Modern technology does make life seem easier — but the increasing evidence is that it can also make life shorter, by reducing the need to interact with other human beings. Recent research studies prove that people who have a lot of human contact can live twice as long as those who are isolated.
A groundbreaking study of some 7,000 people in Alameda County, CA, showed that those with the fewest friends, family, community, and religious institutions were three times more likely to die over the nine years in which the study was conducted.
Further, researchers who monitored 276 people between the ages of 18 and 55 found that those who had six or more connections with people were four times better than others at fighting off viruses that cause colds.
Ayurveda has never needed laboratory research studies like these to understand this truth — its healers have observed and understood it, quite literally for ages now. Here is the A-to-Z ayurveda guide on how to reconnect with your spouse, significant other or a special family member or friend so you both live long and joyful lives.
Apply the brakes. Don't be a time-struggler. The human body is not well suited to time-struggle. Research strongly suggests that impatient clock watching is linked to hostility, resentment and relationship breakdowns. Remember Lord Chesterfield's immortal words: "Take care of the minutes, and the hours will take care of themselves." That's exactly what ayurveda advocates. Some tools to help you slow down: Maharishi Ayurveda's wide range of relaxing massage oils and time-tested herbal supplements like Blissful Joy.
Balance is a keyword in ayurveda, be it in physical health or emotional issues. Ayurveda believes that inner disharmony and imbalance cause stress, a leading cause of failed relationships. What causes this imbalance in the first place? Overuse or misuse of the mind and/or body.
Stress vitiates Prana Vata, which governs the activity and energy of the brain. Once the pivot point is weakened, your ability to cope with stress is badly compromised. Restore your emotional balance with herbal healers like Blissful Joy and Worry Free.
Cook together. It's therapeutic. Besides nutrition, there's affection in cooking for another. In his e-magazine The Bridge, journalist Angshuman Dasgupta writes of herbs and spices thus: "They (herbs and spices) are hoary heritage from times long past, places afar. They waft through the breeze across continents, transcend barriers, borne on the backs of wayfarers. Let the spices you have grown up on be your new adventure. They can become flavorful blends in innovative hands. Give them a chance." New to the world of spices? Kick-start your quest with the help of Maharishi Ayurveda's gourmet Churnas, precisely blended to balance the three doshas.
Drive thoughts of jealousy from your mind. These are toxic, and pile up negative ama (toxins) inside you, leading to not only mental but also physical ailments.
Empty your kitchen cupboards of all milled, processed, preserved and fermented foods. Food in ayurvedic healing has a direct relationship with your consciousness. "You are what you eat" is a maxim very dear to the ayurvedic healer's heart. To be a loving, caring person, you ought to eat foods that have been prepared with love and care — not instant and indifferent pre-packaged foods.
Follow your heart. Basically, we all want to be happy. And happiness comes when your heart, mind and body are all doing the same things. Picture this: your body is tired, but your mind says you have to finish your work by morning so you stay up all night. This fills the heart with resentment, and at the end of the night, you're anything but happy.
Gift your partner some good health. Maharishi Ayurveda products include personal care, foods and beverages and nutritional supplements. Choose your gift with care, and present it with flair. Our recommendations: well, they are too many to list, but you can choose from among scores of cream, oils, aromas and herbal supplements.
Halt your tongue as soon as you begin to feel your temper rise. Ayurveda recommends everything in moderation, be it love or anger.
Increase the quota of time you spend on yourself. Start your day with a warm all-body massage (abhyanga) before your shower, and you will emerge feeling relaxed and vitally alive. A good self-image always makes you feel generous and loving towards others, and that helps build strong relationships. Massage is only one of the many ways in which you can look after yourself. Try a little bit of all of these: yoga, deep breathing, drinking plenty of water, taking frequent breaks from work. All of these will make you feel special and happy.
"Joy is not in things — it is in us," said a wise man. Healers who followed ayurveda have expressed this sentiment in a variety of ways. To them, this thought mattered a great deal because they knew relationships can become victims of object-referral living. A vaidya, therefore, would wholeheartedly agree that "the real things in life aren't things at all."
Know the difference between loving and clinging. Laugh together as often as you can. Laughter really is the best medicine.
Meditate: Transcendental Meditation® is a wonderful way to connect with yourself, and subsequently with other people. The basic principle is this: when you make contact with your deepest needs, your inner self, you release the knotted-up tension from your heart. Through regular meditation, you can shed these pressures on a daily basis — which will make you feel more energetic, more positive and more loving.
Nature knows best. Follow this simple mantra, and your harried life will begin to flow smoothly. Be it hunger or sleep, listen to the rhythm of nature: appetite peaks at noon, and the mind requests rest in the evening. That's the way nature has designed us, and going against its laws causes disturbances in our daily lives, and affects our relationships with others too.
Omit meat from your diet if you can. Ayurveda believes that the vegetarian diet is complete in itself, and foods that are not derived from animal slaughter are rich in chetana, or consciousness. Such foods give rise to positive thoughts and build satoguna, the highest-quality dosha of the mind.
Prevent disorders from taking root in the physiology with the greatest rasayana of all. Amrit is truly the golden cup of longevity, as its name means. It is a wonderfully effective formulation of 38 rare herbs and fruits. Not only does this incredible antioxidant rejuvenate the body, but it also brings calm and peace to the person as a whole.
Quell your desire to eat a late-night meal or stay in bed till late in the morning. An old saying, "eat half as much in twice the time" makes a lot of sense to ayurvedic physicians. Similarly, sleep early and rise before 6:00 a.m. — this way, you will balance all your doshas. When the doshas are in harmony, one feels joyous, filled with bliss. When you are humming inside, you'll make others want to sing, too.
Resolve to pay more attention to the little things in a relationship: a kind gesture, a thank-you note, or even just a smile.
Sniff sesame oil (nasya) to lubricate and protect your nose and sinuses, which are the ventilation system for your brain. The oil helps clear mucus out of the sinuses. Just dip your little finger in the sesame oil you use for your massage and rub the oil inside of each nostril. Then pinch and release your nostrils rapidly while inhaling sharply. This not only clears the nasal passages but also your brain, making you think clearer and make the right choices with regard to yourself and others.
Tend to the needs of your digestive system. "Now, good digestion wait on appetite, and health on both," Shakespeare's Macbeth is said to have exclaimed. Not for no reason. Ayurveda considers the health of the digestive system to be the key to overall well-being. Can you imagine being relaxed, friendly, and creative when last night's heavy dinner is still groaning in your stomach?
Understand the importance of touch. Ayurveda's prime diagnostic tool is nadi pariksha, or pulse diagnosis, which connects the physician to the patient. Anyone who has had a pulse diagnosis done knows how soothing and healing that touch feels. Not only that, but the pulse can tell a physician what complex laboratory tests can sometimes fail to reveal. Similarly, people around us need to be healed with touch: a baby needs hugging; a friend needs a gentle squeeze of the hand.
Value the need of your body to rejuvenate and detoxify with each change of season. Ayurveda offers the pleasurable and highly beneficial Panchakarma therapy that can, every time the season changes, restore you in body and mind.
Work hard, but don't let your work overshadow other areas of your life that are equally important. Short breaks during periods of intense activity, planning and not allowing deadlines to rule your entire life can make work pleasurable and productive.
"Youth is unhappy because it is faced with this terrible choice: love without peace, or peace without love," wrote Beaumarchais. True, isn't it — that youth and peace often seem to be in conflict? It needn't be that way, if you listen to some simple ayurvedic advice. Youth, according to ayurveda, is the season ruled by dynamic Pitta. Keeping your Pitta balanced by eating calming foods, dressing according to the weather, and staying away from violent books and movies are small but effective steps toward a happy, peaceful and loving youth.
Zoom away together to a place where natural beauty abounds. Getting close to nature every now and then heals and restores the whole being.
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