Rasayana: An Afternoon of Rejuvenation with Anne Witmer


Long life, heightened memory and intellect, freedom from disease,

 youthfulness,  excellence of complexion, luster, and of voice; 

optimum strength of the physical body and the senses; 

fulfillment of whatever is spoken; reverence of all people—

all this does one obtain by the proper use of rasayanas. 

These rasayanas are so called because they replenish the vital fluids of the body.  

(from the Ayurvedic text:  Charka Samhita, Chikitsasthanam I/7-8)

Rasayana which means, “that which destroys old age and disease,” is a therapeutic process of offering deep nourishment to the cells, tissues, and organs of the body in support of their healing, renewal, and regeneration.

The sanskrit word rasa means juice, fluid or essence.  In the context of Āyurveda, rasa specifically means the preservation, transformation, and replenishment of energy. The word ayana means “to increase” or “to circulate”. Thus, rasayana is something that promotes the circulation of the vital essence or juices of life, or more simply, a way to restore and maintain the fluids or juiciness in our bodies.

Rasayana is one of the eight specialized branches of the practice of Ayurveda.  In Ayurveda, rasayana refers to both the science of promoting longevity and the herbal & behavioral remedies used to maintain optimal health as well as to reverse the effects of aging.  A Rasayana therapy is any herb, food, treatment or practice that promotes a youthful state of physical and mental health, heals imbalance and sustains clarity and happiness.   One might engage in a rasayana therapy protocol for a specific time period (often a month - depending on need) to repair and restore one's system   But many of these practices can be incorporated into one’s daily routine to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. 

Rasayana therapy can take different forms such as:

  • Going on a retreat to receive special treatments with oils, herbs and foods. 

  • A dedicated time for healing and rejuvenating the body/mind.

  • an ongoing practice in adopting an Ayurvedic lifestyle.

Rasayana therapy might be indicated in a number of different situations such as after a deep cleansing process, when one is mentally and physically depleted from stress & overwork, or after intense physical exertion.  These techniques can be particularly helpful in the late fall and winter (Vata season) to ease the transition to the colder, dryer time of the year when it is more likely for the body and mind to become out of balance.

Engaging in Rasayana practices can help:

  • Improve strength, energy, vitality and stamina 

  • Bolster immunity 

  • Promote courage, confidence, and success

  • Slow the aging process and increase longevity

  • Promote cellular intelligence and

  • Improve memory 

  • Bring balance, awareness, joy, and clarity into one’s life and relationships

The Rasayana Process is holistic and incorporates many elements including:

  • dietary modifications (nourishing fresh cooked foods)

  • ayurvedic herbs

  • gentle, grounding yoga practice

  • pranayama - focusing on relaxation of the nervous system

  • meditation or quiet reflection (especially at dawn)

  • specific ayurvedic techniques such as abhyanga (warm oil massage) & nasya (oil application in nostrils).

  • lifestyles adjustments

Lifestyle adjustments (both temporary and long-term) are key to maximizing the healing process and include such things as:

  • Minimizing stress.

  • Minimizing travel,

  • Getting sufficient amounts of quality sleep,

  • Maintaining positive relationships.

  • Avoiding unfamiliar places or situations that might incite anxiety, fear, or loneliness.

  • Wearing enough clothes to avoid getting chilled, especially in cool, windy weather.

  • Undertaking a period of celibacy to preserve your vital life energy.

  • Maximizing emotions & behaviors that enhance healing such as:

    • love, compassion, uplifting speech, cleanliness, charity, piety, respect toward teachers and elders, positive outlook, moderation and self-control, especially with regard to alcohol and sex, simplicity, routine/regularity.

  • Avoiding emotions and behaviors that are toxic to health:

    • anger, violence, harsh or hurtful speech, conceit, speaking ill of others behind their back, egotism, dishonesty, coveting another's spouse or wealth.