Ayurvedic Food Concept - Ahara
Food is defined in modern terms as “any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink or that plants absorb in order to maintain life and growth.” However, there are different perspectives of looking at food, and different ways to define what exactly “food” is. One interesting perspective comes from the Ayurvedic tradition of India.
What Is Ayurvedic Food?
According to Ayurveda, food is known as Ahara, and is known as one of the most important pillars of life. It includes not only the physical food and liquids that we consume, such as in the modern definition, but also what each of the 5 senses (eyes-sight, nose-smell, ears-hearing, tongue-taste, skin-touch) absorb from all that they come into contact with.
This means that we are constantly feeding ourselves through our sensory organs. What we see, what we smell, what we taste, what we touch, and what we hear—these are all food for our mind, and they play a major role in our health and happiness.
The Ayurvedic concept of Ahara is unique in that it includes all of the things that we consume, not just the food we eat through our mouths. This perspective offers a valuable insight into what we experience each day and how that effects our state of health.
The World Around Us
We may eat the healthiest diet that exists, but if we are constantly watching disturbing images and media, hearing disruptive sounds and messages, smelling foul or toxic odors, experiencing uncomfortable physical sensations, or tasting disgusting foods it will stress the body and mind and will lead to an imbalance in our health.
Basically, what this concept is pointing to in the modern era is: what kind of media are you consuming? What kind of music do you listen to? What is the message in the music? What kind of shows do you watch? How does the news you consume or the things that you read affect your state of mind and well-being?
The beautiful thing about the concept of Ahara, is that it empowers us to make our own decisions with what it is that we consume—on all levels. In an age of information, we have different advertisements and media grabbing for our attention every time we look at our phone, listen to the radio, or turn on the TV. There are so many different topics and things to explore, that it can be overwhelming.
It is important that we remember first of all to BREATHE—take a deep breath and relax ourselves, and then ask ourselves, what is it that I really want to be consuming? What am I already consuming and how is it affecting my health? We have the ability to choose what we invest our time and attention in, and it is important that we be wise with the information and media that we consume, and only consume those things that bring us health and happiness.
The food we eat is just one form of consumption, but we also consume information and media through our five senses. The concept of Ahara in Ayurveda brings this to our attention and invites us to make wise decisions with what we consume so that we can truly be healthy—physically, mentally, and emotionally.