"What is Ahara?"
Anything that nourishes, sustains the body's existence, and promotes growth and energy is called Ahara (aahaara). Here’s what Ayurveda says about how and why we must stay calm while taking Ahara!
If you venture towards ayurvedic nutrition, the concepts will require you to begin thinking more in Sanskrt. Sanskrt is not simply a language; it is a code for understanding a way of life that integrates the human experience with the world around us, from the microcosmic to the macrocosmic worlds.
Subtle energies are a big part of understanding Sanskrt and Ayurveda, so any foray into ayurvedic nutrition will take you on a journey into the transmutation between energy and matter, something understood inherently when the language of Sanskrt dominated all works of wisdom because the language was well-done, constructed to convey everything that would explain the universe, our place in it, and how to feed ourselves what we need for a good life.
The term ahara (pronounced aahaara) is used throughout the philosophies of ancient times and is totally dummed down to a translation as food. hara means to lose from oneself, and a-hara means the opposite, not to lose, but to take into oneself. There are metaphysical interpretations of ahara, such as the nutriments of absorption through the 5 senses, absorption through the feeling mind, absorption into one's inner space or soul, as well as absorption of material food. Anything that nourishes, sustains the body's existence, and promotes growth and energy is called aahaara.
Ayurveda advises us to be aware of our intake. When we are intaking food, we should not be intaking other inputs, such as wind, sun, rain, or loud noise, rushing visuals, or non-food smells. While modern science has yet to understand this wisdom, it is slowly emerging with studies that show that various brain inputs influence digestion. Of course, we know that a phone call or loud shock can completely sidetrack our appetite in the middle of eating. Ayurveda reminds us to set up our eating space to be calm, quiet, and cool, so that we can fully absorb the nutrients and discard the non-needed parts of the meal we eat.
In modern ayurveda, ahara is one of the three pillars of sustenance and healthy life, ahara-nidra-brahmacarya. The importance of taking in those things that will support healthy growth and optimal function of the tissues is crucial. A glow occurs around the body when the cells have proper energy and nourishment.
In contrast, today's scientists have disconnected food from the ecosystems of life. For the past 8 decades, scientists have emphasized the chemical aspects of food, focusing on molecules of carbohydrates, fats and proteins without observing the crucial link to living cells. The measurement of calories has replaced the attention to balance of different nutriments and their sources. Professions have emerged claiming expertise and dominion using the approach of chemistry and food processing. Food industrial chemists devise new chemical processes to technically stay within the law but maximize profit and innovation by further detaching naturally-grown foods from their inherent chemicals. What they feed us tastes good, smells good, and looks good, but feels not-so-good once it goes down and through the belly.
In modern ayurveda, ahara is one of the three pillars of sustenance and healthy life, ahara-nidra-brahmacarya. The importance of taking in those things that will support healthy growth and optimal function of the tissues is crucial. A glow occurs around the body when the cells have proper energy and nourishment
Ayurveda returns us to our instinctive reminders about what food is and reconnects us with 10,000 years of human tradition, before synthetic foods and non-living foods became the norm in restaurants, groceries, school cafeterias, hospitals, college campuses and food grant programs. Ayurveda reminds us to take in only those things we can source, to nutrify ourselves with energies that are ethical, foods that are living, and processes that respect the human condition.
The term ahara is more complete than the term food. Ahara reminds us to look at each step in what makes what are eating, from soil to seed to stove to stomach. Ahara reminds us ‘We Are What We Eat’. It reminds us to choose nutriments that will heal us and make us whole.