By Dada Dharmavedananda

Everyone wants to live a long and happy life, but not everyone is successful in this pursuit. In case you have been wondering what you have to do in order to be both healthy and happy, I would like to share with you some tips for living a long, healthy and meaningful life.

1. Dont eat unless you are hungry

If you eat when you are not hungry you risk getting constipation and indigestion. Fermented and undigested food poisons the blood, weakening the organs and makes you susceptible to any of thousands of various acute and chronic diseases. To properly eliminate wastes, your digestive system should be rested by sufficient gaps between meals.

Try to find your natural rhythm and listen to what your body tells you. Overeating is also the cause of many illnesses. The yogis advise you to think of your stomach as having four parts, of which one part is still empty when you finish eating.

2. Sleep when you are tired

This means that you should go to bed when your body tells you, and not continue to lie around after you’ve woken up. As far as possible, conform to your natural rhythms. Sleeping during the day and staying awake at night when you are tired is said to be one of the causes of cancer.

3. Get out of bed before sunrise

Each day has a rhythm – like a wave. If you get up too late, you miss the wave and spend the rest of the day struggling to keep up. If you get up early, the wave is behind you, and carries you through the day. Some hours of sleep before midnight are said to be twice as valuable as sleep after midnight. Once you are habituated, the dawn hours are the best for meditation and personal development.

4. Take a half-bath or shower before meditation, food and sleep

Water has tremendous therapeutic value. By doing a half-bath (splashing cool water on all the limbs plus the face and neck) before meditation, eating and sleeping your body and mind become refreshed and relaxed. Yours activities will be performed at their optimum level, deriving maximum benefit. As far as possible, take a refreshing complete bath at least twice a day, certainly at least once a day. Water temperature should not exceed body temperature.

5. Practice meditation and yoga regularly

Regular meditation and yoga tune the body and mind so that they waste much less energy. This means your body and mind will last longer because the allotted amount of energy will carry you further. It is said by some that each person has a fixed number of breaths to their life. When you slow down the breathing during yogic practices, you extends the duration your life.

6. Eat raw food and yoghurt

Life depends upon on “Prana” or “Vital Energy”. Raw fresh food is full of life-giving, vital energy (zing!!) and this is more important than the nutrients in food. Enzymes enabling perfect digestion are present in raw fruits and veggies, but are lost during cooking. And raw food contains all of its fiber undiminished by cooking , which is so important for maintaining regularity in bowel movements, which should be as many as the number of meals you eat. Yoghurt is an easily digestible complete protein which contains bacteria that aids digestion. Milk products are also good for mental development.

7. Fast at regular intervals

During fasting, the body is not burdened with absorbing and metabolizing nutrition. As your digestive system rests, it shifts into healing and cleansing mode. Thus, during fasting, toxic dead and diseased cells are swept out – a sort of house-cleaning process, which is fundamental for achieving and maintaining good health. Fasting is the best and quickest means to cure most diseases.

Fasting also purifies the mind. When you are not distracted by food, your mind naturally turns inward, creating a good environment for contemplation and spiritual thoughts. At the same time, it overcomes guilty thinking, clearing your conscience and giving you a fresh start.

If you fast once a week or at least once every two weeks you will be able to get many benefits without weakening your body or disrupting your daily life. Care should be paid to eating, light, easily digestible and juicy food before and after fasting.

8. Engage yourself in physical labor or exercise

Regular exercise strengthens bones, muscles, organs and joints. Your lymphatic system is operated by motion. Inter-cellular fluid also depends on motion to enable it to channel nutrition and waste materials to-and-from cells. Without adequate exercise the body degenerates. As long as we have a body, it needs to be regularly worked and exercised, even bodies of the elderly. A certain amount of physical work is good for the mind also, releasing built up tensions, maintaining a harmonious link with body and environment, and giving a break to the overworked mind.

9. Drink enough water

Natural-therapy does not speak of needing merely eight glasses daily. Rather it specifies that everyone needs at least three to four liters (12 to 16 glasses) daily. Sick people need four to five liters. Those with skin trouble need even more. But you should not drink too much at a time, except in the very early morning on an empty stomach. And you should drink water between meals, not while you eat.

There you have it, nine steps that will help you to live a long, healthy and happy life.

About the author
Dada Dharmavedananda is a yogi and naturopathic doctor. He is the founder of the Ananda Marga Yoga Wellness Center, an in-patient natural treatment center in Cebu, Philippines.