4 PILLARS OF HOLISTIC LIVING
Ayurvedic Significance of VIHAAR
To many, Vihaar may be the primary pillar because it refers to a healthy lifestyle and is considered essential for the achievement and maintenance of good health or Arogya.
The practice of a healthy Vihaar requires adherence to certain Ayurvedic guidelines for daily living, such as the Dinacharya (daily routine), Ratricharya (night routine), Ritucharya (seasonal routine), Sadavritta (code of behaviour) and Ahaar Vidhi (diet rules). The Ayurvedic lifestyle preached through Vihaar aims at the promotion of physical, mental and social wellbeing to improve quality of life, while also preventing and aiding disease management.
Ayurvedic Significance of AHAAR
Ahaar refers to diet and nutrition and is, therefore, another important pillar of health. In fact, Charaka and many Ayurvedic sages regarded healthy nutrition as essential for the prevention of disease. You have probably come across the Ayurvedic saying, ‘When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use; when diet is correct, medicine is of no need’.
With our modern lifestyles, diet alone may not help in the prevention of disease, but it is still the most critical factor. The proper intake of food is regarded as essential for nourishment and sustenance of the Deha Dhatus or body tissues, growth and development, as well as enhancement of Ojas.
Ayurvedic Significance of ACHAR
Although strictly defined as routines, Achar is more about behaviour and behavioural changes to promote health and wellbeing. In fact, Achara Rasayana is an entire category of Ayurvedic medicine that may be viewed as a precursor to modern behavioural therapy. Achar demands good conduct and behaviour that is conducive not just to one’s physical and mental health, but to society as a whole.
As described by Acharya Charak, Achar includes control of one’s anger, truthfulness, avoidance of intoxicants and indulgent behaviour, non-violence, compassion, the practices of charity, and so on.
Ayurvedic Significance of VICHAAR
Vichaar quite literally translates to thoughts, emphasising the impact of one’s thought process on health. Ayurveda recognised the psychosomatic nature of many diseases as well as mental illness. Positive thinking and activities to strengthen the mind are, therefore, regarded as important for general health and wellbeing.
This ancient Ayurvedic wisdom is also supported by modern clinical studies, which show that negativity can adversely affect the quality of life, whereas optimism promotes a healthier lifestyle and improved cognitive response.