Ayurveda is the holistic ancient science which primarily focuses on preventive aspect of ailments. Ayurvedic texts attributes the cause of various disorders to the suppression of natural urges in our body. This is due to the fact that suppression of natural urges causes vitiation of the humors (doshas) of the body mainly vata(humor) and further cause accumulation of toxins (ama) in the body.
Human existence is essentially attributed to constant, continuous oneness of body, mind and soul. We are alive when these constituents are together. When soul and mind departs from body, we call it death. In order to maintain healthy operations of these constituents some urges are created naturally. These urges are known in ayurveda as ' Vega'.
For urges to be in action various nerves, muscles, sphincters take part. The urges can be suppressed for some period by the power of mind. We can also create some urges by stimulating mind. But, ayurveda does not recommend this forceful suppression and initiation of urges. It is regarded as one of the major factor to commence disease process.Quite unknowingly, or sometimes simply for the sake of public mannerism, the body urges are withheld. Yet, this practice does more harm than good.
Suppression of urges (Vegadharan)
- The word ‘vegadharan’ is derived from two words.Vega (natural urge) + Dharan (suppression)
- The human body is a wonderful complex system which has a number of ways to balance or eliminate the materials which could be harmful to the body. In order to facilitate the elimination of these substances, the body is equipped with urges that appear naturally. These are the natural calls from body which a person must attend to, as and when they appear in order to maintain the balance in the body, and to eliminate an element that might cause imbalance.
- Most of us suppress these urges (or) on a regular basis. We wait until a convenient break to eat during our workday regardless of hunger, or we stifle a sneeze so as not to be rude. We learn our culture’s prohibitions around certain urges at a young age, like those around flatulence, belching, or tears. By the time we’re adults, we often don’t register that we’re suppressing urges; we may not even notice an urge at all, so trained are we to schedule the activities they are calling for. I know a few people who won’t feel the need to defecate unless they are near a familiar bathroom (even if several days pass). Hunger is another common victim here. Many of us never feel hunger, since we eat according to the clock, and meal time may come well before or after the urge to eat arises.
Point to be noted..
- This process is timely carried out by body at regular intervals & controlled by nervous system, suppression of which not only stops the elimination of waste products but also brings strain and disorders of nervous system causing many diseases.
- This develops in those who have regular habit of suppressing urges over long period and not instantly.
Which are they?
- According to Ayurveda, there are thirteen types of natural urges in the body which should not be suppressed. Holding these urges back can cause discomfort to body.
- Vega can roughly be classified according to their functions such as
- Excretion (feces, urine, fart, vomit, sneeze, belch, cough etc.)
- Reproduction (semen)
- Intake of food and liquid (hunger and thirst)
- Expressing emotions (tears)
- Refreshing mind n brain (sleep, yawn)
“Vegan na dharayet vata vin mutra kshavathu truta kshudham
nidra Kasa shramashwas jrumbha ashru chardi retasam”
13 Non-suppressible natural urges
- Ashtang hriday and Charak describes 13 non suppressible urges but there is a slight difference that Acharya Charak has explained ‘Udgara vega’(urge to belch) instead of ‘kasa vega’(urge to cough).
Urge to pass urine (Mutra vega)
- This is one of the most commonly withheld urges, especially with women and children. It needs to be kept in mind that when you repeatedly hold on to this body’s urgency, you might initially be simply a receptor of occasional malaise and discomfort.
- But be cautious, because you are unknowingly nearing more threatening afflictions such as: recurrent urinary infections, pain in the lower abdomen and genitals, and renal stones. Urge to eliminate feces (Purish Vega)
- If you ignore the call of the nature, then be ready to face ailments like cramps in the calf muscles, chronic headaches, chronic colds, excessive wind formation, pain in abdomen, and even the emergency condition of heart block may crop up.
- The school going children ignore it and they do not go to toilet early in the morning because they are in a rush to go to school. Housewives also hold the urge to defecate because they are too busy to serve the joint families and handling their children.
- Men are also busy in travel, business meetings, jobs and achieving the targets so that they do not give attention to the urge.
- Sometimes the urge comes for a few seconds and then goes away. This is the time when one should go to toilet without bothering for anything else. This helps to keep the weight also under control
- Repeatedly Ignoring this leads to constipation. Constipation is considered to be root cause of most of the ailments.
Urge to eliminate semen (Shukra Vega)
- Although Ayurveda promotes preservation of semen as it is considered as shukra dhatu, its forceful suppression is not advised. Sex is an act which gives pleasure to all living beings on the earth.
- Suppression of urge to void semen can cause issues such as genital pain and dwelling, pain in the heart, impotency, scrotal enlargement and also urinary problems. Urge to pass out flatus (Vata Vega)
- Repressing the urge to pass wind is unhealthy although it looks embarrassing .This is another common self-restraint that has its own tale of health adversities.
- Some routine discomforts caused by suppression are easy fatigue, urinary retention, pain in the abdomen, improper evacuation of body wastes, and chronic indigestion.
Urge to vomit ( Chardi Vega)
- We often tend to eat in a hurry which results in improper digestion of food. This often shows up as nausea which we invariably suppress. The defense mechanism of the body always tries to expel the toxins or harmful substances from the nearest orifice in the form of vomit.
- The urge to vomit when forcibly suppressed retains the toxins in the body causing various allergic skin disorders, eye disorders, anemia, fever, cough, breathlessness, dark pigmentation & swelling over the face or eyes and itching all over the body.
- A simple sneeze once in a while won’t affect your personality. On the contrary, hold on the same and be accessible for maladies like: occasional headaches, stiffness of the neck, vertigo, and blurred vision. This small ignorance may in the long run rob you of the perfect sense of harmony or more dangerously, it may one day turn into disease like facial paralysis.
- Ever gave a thought to controlling your burps so often? Better do it now. Let me caution you that in the long run, this seemingly harmless practice might be reason enough for tremors, gripping pain in the chest, anorexia, and excessive production of flatus.
- Human brain requires sufficient quantity of oxygen for normal functioning. When brain is deprived of oxygen the normal urge is to yawn so that one gulps sufficient quantity of air. Problems caused by controlling yawning are similar to that of suppressing sneezing.
Urge to eat (Kshudha Vega)
- Hunger is mostly suppressed for want of time to attend to other works which we feel are more important.Never try to starve your body by ignoring its demand for food.
- Controlling and suppressing natural hunger is believed to be harmful for health and fitness. This may cause maladies like anorexia, emaciation, vertigo, giddiness, body aches, depression, and decline in the brainpower.
- Extreme thirst is a common urge for want of clean drinking water. Regular controlling thirst or delaying drinking of water causes emaciation, generalized debility, deafening, delusion, giddiness and heart diseases.
- We all control weeping although they threaten to roll down. Yet we tend to brave out the situation hiding our emotional face.
- Repeatedly holding on to tears may lead to health problems as grave as: torticollis, eye ailments, chronic headache, chronic nasal congestion, vertigo, and anorexia.
- Cry is a gift of nature to ease the tension from human mind. Often we feel shy to cry before others and suppress this urge.
Urge to sleep (Nidra Vega)
- The sleep is an indicator of good health as it brings the normalcy in body tissue and relaxes the person.The properly taken sleep brings happiness, nourishment, strength,Virility, knowledge and life to the individual.
- Do you occasionally deprive yourself of a good night sleep? Yes, this is part of our lifestyle today. Blame it on overwork or nightlife. But let me tell you this is again one of the most deleterious practices that you are unknowingly inuring yourself with. Problems like: general malaise, lethargy, indecisiveness, heaviness and pain in the eyes and head, lack of enthusiasm, habitual insomnia, and digestive maladies might be just round the corner.
- Early to bed; early to rise makes man healthy, wealthy and wise is a forgotten truth. The gift of globalization has forced man to be awake all night in order to earn his livelihood.
- Suppression of this urge may lead to heart diseases, respiratory tract disorders, and fainting.
- Suppression of cough causes more coughing and further leads to dyspnoea, anorexia, heart disease, emaciation, and hiccups.
New Urges developed in today’s era
- Apart from these urges, there are some urges like menstrual cycle in females; the trend is on rise to take tablets and injections for forceful suppression and initiation of menstrual cycle. It is not advisable to interrupt our natural hormonal cycle again and again.
Crime against wisdom (prajnaparadh)
- There’s another larger message for us to take away here. Suppressing one of these bodily urges is considered a “crime against wisdom,” a vital concept in Ayurveda called prajnaparadha.
- “Crimes against wisdom” refers to the unhealthy things we do knowingly and deny our inner wisdom for e.g. accepting the invitation for lunch when you know you really need to rest at home, or eating the heavy burger when you know it will give you indigestion for sure.
- While the plaintive plea of a bodily urge can be lost in the cacophony of a busy day, it is comparatively loud next to the quieter voices of inner wisdom that speak of quieter needs. If we want to hear these voices, we have to encourage them. We can start by recognizing our bodily urges as wisdom, and doing what they ask. Healthy body demands never deceive.
Initiating an urge is also harmful
- Prematurely initiating these vegas is equally dangerous The best way is not to suppress or artificially initiate any natural body process.
- Forcibly initiate an urge, as it can create an imbalance in functioning of vata dosha (body humor) causing related diseases.
Line of treatment for such diseases..
- According to Ayurveda, the first line of treatment in all diseases is "avoid the cause". Therefore, all diseases that can be caused by the suppression of the various natural urges can be prevented simply by not suppressing any of them.
- Remedial measures for the above mentioned conditions can be done by Ayurveda physician based on patient’s findings and history taking.
- In our modern lifestyle, we find ourselves actually suppressing some or most of the natural urges of the body - we forcefully suppress the urge to sneeze when sitting in a meeting, the urge to eat when busy with work, the urge to pass urine while watching a favorite show on television, or the urge to eliminate flatus (fart) or yawn while in public.
- God created animals as well as humans, humans are presented with intelligence and brain power which is very advance, resulting in extraordinary discoveries to assist in its functions in many ways, but in this process we went far away from nature. We are in hurry all the time and we don’t have time even to respond to natures call.
- In today’s cultured & civilized world sneezing, coughing, yawning, passing flatulence, crying etc. are considered as uncultured and non civilized manners. But these urges when constantly and repeatedly suppressed lead to serious disorders. So it is very important to respond to these urges in time, do not ignore when the next nature call comes, and attend to it on priority.
- This health promoting and sickness preventing guidance is emphasized only in Ayurveda. It is such a rich piece of health advice, recorded several millennium ago and still relevant in today’s modern world.