Yoga teacher, therapist, vice-director Ayurvedic Point
Carmen Tosto is a yoga teacher and Ayurveda therapist. She is also the Vice-Director of the Ayurvedic Point, Milan (Italy) and holds an Honorary Degree of Ayurveda Acharya from the Ayurvedic Institute Ashtavaidya Thaikat Moss, Thrissur.
Dinacharya - ancient purification routine for modern times
Dinacharya embodies a very important, revolutionary and exceptionally modern concept, especially if we consider its antiquity. But in Ayurveda everything is already described .... and we don't have to invent anything at all!
The practices of Dinacharya and its rules are defined in the great classical texts of Ayurveda, and each author dedicates a particular space to the subject. It is very interesting to note that Sushruta dedicated Chapter 24 of the Chikitsasthana to Dinacharya, which opens as follows: "Now I will deal with the prevention of diseases that have not yet come. So said the lucky Dhanvantari". Dinacharya is therefore described as an important preventive and health-preserving pathway. In particular, Sushruta directs his recommendations to healthy, intelligent people who do not want to fall ill. The regulations are clear and must be carried out at all times, every day, and also in a strict sequence. But Dinacharya represents much more than a simple list of techniques for daily purification, and its reading can be carried out at different levels from the coarser to the thinner, from sthula to sukshma.
But why is it sometimes so difficult even for students of Ayurveda to follow the rules of Dinacharya? Perhaps because we do not fully understand the mechanisms of action and their beneficial effects. In this workshop we will discover together how Dinacharya is an extremely powerful means to maintain health, we will deepen its practical details and we will see together how to build an "Ayurvedic" day in the name of balance and harmony. Dinacharya is an extremely important and useful practical tool for everyone and should be followed with care.
Every day we build health or illness, a small daily gesture maintains and creates balance or can lay the groundwork for a future imbalance or illness.
Let us remember the second cause of disease in Ayurveda "Asatmyendriyarthasamyoga", the improper conjunction of the senses with their objects, in summary the inappropriate use of the five senses.
Sensory perceptions are the food the mind feeds on, which is why their health is held in high regard by Ayurvedic medicine. In fact, just as nutrition is one of the fundamental factors in the cure of the disease, so the adequacy of sensory stimuli is a cornerstone of health. Inappropriate junction of the senses with their objects can be caused by excessive, insufficient, or inappropriate use.
Every sense organ must be purified daily through Dinacharya, every Mahabhuta must be balanced with precise actions, sensitivity and awareness. Ayurveda considers it of fundamental importance to know how to live in harmony with nature and its rhythms.
Every day, we are traversed by waves of change, and each one carries within it the information provided by the environment at that precise moment. This information is expressed by qualities and properties that are grouped in Ayurveda in the concept of dosha and, just as dosha influence the external environment, so do they regulate our physiology to a greater or lesser extent according to very precise periods of the day. The dosha clock therefore marks our daily rhythm from awakening to nightly rest.
The cycle of time, Kala, has always been the object of study and observation in the Indian world. His influence in our lives is very important, unfortunately we do not always realize it. More and more often than not, people are not aware of the extent to which the flow of day and night is in constant interaction with us and with the outside world. Ayurveda has always observed internal and external phenomena and has been able to establish, in a surprisingly scientific and exact way, how a correct daily routine can influence the state of health and the psycho-physical well-being of man.
In this workshop we will discover the practical mechanisms and the healthiest rules of Dinacharya. Only practical and direct experimentation allows us to grasp the profound and extraordinary meaning of what millenary Ayurvedic wisdom teaches us. Through Dinacharya, the body, mind and spirit will thus be perfectly aligned with cosmic geometries.
These rules are simple but extremely valid especially in our days where everything is confused, and the haste and "rhythms" of modern life take us away from that precious reservoir of harmony and health that is Nature.
So, the advice for everyone is: slow down, take time and observe ... move in harmony with the rhythms of nature ... with the help of Ayurveda.
It is known that the external Basti are indicated, for their specific snigdha/sveda nature, in numerous conditions and their practical applications are innumerable. In consideration of the different areas of the body where it is possible to apply to external Basti, we can truly say that this type of ayurvedic treatment is extraordinarily varied and versatile and its application potentials are extremely interesting.
There are several application areas for external Basti, some very well-known and typical such as Kati Basti (sacred/lumbar area), Griva Basti (cervical region), Janu Basti (knee), etc. But in the specific case we will deal with, during this work shop, is the application in extremely special and especially delicate area; she must be observed and treated with extreme care. This is not an external Basti of a common nature. Uro basti (also known as Hridu Basti or Uro vasti) defines the application of an external Basti and hence the maintenance of oily substances (and also of other nature) in the specific heart area, a part of the body extremely sensitive and dominated by very specific structures.
But beyond the particular place of application we find here the most superficial expression of Hridaya Marma, one of the most important and vital Marma points described in the classical texts. Hridaya is considered one of the three Mahamarma (the three main Marma) located in the bust and represents a very important vital point.
Charaka includes the concept of Trimahmarma in what are called Dasha Pranayatana, or the 10 life vital centers. Hridaya Marma is considered by Sushruta a Sadya Pranahara Marma, or a vital point that leads to immediate loss of prank (in this case perfect synonym of life) and therefore to death, if specifically injured. The Uro basti treatment therefore, just because applied in such an important vital area, is acting at different levels.
For its particular nature Uro Basti is prescribed by the Ayurvedic physician when there are specific conditions to be carefully evaluated, often other anticipatory treatments are needed before its actual execution. The indications that are common to this treatment are represented in the category of Hrid Roga disease, in which we as find arrhythmias and post-infarction, situation this last, where there is a Kshaya, a tissue depletion (loss), where this type of treatment may favor better regeneration of the tissue with consistently improved functionally of the same.
But the treatment has not just "physical" aspects (we know that in Ayurveda nothing is separated from the rest, so it is never acting at a single level), but also psychological and above all emotional. So a possible indication is the emotional blocks. In these cases a Uro Basti can literally favor a meltdown of the nodes, allowing people to retrieve the ability to feel connected to the correct flow of emotions.
It can also be useful in all those conditions of fatigue, lack of energy, decay, premature aging linked to a defect of Rasa Dhatu and Ojas. Hridaya defines the heart, has a precise etymology that describes its function. Hri derives from Harati, that means "to receive"; Da comes from Dadati, meaning "give", while Ya indicates "move" "go" "to circulate", thus defining as a whole the function of the heart as a pump able to give, receive and circulate blood. But it is not just this, it's not just about considering the biological organ.
Hridaya means, however, also a "central point" from which everything moves and to which everything converges. Hridaya is the real root of movement, the spread of movement and information to and from it. The relationship between Prana Vayu and Hridaya through Sadhaka Pitta is responsible for the initiation of the movement. It is the house of Oja, which from here through the blood stream is led throughout the body to maintain strength, luster, vitality. It is also seat of Manas, the function of the mental, connected to the control of sense organs and emotions. Its functions are regulated and influenced by Prana and Vyana Vayu, Sadhaka Pitta and Avalambaka Kapha.
In this work shop we will see not only the theoretical aspects, but also the practical application of a Uro Basti, we will find the technical details and the possibilities of application; we will see which are the most appropriate medicated Taila (oils) to use and deepen the relationship that the treatment has in specific with Hridaya marma. This path will also come through reading a clinical case that we can analyze together.