EASY WAYS TO INCORPORATE AYURVEDA
More than ever with our continued growing focus on health and building our natural defenses, the word Ayurveda keeps popping up. Ayurveda for me was something that I have constantly been surrounded by. Embedded in my daily life, its benefits were not something I contemplated about much, it was a way of life for me. It is also my heritage. I grew up with putting oil in my hair, eating ghee in my rice, oiling up my body every day, and at the first signs of a cold coming, chicory and black pepper were boiled to boost my immune system and rid the cold.
Recently, many have reached out to learn more about Ayurveda and I thought it would be helpful to share some time-tested practices I was raised with that continues to be valuable.
WHAT IS AYURVEDA?
Ayurveda is derived from the Sanskrit words ayur (life) and veda (science or knowledge). Thus, Ayurveda translates to knowledge of life. One of the oldest systems of health care and healing, Ayurveda originated in India thousands of years ago. This botanical form of holistic medicine looks at the body as a whole and assesses the underlying roots of maintaining health and balance to the body. Factors such as environmental stressors, diet, exercise regimen, your body’s composition, daily stress factors, and personality all play a part in your overall health. Learning to identify the underlying symptoms and adjusting accordingly is what strengthens your immune system and allows for an energetic lifestyle that keeps diseases at bay.
HOW TO INCORPORATE IT?
Ayurveda is a very comprehensive system of medicine and is not something you can incorporate all at once. Whatever you adapt, it will be beneficial. I came up with a few easy ways to incorporate Ayurveda into your daily life.
DRINK WATER WITH CUMIN
Drink water with cumin or also known as Jeera, throughout the day. In Kerala, most restaurants or homes always boil water with cumin seed because of its array of benefits. To this day, my father always has a pot going of cumin water. Most drink it hot or lukewarm. Packed with antioxidants, it helps to reduce weight, remove harmful free-radicals from the body, improve digestion and is good for your skin. Boil a few seeds of cumin in water and let it cool. Drinking two to three cups a day is all you need.
Growing up I was surrounded with fresh veggies, colorful spices, whole grains and fruits that were integrated into every meal. It was satisfying and delicious and never made me feel lethargic. You can eat a bag of cookies but it is hard to overeat veggies. Eating a diet that is colorful, flavorful and nourishing can make all the difference. Ideal nutrition comes from consuming a variety of fresh foods that are in season and is eaten with awareness. Ayurveda believes that each meal should incorporate six tastes — Sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, astringent. The result is that you will feel more satisfied and your urge to overeat will diminish.
I am a person who does not particularly enjoy sitting still. Meditation was not an easy task for me to start, but once I got into the routine it is something my body values and mind craves. It has improved my energy levels, my focus, my mood and my ability to tackle goals. It has also taught me how to listen to my body and be aware. Ayurveda believes in the mind body connection, your mental health plays a vital role in the health of your body. Meditation helps to ease anxiety, reduce levels of cortisol, support healthier weight, improve focus and restful sleep. Which is why it is important to take a few moments to meditate. Start with just 10 minutes a day either in the morning or evening focusing on your breath. You may find it hard in the beginning because there are thoughts that flood through your brain; “What should you eat for lunch, who you forgot to respond to, that email you need to write, etc…”. Let your thoughts transpire, but the key is to release and not ponder over them.
Abhyanga, or self-massage is something that has always played a huge role in my life. My mother used to massage me as a baby (I have home videos to prove it!) and later she would massage my sister’s and my scalp with oil weekly. Daily, I would massage oil into my body from head to toe before taking a shower and it would leave me invigorated. Massage for most of us is considered a treat or indulgence, but in India it is a necessity for health. From the moment you are born, throughout your daily life, massage is given much importance. Your scalp, your body, your feet, your face, all can benefit from massage. Scalp massage helps to stimulate hair growth, balances the nervous system, increases focus and reduces headaches/migraines. Body massage helps to release toxins, increase lymphatic flow, and strengthen the muscles. Feet massage helps for restful sleep, calms the mind, and increase circulation. Face Massage increases cellular regeneration, helps prevent premature aging and keeps the complexion firm. Each provides benefits in their own right.
Get your body moving. It doesn’t have to be something extreme, even taking a walk daily can greatly improve your mood, release stagnant energy and help with anxiety. Yoga, the sister science to Ayurveda, is ideal because it helps on many levels. It can help prevent over eating, strengthen the body without being strenuous, and reduce hypertension and anxiety. Yoga also works the muscles to relieve tension, tone the skin, improve circulation and stimulate lymphatic flow.
I can go on forever, but it is a lot to take in and we barely scratched the surface. The benefits of adding these routines will help with increased energy levels, vibrant skin, eyes that look bright and fresh, strengthen your digestive power and an overall feeling of your mind at ease. Hopefully, these are some easy to incorporate routines to begin with. If you would like to hear more about any specific topic, feel free to let me know. It always helps to understand and create content that may be useful for you.
Love + Light ,