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January 26, 2009

How to be a cool cat...

Ayurveda, as a science of health, encompasses more than just the physical, material aspects of health. Rejuvination, one of the categories in Ayurveda for which modern science offers no equivilant, includes food, herbal and physical therapies. It also offers a more ethereal, spiritual sort of rejuvination that comes from qualities like good thoughts, good speech and a moderate, quiet mind.

The yogi's well know that one of the most important factors for longevity is keeping a cool body temperature. This coolness is most important in the head, which is why Ayurveda always protects the head during hot treatments such as baths and saunas. This cool headedness also relates to our attitude to life. Firey, passionate thoughts are considered hot, and therefore burn up ojas- the essential glue that holds our spirit in our body. Compassion, respect and devotion are all mental qualities we can cultivate in order to live a healthier, and therefore longer life.

In our daily routine we usually allow time for external cleaning, like brushing our teeth and having a shower, and most of us allow for cleaning the channels of waste like going to the toilet or clearing our sinuses. Less of us give time for cleansing our minds of mental toxins, which is considered very important in Ayurveda. To cleanse you mind you can put aside some time every day, preferably early in the morning after cleaning the physical body and it's channels, for prayer, meditation or mantra chanting to gently and subtly rejuvinate your mind and cleanse it of ama.

This mental cleansing benefits your ojas and lifespan, and also gives a more peaceful, tolerant, detached view of life. Try it out, in whichever way works for you. I meditate for an hour every morning, but a friend of mine does 15 minutes of mantra chanting. Or you could simply take some time to give thanks for all the good things in your life, or even pray for a cool head!

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