‘If people followed just the following 3 Ayurvedic recommendations, 85% of them would be much healthier’ Dr Ernst Schrott, Maharishi Marma therapy trainer.
3 pieces of simple health advice that changed my life.
The first piece of advice was ‘eat your main meal at lunchtime and have just a light meal in the evening’
Why? Because the body works differently at different times of the day and night. This is known to modern science – which speaks of biorhythms, circadian rhythms, chronopharmacology, etc. – but it was also known to Ayurvedic physicians thousands of years ago.
They explained that there are four-hour cycles during the day and night and, from 10am to 2pm – coinciding with the time that the sun is at its highest in the sky – is when the body digests food the best. They recommended eating the main meal between 12 noon and 1.30pm. At that time digestion will be most complete, nourishing the body and minimising the creation of any toxic residues (known as ‘ama’ in Ayurveda).
And the evening meal? Ayurveda recommends eating that about 3 hours before going to bed. The meal should be light (avoiding heavy protein such as meat, fish or cheese) to allow for complete digestion before you go to sleep. Once asleep, your body slows down, which interferes with good digestion. Just as, if you have a big meal and go to bed, your digestion will interfere with your sleep! If digestion is not complete by bedtime, you are likely to have a build-up of toxins in the body which, over time, can accumulate at weak spots in the physiology and result in, for example, respiratory or joint problems.
Although this is a very simple recommendation, it may not be always be easy to implement! In some countries, such as Italy, there is still the habit to eat the main meal at lunchtime. In the UK or US, where many people grab a sandwich by the computer for lunch, it is much less common, but will help with balancing weight, better digestion and health. One good thing that has come from the pandemic is that more people are working from home, which makes it easier to decide when to eat!
The second piece of advice was: ‘Go to bed by 10pm, and get up by 6am’.
This too links to natural biological rhythms. We’ve probably all heard the adage: ‘one hour’s sleep before midnight is worth two after midnight’ and Ayurveda agrees. It’s to do with melatonin production in the pineal gland. Melatonin is sometimes called the sleep hormone, and it starts to be produced as day turns to night. If you’re in bed and, ideally, asleep by 10pm, sleep is most nourishing and rejuvenating and you will feel much more rested and alert the following day, so will be able to achieve and enjoy more.
Getting up by 6 – 6.30am ensures that the mind is clear and alert (this relates to the four-hour ‘Vata’ that occurs between 2am and 6am.
The third piece of advice was to drink water
– but not just any water. It needs to be water that is specially prepared by boiling it for 10 – 15 minutes (we do this every morning and then put it into vacuum flasks). You then sip the water, just 3-4 sips, every 30 minutes or so, throughout the day, for some days. This is an amazing (and inexpensive!) method to detox the physiology.
Try these three simple Ayurvedic guidelines – I’ve found them wonderfully effective myself and would love to hear how you get on.