Ayurveda Is A Lifestyle
Humans are creatures of habit! Successful people indeed have a fixed regime that entails healthy practices. Why do they do it? Being true to Ayurvedic philosophy, it is vital to exercise balance in your day-to-day activities. This creates a conducive environment for your energy (dosha) to flow and regulate overall well-being. Depending on your special constitution, there are different habits you may inculcate to fend off sickness and lead a content lifestyle.
A Closer look at some of these rituals:
1. Rise And Shine
An ancient practice that many Indians follow is the act of waking up early in the morning. This is an Ayurvedic principle that attempts to accustom your body clock to that of the sun. A standard recommendation of 90-45 min before the sun rises is sought after. It is however slightly different for each kind of dosha. For potent Vata energy, 4-5:30 AM is ideal. Kapha dosha takes over at 6 AM and Pitta type of energy kicks in at around 10 PM and hence, you may be more likely to be productive during the later hours of the day. Ensure you get sufficient sleep to revitalize and detoxify your body (1).
2. Yoga, Breath Work And Meditation
Ayurveda involves these three practices in that order. All of them are a means to connect with the body and mind more deeply. Starting with yoga, various asanas are beneficial for each dosha. Yoga improves strength, intuition and flexibility- Along with pranayama, it also benefits your lung health (2). Pranayama is a mindful breath-work technique that instantly calms you down and activates the parasympathetic nervous system. This improves clarity and focus. Finally, end your session with a meditation. Allow your thoughts to pass without judgment and reconnect with yourself.
3. Jal Neti
Jal Neti is a nasal washing practice that is popular in yogic culture. For this procedure, one puts water from a pot into their nostril. This passes out of the other nostril after which, one generally blows their nose. This is a great cleaning practice as it clears out the airway, the sinuses and allows unobstructed air to pass through. Conditions like allergies, tuberculosis, bronchitis and migraines can be managed with Jal Neti (3).
4. Walking Barefoot
Feeling your skin on the bare ground is a truly grounding experience. This is great for bare grass, to enhance the internal harmony between all five elements- air, fire, water and space. The natural electrons from the ground's surface to the body have several benefits for health. It promotes better sleeping patterns, reduced pain and blocks electric fields induced in the body (4). Our feet also have many nerve endings that stimulate different parts of the body. Connecting to the world around us is an important part of Ayurveda and this method allows us to distress while we dive into Nature's authenticity.
5. Oil Pulling
Before regular brushing, this ritual can be included as an extra step for oral hygiene (5). It is suggested that a tablespoon of oil is gently circulated in the mouth for about 20 mins. Oil pulling is also referred to as 'kavala' or 'gundusha' and has excellent advantages. Some of these are for cavities, ulcers, fevers and even asthma. One interesting effect of the process is that it causes your saliva to throw out toxic heavy metals, thus purifying the entire body. It is also great for bad breath and awful gingivitis. (Say cheese with those pearly whites!)
6. Eye Washing Techniques
Eye washing is a self-care technique observed in Ayurvedic practices. Various issues with the eyes can be avoided. Once or twice a week this practice may combat dry eyes, sore eyes and poor eyesight. Here are some of the specifications- A half cup of organic rose water with a half cup of warm water can be gently placed into the eyelids with closed eyes. Open the eyes and blink a few times. Another eyewash uses a half tsp of triphala powder stirred into 8 ounces of boiling water. Once it cools overnight, strain it and use it the same way as the previous technique.
Improve the circulation of blood and lymph in the body using this relaxing technique. Natural oils like coconut, sesame and almond can be warmed up and applied all over the body in long and circular motions. It is said that massages open the flow of life force, reduce pain and stimulate anti-aging effects. They are also extremely relaxing and imparts psychological benefits.