Ayurveda is the traditional Hindu system of holistic medicine and is actually the oldest known healing system. Ayurveda focuses on balancing the body’s system through diet, herbs, self-care, and preventative care. Ayurveda and yoga share the same Vedic roots and are considered sister sciences. While they offer different paths, they both provide self-understanding, consciousness, and living in harmony with the laws of the Universe.
According to Ayurveda, everything in the Universe is made up of qualities from the five elements: earth, fire, water, air, and space. These elements are present in all of us, but in different amounts and this makes up our dosha (or body constitution) and is expressed through our mental, physical, and emotional features. So while all three doshas exist in everyone, usually one or two dominate. What Ayurveda teaches is how to make choices that are ideal for your state of well-being based off of your dosha, and also to recognize when a dosha may be out of balance.
Here are the three doshas:
- Kapha (water + earth qualities)- Calm temperament
- Vata (air + space qualities)- Quick thinking
- Pitta (fire + water qualities)- Fiery personality
If Ayurveda interests you, why not start by incorporating a few of these traditional Ayurveda self-care practices into your own wellness routine?
You can find a tongue scraper at your local health market. Every morning as soon as you rise and ideally on an empty stomach, go into the bathroom and scrape your tongue 7 to 10 times. Starting in the back, working your way forward to get the unwanted coating off of it; then rinsing it off in the sink before scraping again. Tongue scraping helps get rid of toxins and bacteria that build up on the tongue, removes the coating that leads to bad breath, is great for overall oral and digestive health, increases your taste, and stimulates your internal organs.
Rinsing your eyes
You probably haven’t thought to do this before, right? To wash eyes, first make sure you aren’t wearing any eye make-up. Then fill an eye cup halfway full with quality organic rose water, then the rest with warm water. Bend over and press the cups in your eye sockets, with eyes closed. Then lift your head upward as you tilt your head back. Once tilted back, open your eyes and have the water soak in your eyes for a few moments, blinking a few times. This is nourishing to your eyes as it is antibacterial, it is also stress relieving, and reduces fatigue. After trying this first at YTT, I was amazed at how energized it made me feel!
Known as Abyanga, giving yourself a daily self-message can restore balance of the doshas, and enhance your well-being. It is also a great time to check in with yourself and connect to your body mindfully.
To start, you want to use an oil that is beneficial to your specific dosha: Vata (seasame or almond oil), Pitta (coconut oil), or kapha (almond oil). Make sure you get a quality organic oil to use. Warm the oil (about ¼ to 1/2 cup) and while undressed, apply oil on the crown of your head, slowing working down from there in circular strokes on your head and face (if you choose). Then focus on the rest of your body stroking upwards toward the heart, and starting at your feet.You may want to spend some extra time on your feet, or any area you feel can use it.
Keep the oil on for 5 to 15 minutes, so it can be absorbed, then take a warm bath or shower. Massage yourself with love and patience for 15 to 20 minutes daily, or as often as possible. This nourishes the entire body, lubricates the joints, increases circulation, stimulates the internal organs, stimulates the lymph which helps detox toxins, calms the nerves, keeps the skin nourished, and can aid in better sleep.
Neti pot for clearing colds and sinus issues
Pour 8 oz. of filtered water in a neti pot with ½ tsp of sea salt. Standing over a sink, place the spout in one nostril and tip your head back and gently over to the opposite side allowing the solution to run into your nostril and out the other nostril. Doing this daily or weekly supports a healthy upper respiratory system, removes excess mucous, relieves dryness in nasals, gets rid of dust and other environmental irritations, and clears your head.
Self-care rituals in general are a great time to destress and check in with yourself. By adding these ancient practices to your daily routine, you can boost your overall well-being and health and open yourself up to this ancient wisdom that had been practiced for thousands of years.
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