Leading an Ayurvedic lifestyle may seem daunting when you first start learning about the healing system. The ancient traditions and daily practices may be at odds with your current lifestyle or difficult to implement due to factors like family or career. The good news is however that leading an Ayurvedic lifestyle doesn’t have to be an ‘all or nothing’ approach tied up in complex rituals or complicated daily routines. Implementing small, positive changes that are drawn from the core of Ayurvedic teachings can help boost your health and happiness immensely and can be built upon as you learn more about yourself and Ayurvedic practices. The Ayurvedic lifestyle is focused upon a number of core practices. These include the following:
- Meditation – Many people are intimidated by the idea of meditating and refrain from giving it a go due to fear of somehow ‘getting it wrong’. Learning to meditate is an entirely individual process and with the amazing amount of resources available today, simple to learn. The benefits are innumerable and people of all ages, body types and health levels can enjoy it. Try setting aside 15-30 minutes a day to sit down and practice. You’ll find yourself improving every session.
- Eat freshly and mindfully – Enjoying a fresh, whole foods and vegetarian based diet is an important part of the health equation. Equally as important however is enjoying those foods mindfully, that is, being aware of what you’re eating and appreciating it. In Ayurveda, eating mindfully amounts to better digestion which means less toxins and/or build up within the body. Try and eat your meals away from the TV/computer/your phone and enjoy with family when and where you can.
- Become familiar with your dosha – Your dosha or body type helps guide you in the choices you make around food, exercise, rest, even the kind of hobbies or relaxation activities you may enjoy. By finding out what your dosha is, you are better able to adapt your daily routine to keep it balanced and your body in a state of wellness and vitality. You can find out more about your dosha here
- Prioritise sleep – Sleep is an important principle in Ayurveda as it allows the body to rest and restore. Many of us don’t see sleep as being of particular importance and end up adapting a routine that is not conducive to deep, rejuvenating rest. Implementing a nightly ‘wind down’ routine, away from technological devices, making bedtime around the 9-10pm mark and waking up at the same time each day helps to recalibrate your body clock for the better.
- Massage – Therapeutic massage is one of the cornerstones of Ayurveda and an Ayurvedic lifestyle. The benefits of regular massage is well documented and linked to a range of positive changes to the mind and body. While trying to schedule a professional treatment monthly is ideal, daily self-massage can be implemented to reap all the benefits, without the need to leave the house. Making massage part of your daily routine helps improve circulation, nourishes the skin and awakens your inner healing resources. It’s also incredibly soothing for the mind and has a calming effect on stress. Most people find it easiest to focus their massage on the head/face and neck. You can find out more about self-massage along with an easy to follow sequence, here.
- Exercise – Including an enjoyable form of exercise in your day is an important part of maintaining your health and fitness. Find something that works for you (and your dosha) and try and include 30-45 minutes most days. On days when specific exercise is a struggle, try stretching your legs with a 20 minute walk, even better if you can do it first thing in the morning to help wake you up.
- Include natural healers in your day – Healing foods like fresh herbs and spices, organic raw honey and even fresh, warm milk are all easily slotted into your day and can give your health an instant boost. Turmeric, ginger and cinnamon are all high in anti-inflammatory properties and simple to add to your cooking. Raw honey can be added to hot drinks, salad dressings or even taken straight and is packed with anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties.