Ayurveda is known as the sister science of yoga and a holistic lifestyle. I have been studying different holistic practices throughout my academic life and I can honestly say Ayurveda for me is the best. I say this because it is based on bringing balance in your body by actually learning about and completely understanding your body. I never really understood why I struggle so much in hot weather, or why my stomach reacts to certain foods, or why my skin is so reactive until I began my Ayurveda studies. Each body has a dominant dosha and body constitution and this gives you an idea about your body type. The three Ayurveda doshas relate to the universal elements of fire, water, earth, space/ether and air. Vata is the dosha represented air and space. Pitta is the dosha represented by fire and water and Kapha is the dosha represented by earth and water. Understanding your constitution will give you an insight into your body type, foods to eat more or less of, type of physical activity suited for your body, and many other ways to get to know yourself. Ayurveda focuses a lot on digestion and the stool movement. Often these two will provide us with a very clear idea of what is happening within our body. Based on these and other observations of your own dominant dosha, you can get an idea of how to reach a more balanced physical, emotional, mental and energetic state. Whilst each one has different qualities and has specific ways to achieving and maintaining balance, there are some Ayurvedic principles which everyone can do to restore a sense of equilibrium in the body.
It’s important to start your day right. And this means being nurturing towards yourself so that you can feel at your best. Giving yourself a 10 minute oil massage is the perfect way to create some tranquillity and balance for yourself from the get go. Some of you may already do this by moisturising daily, but this focuses on more than just giving your skin some nurturing. Having a 10 minute self-care routine is key to connecting with your physical body, but also your emotional and mental self. This will provide your skin with moisture, but also allow you to energise your mental self. Emotionally you will feel more connected with all parts of the self, meaning that you will feel good. By being kind with your body and taking some time for yourself, especially in the morning, this will set the tone for the day. You can use any natural oil, however if you want to use one best for your dosha you can use the following: For Vata, sesame oil is great as it is heating and also detoxifying. For Pitta, coconut oil is great as it is cooling and restorative and for Kapha you can use either sesame oil or almond oil as they are heating and nurturing.
I first learnt about the practice of tongue scrapping during my Ayurveda studies many years ago and it is amazing. Just as our body doesn’t digest everything and we need to detox the body internally, the tongue functions just the same. Brushing your teeth every morning and night is obviously a no brainer, but scrapping the tongue will also get rid of all foods and drinks tastes which have been acquired on your tongue throughout the day. For this you can use an actual coper tongue scraper or you can simply use a spoon (make sure you disinfect it and clean this thoroughly before and after each use). You will see the difference almost instantly. Start scrapping from the back of the tongue forward before you brush your teeth morning and night.
In order to bring the body in balance, we cannot give it any excess qualities from foods or beverages. For example, if we drink very cold water, this can bring the digestive system out of balance by slowing down the digestive fire. If you drink very hot drinks but have a Pitta type dosha (fire) this will aggravate it. So having a glass of water at room temperature is just what the body needs. You can have a glass jar next to you on your desk or if you are on the go, a glass water bottle or a flask so that you always keep hydrated. Remember not to overdo it. Too much of anything creates an imbalance.
How often do you pay attention to your feet? Knowing that they work so hard throughout the day to take us places and keep us balanced, we must give some more importance to the feet. You can do this every night, or even once or twice a week and it’s best to do so at night just before you go to sleep. You can also use some essential oils in the water or Epsom salts, to relax the muscles and revitalise the feet. Soaking your feet in hot or warm water is also beneficial for the overall wellbeing of the skin on your feet, softening cracked and tired feet. But ultimately it helps relax the whole body, mind and soul. As the feet are connected with all channels of the body, nurturing your feet completely also does so for your entire self. Put some relaxing music in the background, close your eyes and just enjoy the process. Afterwards dry your feet with a towel, give them a little oil massage and put a pair of clean socks on. It just ads to the whole experience and it will leave your feet looking and feeling great and you will feel more relaxed overall.
This will be different for everybody. Some people need their 8 hours sleep to feel refreshed the next day, whilst others feel great after 6 hours. It’s important to understand what works for you and follow that. Learning more about your Ayurveda constitution can give you an insight into your sleeping patterns. The best time to sleep according to the Ayurveda science is just before or around 10pm, but even if you go an hour later, just be sure that you are prioritising this. Imagine how amazing your life would be if you felt revitalised and ready for your day every morning.
These are just some of the many daily wellness rituals which you can enjoy to create more balance for yourself physically, emotionally and mentally. There are so many others and you can learn more about your dosha and specific ones suited just for that. Sometimes even small habits can have such a big impact in our wellness and overall zest for life.