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Simple Ayurveda goals for 2021 for better living

by Rinku Khumukcham
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Dr. K. Romeo Meetei
Art of Living Bureau of Communication, Imphal.
It is often after going through a health crisis as a warning from nature, do we realize the incredible value of good health, which is the basis for prosperity. Living a long, disease free and happy life has always been an ideal that human beings have strived for. We have been looking for ways to fight off illnesses and deal with symptoms, but what if we realized that the treasure to our best and most vivacious health is right beneath your feet? Becoming aware of lifestyle habits that impact our health and adopting a few simple practices in daily life go a long way in improving your health and quality of life. A better way to move towards a healthier and more fulfilling life is to have simple and achievable goals that help you improve your lifestyle to be more natural and healthier. Here are a few tips from the Art of Living wellness experts that will help you set and achieve your health goals in 2021, the ayurveda way. 
*Best time to sleep*
A regular sleep wake cycle with rejuvenating sleep and refreshing mornings is essentially the first step to a healthy living. Ayurveda places great importance on going to bed before 10 pm and waking up in the brahma muhurat (before sunrise) for better digestion, improved mental health, physical strength, and better time management.
*Listen to your body*
Our body gives signals when the previous meal is undigested and yet we continue to burden our digestive system with more food which not only makes our digestion sluggish but also leads to accumulation of toxins. 
• Have a meal only if you are hungry, or else limit yourself to lighter options like tender coconut water or a few slices of cucumber. 
• When you feel thirsty, don’t postpone your intake of water irrespective of how busy you are. 
• Another huge mistake we make is ignoring or postponing our natural urges like that of emptying our bowels or bladders or putting unnecessary strain on our systems when there is no natural urge. Did you know that vata dosha is predominant before sunrise? Apana vayu, which moves in downward direction and is responsible for elimination of waste material and toxins from the body and is active in the pre-dawn period and hence we all feel natural urges to evacuate our bowels and bladder during that time of the day. 
*Oil Pulling*
Take a teaspoon of virgin coconut oil/ idimadadi oil/sesame oil and a teaspoon of water in your mouth and swish it for 2-5 minutes. Gargle with lukewarm water and rinse. Do this first thing in the morning to keep toxins from accumulating in your system, better saliva secretion to enhance digestion, maintaining alkalinity in the body and improved oral health.
*Exercise, Yoga and Meditation*
Moderate physical activity preferably before afternoon will improve sleep quality. Move your body for better metabolism, circulation and improved mental health. Ayurveda gives great importance to balance and hence aggressive work out is not advised, particularly during the summer when ojas is already low in the body. Incorporate yoga and meditation into your life and you will be showered with endless rewards in the form of better health, mental balance, clarity of thoughts, improved intellect and memory, and most important of all, a happier you!
*Eating sunlight*:
Sun is our primary source of energy; all the food we eat relies on sunlight for growth and yet we overlook its importance in our daily lives. Soaking in the morning sunlight for 15-20 minutes a day will not only maintain your vitamin D levels but will also improve your sleep quality, significantly boost your immunity and mental health.
*Self _abhayangam_*:
Regular self massage with natural oils like sesame oil will keep vata (combining elements of air and ether) in balance, improve circulation and bone health, prevent joint problems and keep your skin healthy and glowing. It is best to finish the massage half an hour before taking bath, for better absorption of oil in the skin. 
*Consuming food*:
• Avoid engaging in any other activity while you eat your food and have all your attention on the food; eating slowly and attentively will improve digestion and will also bring better satiety and prevent overeating. 
• Avoid drinking water or juice immediately after or before meals.
• Do not go for shower immediately after eating as it will slow down the digestion. Maintain at least half an hour gap. Finish your shower before eating for improved digestive fire.
• Do not sleep immediately after a meal. Finish your dinner atleast 2 hours before bedtime. Sit down for a few minutes after a meal, and then you can pace around the house for 15 more minutes, to improve digestion, before you hit the sac.

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