenty of filtered water
Take regular deep belly breaths throughout your day
Consider the quality of information you take in
Regarding the information taken in, Ayurveda cautions us not to watch or read too much stressful, violent or upsetting material. Ayurveda encourages us to get to know ourselves and balance our personal energies. It tells us to focus on the quality of what nourishes you in terms of breath, food, water and emotion.
Focusing on breath, food and water is one of the most important things you can do for your long term health. It’s worth the time it takes to dive deep into the project, and do some serious self-evaluation of what really works for you as an individual.
Pillar #2: Sleep
To stay healthy, it’s also critical to get enough rest.
Recent research indicates that chronic sleep deprivation can lead to serious health problems. These issues are more than just feeling groggy in the morning. They include:
High blood pressure
Weakened immune system
As a result of inadequate sleep, many of us go through life with both our mind and body functioning at less than optimal.
To make sure you sleep deeply, and awaken refreshed, try to go to bed and rise at the same time each day. Ideally between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am. Sleep in a dark room, free of distractions, and have an evening routine that allows you to relax before bed.
Pillar #3: Love and Relationships
The depth and quality of our intimate relationships is an important part of our well being that is often overlooked in our society.
We usually don’t think of our romantic lives as part of our well being. However, Ayurveda considers balanced, loving, healthy relationships a must-have for a long and healthy life. Connecting with a partner, family and/or close friends on a deep level increases the joy of life. These relationships also help maintain psychological balance, and actually aids further mental and spiritual development.
According to Ayurveda, the three pillars of health are of equal importance, without any of these areas taking precedence over the others. Focusing on maintaining proper balance in what nourishes you, the quality of your sleep and the depth of your relationships goes a long way toward keeping you aligned—mind, body and Spirit.