India has a rich heritage of customs and schools of thought that enable us to lead healthier and heartier lives. Our ancestors have framed and followed many rituals and customs that promote personal hygiene and keep diseases at bay. Considering we are fighting a pandemic today, we need to visit our roots and imbibe some of those best practices to stay healthy and fit.
Ever remember those days when you played with friends and went home dirty, tired and hungry? And your mother used to insist that you wash your hands and legs thoroughly before you stepped into the house. Only then would food be served. You may never have realized those days why we followed this age-old custom. It’s apparent that washing of hands and legs helped keep the germs and infections away.
Washing is just one of the many customs our forefathers observed for good reason which focused on health and hygiene and protected us from harmful bacteria and viruses. Here are a few customs that are relevant even today, especially considering there is a pandemic spreading like wildfire.
Namaskara or Namaste
This is done to greet people known or unknown as a way of showing respect to others. We see divinity in every form of life and a Namaste is a gesture to recognize that. Namaste expresses honor, courtesy, politeness, hospitality and gratitude to the other person. As the greeting does not involve physical contact with the other personthe chances of getting infected by a virus or bacteria are lesser. Yes, the current work life calls for hand shake, the age-old European greeting. But considering that we are fighting a deadly pandemic it is safer to stick to our roots and greet people with Namaste or Namaskara.
All the temples have brass bells known as the Ghantas which are rung before entering the garbha gudi or the sanctum sanctorum. These bells are also rung when pooja and aaratiare being offered to the deity. It is believed that when the bell is rung negative energies will vanish and positive vibrations are created. The bell ringing synchronizes with natural elements and many spiritual leaders like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Sadguru among others recommend it. When pooja is done at home the bell is rung as a ritual. Our PM NarendraModi also recently requested the entirenation during lockdown to stand in their balconies and ring bells.
Lighting lamps is a tradition that dates back to days immemorial and is viewed as a good sign which provides positives vibes. Morning and evening are when the lamps are lit at home and even in temples to keep the house and our minds at peace and stress free. It is believed that lighting lamps eliminates the negative vibe or evil present in the environment we live in. It is also believed that lighting lampssymbolizes our transition from darkness to light.
Yoga is an ancient form of exercise practiced to lead a healthy and a peaceful life. There are many asana’s such as Padmasana, Sarvangasana and Shava Asana (The death pose), which help rejuvenate body, mind and soul. Bhujang Asana (the cobra pose) helps reduce back pain. Pranayama or breathing exercises are important to stay healthy and Yoga teaches the right way of breathing. A number of yoga and wellness centers have come up around us and more and more people irrespective of age are turning towards yoga to lead a healthy life.
Dhyana or Meditation
In simple terms Dhyana or meditation means training the mind to remain peaceful so that there are physical benefits in terms of good health. It helps you achieve a calm and serene state of mind, enabling you to meet the various challenges of life with equanimity. Dhyana helps you focus better on your own internal self as well as on your interactions with people around you. Dhyana helps you get rid of negative emotions while helping you pursue a happy and successful life.
Ayurveda is an age-old Indian school of medicine medical format that prescribes medications based natural herbs. It has medicines for all types of ailments. Ayurveda is a treasure house of knowledge on how to prevent numerous diseases and treat them in a way that they are eliminated from the root so that there is no relapse. It is a slow but a highly effective way of combating ailments.
They say that our roots should never be forgotten. We Indians have a rich heritage and customs that help us lead a healthy and happy life. It’s just that we need to embrace them and go back to our roots.