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Trayostambh refers to three pillars. Ahara (Diet), Nidra (Proper sleep) and Brahmacharya (Abstinence) are described as Trayostambh in Ayurveda. In fact, they are pillars of the human life and are basis of heath life. Just as three biological humours, vata, pitta and kapha and triguna, sattva, rajas and tamas, regulate the body and mind, respectively, ahara, sleep and brahmacharya are essential for promoting healthy life.

1. Ahara (Diet)

Ahara stands for balanced diet and is the first and foremost pillar of Ayurveda. What does a balanced diet mean? Balanced diet is one which supplies the humans with required amount of carbohydrate, proteins, fats and vitamins. Ahara is fundamentally preventive in nature.

Ayurveda commonly is known as "Science of Life" and knowledge of proper diet is integral part of Ayurvedic dietetics. Ayurveda provides the first approach that can be helpful in creation and maintenance of perfect health and to alleviate the symptoms of illness. From treatment point of view, Ayurveda recommends that while diet is not capable of curing all the diseases, but majority of the diseases can be put under control only by doing adjustment in diet and maintain proper eating habits.

Ahara, diet

Classification of Ahara

  • Charka classifies the food articles in different ways. Diet is one from the point of intake, of two types according to source-animal origin and plant origin, according to effect–wholesome and unwholesome. Food may be drinkables, eatables, chewable, and lehya according to way of intake. In other context Charaka has classified food articles into twelve groups.
  • Sushruta classifies food into twenty one groups (S.Su.-45). According to properties food is of twenty types, and of innumerable varieties due to abundance of substances, their combinations and preparations.
  • Kashyapa says that food articles are of five type's viz. Akasheeya, Vayavya, Agneya, Apya and Parthiva.
  • Sharangadhara and Bhavaprakasha further classified Food into six types viz., Bhojya, Bhakshya, Charvya, Lehya, Chusya and Peya. It is of six types as per taste.

Significance of Ahara

Among three trayostambh, ahara is must factor for maintenance of healthy life. Life supported by three pillars, is empowered with strength, complexion and growth and full span of life. Charaka mentions ahara to the ultimate sustainer of life.

Diet for Different Prakriti

Ayurveda gives due importance to prakriti (body constitution) as far as consideration of food intake is concerned. The three biological humours, Vata, Pitta and Kapha constitute seven types of prakriti. In this universe, each and every person is a unique because of heredity, environment, biochemical structure and mental status. For this apparent reason, all the individuals cannot use effectiveness of all the natural and good food items to the same extent. Every individual should consume a diet versed to his/ her predominant biological humours, to keep them in state of equilibrium in different seasons.

Ayurvedic Dietetics and Individualized Approach

Concept of Ayurvedic dietetics is unique in sense of its individualized approach.

It considers following factors:

  • Combination of food articles
  • Doshika status of food articles
  • Emotional effect
  • Environmental considerations
  • Method of preparation
  • Nature (Prakriti) of the Consumer
  • Quantity
  • Taste of food articles
  • Time

Rules in Relation to the Intake of Ahara

Charaka Samhita has given 12 rules which should be followed to get maximum effect of food item, consumed:

  • Take warm food
  • Take unctuous food
  • Take in proper quantity
  • Take only when the previous meal is digested
  • Take the food not having any contradictory potency
  • Take Food In proper place equipped with all the accessories
  • Take food in relaxed condition
  • Not eat too slowly
  • Avoid talking and laughing during meal
  • Take food in prescribed manner

2. Nidra (Proper Sleep)

According to Ayurvedic theory, the state when the mind and body undergo rest, it is known as living body is asleep. When the mind is affected by tamoguna in the night, the kapha dosha predominates and natural sleep is induced. Kapha, humour is related to growth and development of body tissues and enhances the immunity to against diseases.

In the presence of depression, anxiety, anger or sham rage, calm sleep is not possible because these increase Vata, which has opposite effect as compared to tamoguna. Sleeping for long times or sleeping late in morning imbalances the daily routine and has a bad impact on health. Insomnia (lack of proper sleep) induces lethargy, burning sensation in eyes in eyes, headache, and body ache. Poor sleep affects the routine in bad manner, as it has impact timely on regular bowel movements.

nidra, proper sleep

3. Bramhacharya (Abstinence)

According to Ayurveda, seminal fluid is the last Dhatu that is formed out of Majja or marrow. Ayurveda suggest protecting semen in order to enhance health. That man who uses his physical body only but keeps the intellect and heart undeveloped cannot expect to attain perfect Brahmacharya.

brahmacharya, abstinence

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