I know what you’re thinking: what the heck is Ayurveda? Considered by many scholars to be the oldest healing science; in Sanskrit, Ayurveda means “The Science of Life.” This wellness knowledge originated in India as far back as 5,000 years ago and is often called the “Mother of All Healing.”
It branches off from the ancient Vedic culture and was taught verbally from accomplished masters to their disciples for many thousands of years. A lot of familiar natural healing systems in the West have roots in Ayurveda, including Homeopathy and Polarity Therapy.
The two main guiding principles of Ayurveda:
- The mind and body are connected totally
- There is nothing that has more power to heal and transform the body than the mind
I know, I know, this all sounds a little complicated, but I promise you that it’s not. For example, take meditating; when you do it you enter a state of expanded awareness and inner quiet that restores balance and refreshes the mind. And, since the body and mind are so inseparable, there is a natural balance in the body when you practice meditation.
In the state of restful awareness - created through meditation - your heart rate and breathing
Meditation is one of the most powerful tools prescribed by ancient Ayurveda physicians to balance the mind and body. Ayurveda offers many other practices as well to further expand self-awareness and cultivation of your innate state of balance.
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Continue reading for 7 more ways to incorporate Ayurveda into your wellness routine:
1. Eat the Rainbow
Eating is our most vital bodily function, next to breathing. Food must be nourishing to create a healthy body and mind. What you want to do for optimal nutrition is consume a variety of fresh foods that are prepared appropriately and eaten with awareness.
There is a simple way to ensure you’re getting a balanced diet and that is to include the six Ayurvedic tastes (sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent) into each meal.
Doing this makes sure that all the major food groups are represented, including the major nutrients. This idea also helps cut down on snacking because including all six tastes makes you feel more satisfied after eating.
Here’s another thing, filling your plate with all the colors of the rainbow helps promote a long and healthy life. Foods that are deep blue, purple, red, green, or orange are packed with antioxidants and are filled with many nutrients to boost immunity and enhance health.
2. Strengthen Your Digestive Power
According to Ayurveda teachings, good health is dependent on how well your body metabolizes the nutritional, emotional, and sensory info that we ingest.
When our digestive energy, known in Ayurveda as agni (fire), is strong, our bodies create healthy tissues, get rid of waste products efficiently and produce a subtle essence called ojas. Ojas is seen as the source of our vitality and is the basis for clarity and perception, immunity, and physical strength.
On the other hand, if our agni is weakened by poor diet and awareness, digestion becomes incomplete and leads to a buildup of toxic residue known as ama. The accumulation of ama in the body can lead to blockages in the flow of energy, information, and nourishment, and this is the basis of all disease.
Here are a few Ayurveda practices that strengthen your digestive fire:
- Always sit down to eat, and not in front of a computer or TV.
- Eat in a calming atmosphere; not when you’re upset.
- Do not eat until you are definitely hungry.
- Eat at a moderate pace. Don’t eat too fast or too slow.
- Minimize raw foods because they are harder to digest than cooked.
- Include all six tastes at every meal.
- Drink hot water with ginger throughout the day.
3. Get Plenty of Restful Sleep
Ayurveda teaches that sleep is the nursemaid to humanity. While we sleep, our body repairs and rejuvenates itself. If your body is lacking in restful sleep it’s innate balance is disrupted, the immune system is weakened, and the aging process is sped up. On average, human beings need between six to eight hours of restful sleep every single night.
Restful sleep, which means you are not using pharmaceuticals or alcohol to get to sleep, means drifting off once the lights are off and sleeping soundly throughout the night.
Here’s an easy tell whether or not restless sleep has happened: if you wake up feeling energetic and vibrant when you wake up, that means you had restful sleep. If you wake up feeling tired and groggy, you haven’t had restful sleep.
Happiness takes practice!
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4. Living in Tune With Nature
That phrase, “Living in tune with nature” is spot-on when it comes to Ayurveda: having healthy desires that match what you actually need. As nature made you, what you want and what you need should not be in conflict with each other. When you’re balanced, there is a natural desire to only that which nurtures your health and life.
You’re constantly in flow with the harmony of the body’s natural rhythms: getting restful sleep, tastes, touch, aromas, sounds, and sights that nourish and uplift you.
When the tune with nature slips, your desires become non-nurturing and you begin craving junk food, neglect sleep, and exercise. Even indulge in compulsive behaviors. In time, a small imbalance can lead to a disorder and then a disease, which brings on more stress and further neglect.
5. Exercise: Know Your Body
Tuning into your body’s messages keeps you in harmony with your inner intelligence and rhythms. The body always lets itself known through signals of comfort and discomfort.
Before you choose a certain path or behavior, ask your body how it feels about it first. If you get a signal of physical or emotional distress, be aware of that, and consider a different choice.
If there’s a signal of comfort and eagerness, you may proceed with the path. As the mind lives in the past and future, the body is in the now and does not doubt itself. The body knows what works and will guide you towards the most beneficial choices.
6. Take it Easy
Ayurveda is about aligning with the infinite power of nature rather than forcing things to go your way. This principle is the main point outlined by the Law of Least Effort. When you go out and observe nature, you’ll see that grass doesn’t try to grow; it just grows. Birds don’t try to fly; they just fly.
Nature functions effortlessly, frictionlessly, and spontaneously. It’s intuitive, non-linear, holistic, and nourishing. It takes less effort to follow actions motivated by love because nature is held together by the energy of love.
When you chase after money, power, status, or accolades, you’re wasting energy. When actions are motivated by love, energy is expanded and accumulated. So, just take it easy and be guided by love.
7. Find Your Dosha
Dosha, also known as mind-body types, are the foundation of Ayurveda. Doshas culminate unique blends of emotional, physical, and mental characteristics.
The three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, are all derived from the five elements of nature, which are: Space (akasha), Air (vayu), Fire (tejas), Water (jala), and Earth (orprithvi).
Understanding your own unique dosha - and understanding the specific needs of your dosha - allows you to make the best choices regarding your diet, exercise, supplements, and all the other aspects of your lifestyle.