“The Vedas themselves are considered to be Ayurvedic texts in that knowledge of the elements, the human body, doshas, dhatus, and the use of sacred herbs are explored through hymns and poetic references. The Vedas that are richest in references related to health are the Yajur Veda and the Atharva Veda. The Yajur Veda has numerous references to the Gods Vayu, Agni and Soma, which in Ayurveda are related to Vata, Pitta and Kapha, and the elements air, fire and water respectively.
“Find a quiet place out in nature, a park is perfect, but a quiet street can work too. Choose a point about 100 yards away. Walk toward it slowly; one small step at a time. As you walk, allow yourself to feel each foot meeting the ground. Keep your eyes looking about five yards in front of you toward the ground. You may struggle at first with the slow pace. As you walk forward, observe your breath going in and out. Keep your attention on your breath and your feet.
At the recent Sivananda Ayurveda Conference, neuroscientist Dr. Ram Rao gave an insightful lecture on Anti-Aging herbs. Below are highlights from his fascinating lecture.
“India was not a country in the modern sense until 1947. Prior to that, sections of India were ruled by various kings and authoritarian leaders, some indigenous and some foreign. Invasion and defense was a pattern of life when looked at over centuries and millennia, in which different rulers established systems of religion, conduct, education and systems of healing.
“The lotus flower grows slowly and each petal opens in its own time. Likewise, one’s consciousness, body and mind is transformed at his or her own pace. If you force open a flower, you pull off the petals and more harm is done than good. Even good intentions can cause harm when actions are taken without wisdom. If you are patient, the full beauty of the flower will reveal itself in the proper time. Don’t pull too hard on your own petals.
In a workshop entitled “The Anti-Aging Diet” at the recent Sivananda Ayurveda Conference workshop, Dr. Rao began by stating that there is, in fact, no such thing as an anti-aging diet in Ayurveda! However, Ayurveda has much to say about aging and how to prolong life. In essence, what Ayurveda says is the more harmonious influences you bring into your body and mind, the slower you age. The more disharmonious influences you bring in, the more rapidly you age.
“Sankhya philosophy is one of India’s oldest philosophical systems attempting to address the most important and common questions of life itself. Who are we? Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going? How do we get there? Sankhya philosophy attempts to answer each of these questions through its exploration of cosmology.
“Our most basic behaviors come from a place deep inside that Ayurveda refers to as our consciousness. Change at the level of consciousness is both the most profound and the most difficult. Even a simple change at this level of our being ripples out into every aspect of our experience of life.”
Most of us have heard of the term “lifespan”; this refers to the total number of years one has lived. Geroscientists also refer to “morbidity,” which is the number of years during your life that you were in ill health. “Healthspan” refers to the years during your life in which you had good quality of life, with no illness. So when we speak of longevity, what are we referring to? Increasing lifespan, or healthspan?
“There are six classical schools of Indian philosophy. In Sanskrit these are called the “Shad Darshanas” meaning “six philosophies.” The term "darshan" means "to see." Philosophy is the conclusions of the rishis who are able to "see" the truth and then convey it to others.