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Until a few years ago, I assumed Ayurveda was a vague and somewhat inaccessible science. But during the pandemic I started educating myself about Ayurvedic concepts that people have embraced for centuries. I was intrigued by the amazing health benefits you can derive from these changing your lifestyle. And so, I began adopting some of the Ayurvedic practices I was learning about. The results proved that I was on the right track.
For example, I started practicing Abhyanga. It’s a popular weekly ritual that involves massaging the body with coconut or sesame oil.
I always feel so rejuvenated after Abhyanga!
As the pandemic rolled on, I began incorporating a few simple practices into my daily and weekly routine. I’m glad I did. As I began to follow certain Ayurvedic concepts regularly, I found I was experiencing and enjoying better physical and mental health! It’s helping me lead a happy life even during challenging times!
Though I am a recent convert, Ayurvedic wisdom has played pivotal role in guiding the health practices of Indians for thousands of years,
Today, folks across the world are realizing and amplifying its power.
In February 2022, the WHO benchmarked criteria for Ayurvedic practices for its member states.
In March this year, the Indian government signed an agreement with the World Health Organization (WHO), to establish the WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine. The Center aims to “harness the potential of traditional medicine from across the world through modern science and technology to improve the health of people and the planet.”
Given this mainstream recognition for this traditional system of wellness, why don’t you try some practices?
Here are 6 Ayurveda concepts you could integrate into your daily life.
The Morning Ritual of Dinacharya
Dinacharya is beautiful morning ritual that promotes good health and positivity. It’s all about “me time”.
You begin by waking early in the morning, brushing your teeth and scraping your tongue. After a face wash and ablutions, drink some warm water, and then perform Abhyanga. Follow with a warm shower, exercise and meditation, before you begin your day. For some, “oil pulling” is also part of this practice.
Dinacharya really equips you with joy to face your day!
Detoxify Your Body
Food: Eat when you are hungry – that’s the cardinal rule in Ayurveda. It recommends that eating only two meals a day and avoiding snacks completely. Your food should be freshly cooked and contain lentils, beans and seasonal produce. Eat your first meal between 11 and 1 pm, and the next meal around sunset.
I practice the “Listen to your Body” concept from ancient Ayurveda and love eating seasonal fruits or a green smoothie for breakfast if I’m hungry.
Make sure to drink warm water throughout the day.
A word of warning! Ayurveda says combining fruits with dairy, or dairy with fish or meat, could cause problems such as bloating and constipation. I once made the mistake of drinking a banana and milk smoothie and vividly remember suffering from stomach upset afterwards.
Also, remember that minimizing your consumption of meats, fast foods, spicy and deep-fried items, sweets and frozen food will helps to keep diseases at bay. Even Western medicine is urging folks to reduce their meat intake in order to lower the risk of many diseases. Research has proved that it is possible to get all the nutrients you need from a well-planned, plant-based diet.
However, though it recommends a plant-based diet, Ayurveda is not against eating meat. Occasionally people can include moderate amounts of meat in their diet to promote optimal health.
Indian spices like coriander, tulsi, and turmeric are key ingredients that offer significant dietary benefits in the fight against chronic ailments. It makes sense to follow an Ayurvedic diet if you suffer from conditions like diabetes, arthritis, and obesity.
One key behavioral change to consider is Fasting. Fasting once a week helps to detoxify the body. Interestingly, Ayurvedic doctors prescribe fasting to fuel the fight against diseases like diabetes, for example. In fact, fasting was common in ancient India and colonial America. Today, intermittent fasting is a popular practice across the world. Science has proved that fasting helps to increase immunity and prevent cancer.
Sleep Stress-Free Every Night!
Sleep, food and Bhramacharya (a disciplined lifestyle) are the three pillars of good health. Ayurveda suggests that you sleep at 10 p.m. and avoid taking an afternoon nap. An Ayurvedic text says, “Good sleep gives happiness, nourishment, strength, virility, knowledge and life.” When I don’t sleep properly I feel tired, overwhelmed and stressed. It used to trigger a vicious cycle of constant worry and binging on unhealthy food that affected my health. Ever since I began Ayurveda, I’ve begun to take a more rational approach towards problem solving and I sleep stress-free every night!
Leading A Disciplined Lifestyle
Bhramacharya (Disciplined Lifestyle). I used to be like a kid in a candy store with social media. I loved watching the fun and creativity of YouTube and social media posts. They engaged my senses but actually ended up making me overwhelmed and tired. I had to make some changes to my viewing habits and Ayurveda helped with that.
Now I make it a point not to watch YouTube for more than thirty minutes. I don’t have dinner unless I first exercise for 30 minutes Mindfulness and moderation in everything has really helped me lead a more disciplined life. When our senses control us, we become tired and stressed. Ayurveda prescribes Pratyahara – where we control our senses. That’s exactly why psychologists suggest a ‘withdrawal’ or a ‘fast’ from social media and electronics for better mental health!
Negativity Feeds Your Body Junk
In Ayurveda, physical health is deeply intertwined with mental attitude. Negative emotions such as anger, jealousy and egotism create stress creates toxins (Ama) in the body. In short, the presence of negative emotions is like feeding junk food to your body. Even modern science has proved that stress can cause high blood pressure and heart attacks.
I’ve learned from Ayurvedic texts that you can get rid of stress by replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. When life embraces noble virtues, such as forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, endurance, empathy, and tolerance – negativity disappears.
Now I practice meditation, pranayama (breathing techniques), music, exercise, and yoga to help me elevate my mind towards positivity.
I find joy in volunteering, singing and gardening. I shop only when absolutely necessary and feel good when I recycle and reuse.
These days, leading a simple life has really helped me lead stress-free life.
Yoga & Ayurveda Share Vedic Roots
Yoga. Ayurveda and Yoga share roots in the Vedic principles of wellness. They go hand in hand. Yoga helps to harmonize our mind, body and soul, while Ayurveda nurtures our physical and mental states.
Together the two disciplines integrate to rejuvenate the holistic wellbeing of the individual.
An ancient Ayurveda text says, “Those who speak the Truth and nothing but the Truth, those who become never angry, those who lead a pure life and those who are always serene, are all considered to be rejuvenated daily.
Transforming my lifestyle has certainly have done that for me. I feel so good that Ayurveda is helping me to be healthy and happy always!
Disclaimer: This information is for informational purposes only. Please consult with a qualified health care provider for advice.