Eat, Pray, Love got it wrong….
It’s not Eat, Pray, Love, but rather, Food, Sleep, Sex.
Preferably in that order.
I did not make this up.
This is Ayurveda.
Ayurveda (a Sanskrit word) is an ancient science that keeps the body in a state of health and free from disease. And, once you have been given a certain amount of health, Ayurveda explains how to use health as a basis of the path to enlightenment.
Health is achieved when one manages the three main pillars of life: food, sleep, and sex. That is, if you are able to digest your food well, sleep will come easily and your sexual energy will be maintained, then your body has the opportunity to reach its full potential.
The reason that there is no Pray in Food, Sleep, Sex, is that all three pillars are to be understood as a form of prayer. If the word prayer has little meaning for you, then you can insert any of the following ideas/words: self-love, self-care, giving love, meditation, compassionate action, and presence.
The first pillar is food and with the intake of food, one must consider that good digestion of the food is essential. Proper digestion allows our bodies to extract from food all the essential nutrients as well as the life energy (prana) of the food. Digestion encompasses several layers, all of which create the end result of subtle energy, or ojas. Ojas is the Sanskrit word for what protects the body and the mind from disease.
Guidelines for healthy eating and healthy digestion includes eating foods that are
- specific to one’s constitution,
- in proper quantity
- using food combining principles
- taken according to the seasons and the weather
- consumed in a peaceful and relaxed environment
When food is eaten in ways that cause disturbance in the body, there will eventually be illness and disease. Here is an Ayurvedic guideline for healthy eating Top 12 General Guidelines for Healthy Eating – California College of Ayurveda
I will write a more in depth explanation and guideline for healthy eating in a future blog for you.
The second pillar is Sleep. The body uses rest and sleep as an opportunity to use its energy to heal and repair any damage to the body that has accumulated during the active, waking hours. If the body doesn’t receive enough sleep, the body cannot repair the damage caused by stress and strain. This will eventually lead to the body breaking down.
Both too much or too little sleep is not healthy. Too much sleep results in tissues that become lethargic and heavy. Too little sleep upsets the body and creates generalized weakness and tissues that are susceptible to injury.
Common problems regarding sleep are either getting to sleep or waking up during the night and having difficulty getting back to sleep. Practice this short meditation before you go to sleep at night. Its on my YouTube channel here. It will help you to get a better night of rest.
The third pillar is sex. This is referring to management of sexual energy, or Brahmacharya. Sexual energy is the foundation for the production of Ojas. Ojas is what protects the body and mind. If you treat your sexual energy with awareness and some restraint, similar to how you manage your sugar intake, you protect yourself in ways that allow you to achieve deeper levels of health than the average person..
The Sanskrit term Brahmacharya can be translated as “Achaya” meaning “ to not wander away ” and “Brahma as”God or the Divine”. Therefore Brahmacharya literally means to “not wander away from God.” You may have heard of the word Brahmacharya and that it was to practice not having sex. Brahmacharya is not abstinence.
It is important to note that sexual management, requested from the Vedic teaching, does not come from a place of judgment or the threat of eternal damnation (as from puritanical culture and religions). But rather, is creating guidelines for returning the body to a state of health.
Being lonely, isolated, disconnected, or not in a loving sexual relationship is also detrimental to one’s health. Similar to food or sleep, too much or too little does not bring health to the body. This is because sexual energy, called sukra, is needed to build ojas.. When sukra is depleted, by overindulgence or lack of sexual activity, ojas becomes diminished as well.
Understanding that there are three pillars, think of these as Ionic columns from ancient architecture, that are holding your life. When they are all three, your life is in a state of health. And with great health, anything is possible. Even enlightenment
The following quote, written in Sanskrit first, is from the Charak Samhita, an Ayurveda text from 1st CE.
त्रय उपस्तम्भा इति- आहारः, स्वप्नो, ब्रह्मचर्यमिति; एभिस्त्रिभिर्युक्तियुक्तैरुपस्तब्धमुपस्तम्भैः शरीरंबलवर्णोपचयोपचितमनुवर्तते यावदायुःसंस्कारात् संस्कारमहितमनुपसेवमानस्य , य इहैवोपदेक्ष्यते||३५||
There are three supporting pillars of life: Ahara (food), nidra (sleep) and observance of sex (control of senses). Being supported by these the body is endowed with strength, complexion and growth and this continues up til the full span of life provided a person does not indulge in regiments detrimental to health.
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