The Three pillars of health according to Ayurveda
Sensual pleasure increases the joy of life and helps us maintain a healthy mental and emotional balance. And sex is the strongest form of pleasure.
That’s why, according to Ayurveda and Yoga it’s one of the three pillars of abundant physical, emotional, psychological AND spiritual health.
The other 2 pillars are diet and more specifically digestion and sleep. I’ll discuss each of these separately in upcoming articles.
The 4 goals of life
According to Indian philosophy, which both Yoga and Ayurveda are based on, there are four goals of life: Kama, Artha, Dharma and Moksha.
When we equally experience and master all four, we have a fulfilled and blissful life.
Kama is our basic ability to enjoy life fully. We all want to be happy. And we never feel more alive as when we can derive pleasure from life’s experiences: watching a beautiful sunrise, smelling a fragrant rose, listening to laughter, looking at a beautiful person and of course making love.
India is the culture that gave us the Kama Sutra, so Ayurveda knows a thing or two about sexuality and erotic life.
By the way did you know that the Kama Sutra was written by a celibate monk?
Artha is necessary to be able to enjoy life. Let’s face it though money may not be able to buy happiness and safety, it certainly helps us with the necessities of life, a roof over our heads, delicious food on our table, beautiful clothes to adorn our sacred bodies/temples.
Dharma is essential in order to fulfill our need for purpose, self-expression and self-realization. As my teacher Dr. David Frawley says, “We all need recognition for our particular gifts or talents in life, so we can fulfill our proper role in nature. This is the inner goal of the ego-principle.”
Moksha is the freedom from fear and ignorance. That’s why sometimes it’s translated as ‘spiritual freedom’. It’s the ability to discriminate, to be able to see Truth in all things. Moksha is the freedom that comes from true faith. In my understanding true faith means when we feel compassion for both the victim and the perpetrator, when we trust fully in the intelligence of life.
According to Dr. Frawley, the proper order is: Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.
“First we must have the dharmic foundation of life through right living in harmony with both spirit and nature. Then we must pursue the right goals that derive from this. Pursuit leads to enjoyment in our life activity. This in turn gives liberation or freedom when we achieve a goal that is dharmic.”
However, pleasure doesn’t mean overindulgence!
Why is sex one of the 3 pillars or foundations for optimum health?
Because like with food and sleep, we have a tendency to overindulge. And overindulgence leads to physical, emotional and psychological imbalance.
Ayurveda focuses on the ways we spend our energy, our life force. Some ways give us more energy and other ways deplete us of our energy depending on our nature. When we’re depleted of life force, we open ourselves up for sickness and disease.
There are three main realms that are taken into consideration: how we spend our energy on our work, exercise and sex.
The foundation of Yoga is the maintenance and expansion of prana, energy. The yogis practice Brahmacharya, meaning they live a self-controlled life in order to have the life-force necessary to achieve Moksha and enlightenment.
Sexual activity and our life force
Sexual activity is one of the ways we deplete ourselves of our life-force. And no it has nothing to do with religious dogma.
In his book Healing with Whole Foods, Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition, Paul Pitchford writes: “Excessive sexual activity depletes the kidney-adrenal vital energy and its related essence known as jing. Jing directly tonifies life force, and when deficient, resistance to disease and adaptability to the environment diminishes. Excessive ejaculation in particular reduces jing, draining the body’s vitality. According to modern nutrition, semen contains substantial amounts of zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to proper immune function. Excessive loss of semen, therefore, taxes the body’s stores of these nutrients.”
Tantra does NOT teach about sexual performance and indulgence
One of my yoga teachers, Swami Muktibodhananda writes in her translation and commentary of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika: “From the tantric as well as yogic perspective, the release of bindu, as sperm and ova, leads to aging and loss of prana. Semen contains an enormous force in molecular and potential form. It is compared to the potential contained within an atomic bomb. The seminal fluid discharge in a single emission contains an average of 400 million spermatozoa. Each of these minute sperms possesses enough energy to swim 3,000 times its own length. In relative terms that is the same amount of energy used up by a six foot man swimming one and a half miles. That is the amount proportionally, of the body’s vital energy packed into a single sperm cell expelled from the body in a single seminal emission. An individual therefore, is being constantly drained of a quantum of highly potent living essence, which the body has no option but to continually replace using a constant supply of metabolic energy.”
What climaxing and meditation have in common
But climaxing according to Yoga is also one of the rare times in our human life when we effortlessly totally concentrate and captivate the mind! The only other time this is achieved is during meditation. So the yogis of old taught that sex should NOT be an ordinary experience…
Rejuvenation and aphrodisiac medicine!
Ayurveda medical practices are divided into 8 branches and the first 6 are pretty similar to modern western medicine. The last two are very unique, they focus on rejuvenation, rasayana in Sanskrit and aphrodisiacs, vajikarana. Yes, aphrodisiacs!
Aging and loss of energy naturally happen as we get older; however, they are precipitated when we live a careless life of overindulgence.
To live longer and have better sex, Ayurveda makes some recommendations:
- Speak the truth
- Avoid becoming angry
- Practice meditation
- Avoid conflict
- Steer away from drugs and alcohol
- Eat foods like ghee, honey, healthy carbohydrates and good quality fats to rejuvenate the body-mind
What to do before, during and after sex
Ensure that the atmosphere includes sweet music, sweet fragrance and flowers.
Kapha time of the night, between 6pm and 10pm (especially 2 hours after dinner) is ideal for intimacy.
Partners should be physically, emotionally and spiritually involved with each other.
Afterwards, it’s recommended to urinate to balance the energy in the pelvis.
Relax, perhaps have a warm bath.
Finally, have a drink made of hot milk or almond milk with ghee and honey or dates and saffron to replenish energy.
Recipes for After Sex Drinks by Dr. Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa:
Men’s After Sex Drink: 8-10 oz of organic, preferably raw milk, 1-3 tsp grated fresh ginger root, 1-3 tsp black or white sesame seeds, 1-3 tsp ghee, cinnamon and clove powder to taste. Warm milk, (if raw, bring to a boil first). Blend ingredients in a blender. Let it cool and add honey if desired.
Women’s After Sex Drink: 1 tsp shatavari powder, 1/2 tsp vidari kanda powder (you can find these herbs at banyanbotanicals.com), 1 cup of warm milk. Add herbal powders to warm milk. Drink at night before bed.
After Sex Drink with Almonds: 10 raw almonds, 1 cup warm milk, 1 tsp natural sugar, pinch saffron, pinch nutmeg. Soak almonds overnight, Remove skin. Blend ingredients until smooth.
Preserved Dates (for low libido, chronic fatigue): 10 fresh dates, 1 quart ghee, 1 tsp ginger powder, 1/8 tsp cardamom, pinch of saffron. Add dates to quart of ghee jar. Stir remaining ingredients. Cover jar, store in warm place for 2 weeks. Take 1 date daily every morning.
Ayurveda advises moderate sexual activity, according to personal constitution.
Kapha types can engage in sex daily.
Vata types are the ones who should be more careful with their energy and engage in sex one or two times a month.
Pitta types can engage in sexual activity once a week.
Yoga and Ayurveda have a lot to offer when it comes to having more pleasure, experience greater sex and being fulfilled, happy and content.
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