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Lifestyle and Ayurveda

Ayurveda in the Modern Life

Designing a Life of Balance

In today’s modern world, it can be difficult to maintain a sense of balance.  Between juggling our kid’s busy school schedules, after-school activities, and personal work schedules, it’s easy to let our own well-being fall by the wayside.  However, by incorporating some simple Ayurvedic practices into our daily routines, we can help achieve a greater sense of balance in our lives.

Ayurveda is based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit. It teaches us about aligning with the rhythm of nature and understanding how the elements of the earth influence our inner and outer environments.

Modern Ayurveda is based on the same principles as traditional Ayurveda but incorporates lifestyle changes and modern scientific knowledge to create a more holistic approach to health and wellness.

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in Ayurveda in the West. Modern Ayurveda practitioners believe that the principles of Ayurveda can be applied to all aspects of life, not just health.

The word Ayurveda comes from the Sanskrit words Ayur (life) and Veda (knowledge). Ayurveda is considered to be one of the sister sciences of Yoga, and it is based on the belief that all living things are made up of the five earth elements: air, water, fire, earth, and space. Ayurveda teaches that optimal health and longevity are achieved by maintaining a balance between these five elements.

However, although Ayurveda is based on a Yogic worldview, it is not necessary to take on a new practice of Yoga to receive the benefits of Ayurveda.  Ayurveda may still be used and applied effectively on its own to all people, cultures, religions, and modern-day lifestyles that seek optimal health, vitality, and rejuvenation.

Why Ayurveda?

Ayurveda can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, from chronic pain to mental illness. It is also an effective preventative measure, helping people to maintain a state of balance and well-being. This is done by creating a daily routine and simple habits that work specifically for you and it may or may not include yoga and other Ayurvedic practices. The key is to be consistent. Start small at first, then you can go deeper as you adjust.  Making small changes like these can help bring some much-needed balance into our busy lives.

Ayurvedic Daily Routines (Dinacharya)    

One way to do this is to incorporate some of the daily routines of Ayurveda into your life.  These are one of Ayurveda’s most powerful tools. The daily routine helps you make time to care for your body, mind, and spirit.  It is also a practice of awareness that lends you an opportunity to connect with your body to observe what imbalances are present that day.  If you do not have a daily routine in place or maybe you do, but it’s variable, this may take some time to get used to.  I recommend picking one or two of these routines and committing to them for one month and being consistent until they become a natural part of your daily rhythm.  As you become more consistent and adjust to these habits, they will become second nature to you, and you won’t be able to do without them.

Early Rising

Wake up preferably early by at least 6 a.m. This means getting to bed early by 10 p.m. This gives you at least 8 hours of restful sleep.  Upon rising, you will want to eliminate your bowels. But if you don’t, the next practice may help assist with that.  We want to avoid having stimulants or coffee of any kind and get your body to do this naturally.

Hydrate

Sip a glass of hot water (I drink about 2 cups) with a squeeze of lemon to stimulate your digestion, cleanse your stomach and wake your organs up.  This is done after you cleanse your mouth and scrape your tongue. Scrapping your tongue in the morning stimulates your digestive tract, so cleanse it before eating or drinking anything.  This removes any bacteria that may have accumulated overnight.  I use a stainless-steel tongue scraper and do 5-7 strokes. Then brush your teeth.

Meditation

This is one of the habits that may take a while to get used to if you are new to it.  Be patient with yourself. Start with 2 min. and gradually add time as your body and mind will naturally want more. The human body responds very quickly to meditation. Studies show that the daily practice of mindfulness helps lower stress, and anxiety, and improves focus, sleep, concentration, and even creativity.  We live in a culture that is very fast-paced and competitive and oftentimes find ourselves listening to our outer world instead of our inner world.  Whether it is dealing with pressures from work, school, or just life in general. Just like the physical body needs rest and resets, so do our mind and spirit.

Practice sitting in silence for a few minutes each day to start to create a habit.  Even if it’s only for 2-5 minutes. When we learn how to quiet our minds and tune down all the noise that we encounter in our daily lives, we can connect with our true inner voice which is the voice that guides us and gives us the ability to find the answers we seek.  I have to say that this was the most challenging habit when I started Ayurveda and now it is the one that I cannot do without!

Move Your Breath

Once you’ve gone through the cleansing routine, begin your movement practice. This is your exercise routine for your breath body. Just like you work your muscles out at the gym, dance, or CrossFit, exercising your lungs and organs is just as vital.  This doesn’t have to be a 2 -hour event; This is to cultivate prana (Life Force) and move it through your body. Moving your breath through your body wakes up and stimulates your organs, gets your blood pumping and oxygenated, and revitalizes your cells.  This may look like a few sun salutations, jumping jacks, or going for a walk around the block. The type of exercise depends on your body type. For some, it may look like a brisque walk around the block and for others, it may be a more softening practice like stretching.

Nourishment

Rhythmic eating is a crucial part of your daily routine. Setting mealtimes supports strong digestion and elimination. Break your fast before 8 a.m. or fast until true hunger shows up around lunch. DO NOT skip lunch. I recommend eating your largest meal before 2 p.m. That is when the digestive fire (Agni) is the strongest. Keep dinner early and light. Preferably between 5:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

Wind Down

Having a healthy evening routine is just as important as your morning practices. It prepares your body for true rest and allows your mind to release and let go of the busyness of the day. Turn off any electronics at least 2 hours before you go to bed. Take a few minutes to have yourself a warm bath and rub essential oils on your feet and thank them for carrying you around all day.

Sleep

Sleep is the true nectar of the Goddesses. Sleep is the only thing that we do not have a remedy for except for just well, going to sleep. Getting good quality sleep is essential for our body to do its job efficiently.  During the hours that we sleep we give our organs a chance to rest, cleanse, and properly absorb and metabolize all the nutrients from the food that we have digested earlier in the day. Sleep is also very important for our mental and emotional body as well as it is when our subconscious mind processes our emotions.

Breaking old habits and establishing new ones can be a challenging process. It requires patience, self-love, and a strong desire to change or even admitting that we need to change. As we upgrade our lifestyles, our identities begin to evolve. We become more confident and empowered and begin to attract new opportunities into our lives.

Remember, you’re the only one who can create the life you want to live. And it all starts with making a commitment to yourself.

So, ask yourself. Am I ready to make a change?

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