Having been in the health and wellness industry for over 20 years, I have seen diets fads come and go. I’ve even tried some. Ultimately, as a yoga practitioner and teacher, I continue to return to the sister science of yoga called Ayurveda because it is all about balance. For me, to have optimum health, I have to find a balance that is right for me. Ayurveda focused on bringing the individuals constitution into balance.
What impressed me most about Ayurveda is that is is so much more than just food. Everything we ingest- they that food, information, thoughts, words, sight, sounds, smells, everything– must be digested and either assimilated or eliminated. Now, I know you have had the uncomfortable experience of ingesting something that neither assimilated or eliminated properly. It’s not good. It drains you of your vital life force, makes you feel lousy, and surely affected your disposition! Think of all the other stuff you’re ingesting and not even aware of digesting- it’s just hanging out in you, waiting.
Ayurveda offers a daily ritual called dinacharya. This is broken into morning and evening. The morning is designed to energized you and prepare you for your day, while the evening is more relaxing to prepare you for a good night’s sleep. Try one or two from the morning and night for 14 days and notice how you feel. Then decide if you want to keep and add enough or switch for something different for another 2 weeks until you’re comfortable with your daily routine.
1. The early bird catches the worm. Wake up before 6 am to meditate, stretch/do yoga, or journal. 2-6 am is a more spiritual time of day. The atmosphere before dawn is calmer, more still. And research has proven 5 minutes of meditation in the morning plays a huge role in successful stress management throughout the day.
2. Rubba Dub. Massage your whole body with oil. Sesame and Coconut are great. Leave on for 20 minutes before showering
3.Pull some oil. Oil pulling is detoxifying. Take a teaspoon of sesame or coconut oil into your mouth, swish around a bit, then hold it under your tongue, periodically swishing in mouth, for 5-20 minutes. Spit it into the garbage- DO NOT SWALLOW!!! Then rinse with warm water.
4. Clear your nose. Flush out germs, pollen, dust, or congestion that have accumulated overnight with jala neti. This is a nasal cleansing technique to clean the sinuses with warm saline via a teapot-like vessel called a neti pot.
Pour a cup of warm water (sterilized or distilled) into a neti pot. Add 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized salt (kosher or sea salt), stirring until it dissolves. Insert the spout into your left nostril, lean over the sink, and tilt your head slightly to the right so the water flows through the sinus passages and out of the right nostril. Gently blow your nose and repeat on the other side. When you’re finished, lie on your back, tilt your head back, and put a few drops of warm sesame oil or ghee (clarified butter) in your nostrils.
5. Sip hot water with lemon. Use 1/2 a lemon to 1 mug of warm water. You can add 1/2 tsp celtic salt and 1/2 tsp honey, too. This prepares the GI tract, cleanses the kidneys, and prepares metabolism.
1. Root down. 6-10 pm is an earthy time. Great for winding down, spending with family or friends, chillaxin. Good time for reading or engaging the mind with documentaries or positive input, music or culture.
2. Breathe in. Use essential oils such as lavender, vanilla, or sandalwood with sesame oil on the bottoms of your feet for a lovely massage or roll a tennis ball under the foot in line with each toe from the ball of the foot to the heal before putting on a few drops of essential oil.
3. Early to bed. Try to be in bed by 10 pm. 10 pm-2 am is a firery time and the perfect time for your conscious mind to process the day. Like mind digestion, ya know? Drink a cup of warm, organic milk (preferably goat milk) with 1 tsp ghee, 1 tsp honey, and 1/4 tsp cardamon.
4. Blackout. Take as much light out of your sleep zone as possible. Use an eye mask if necessary. Remove all phones and anything with a tiny charging light, too. Sleep will be MUCH better this way.
5. Attitude of gratitude. Journal three things for which you are grateful for in your day. This ends your day on a positive note while priming your conscious metabolism for proper “digestion”.
For my morning ritual, I wake between 5-5:30 am most mornings. I start with the abhyanga (massage) on arms, legs, feet, belly, low back, neck with an oil I blended specific to my constitution and health goals. Then I scrape my tongue. I’ll drink a glass of water (2/3 water, 1/3 homemade kombucha). I’ll make my cup of 1/2 caff coffee. From there I take a few minutes to journal and plan my day before meditating for 5-15 minutes (depending on my schedule). If I have time, I go do 30 minutes cardio.
I have the luxury of not having children or a hard set schedule for work, so I have more flexibility than most. But even on my busiest days, I try to get at least an abbreviated practice. It took a couple years of playing with this to figure out what I need to balance. However, it makes a huge difference in how my day unfolds. I am calmer, more focused and productive, and able to handle stress better. The ROI of even the most minimal practice is far greater than I ever could have imagined before becoming consistent with it.