As more people embrace a holistic approach to a healthy, conscious lifestyle, it’s no surprise that ancient Ayurvedic practices are finding their way into our modern lives. Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine that originated in India over 5000 years ago, translating to “the science of life.” Although Ayurveda is dynamic and complex, you don’t have to know everything about it to reap the benefits. There are many simple practices you can incorporate into your daily routine that can support your physical, mental and spiritual health.
Five Simple Ayurvedic Practices to Incorporate into Your Life
- Seasonal Cleansing
Eating seasonally to gently eliminate toxins is a wonderful way to strengthen digestion. For example, many foods that come into season in the Spring are naturally cleansing – often astringent or bitter – think asparagus or leafy greens. Try a gentle cleansing diet of lighter, seasonal foods for a week to assist the body’s natural process of removing any accumulated toxins that can impede your body’s ability to cope with stressors. For your week of lighter eating, choose easy to digest foods such as cooked, lightly-spiced organic vegetables, whole grains and soups.
- Dry Brushing
Try this before your next shower – take a few minutes with a natural bristle brush and gently brush your skin in overlapping circles, working your way towards your heart, starting with one leg, then one arm at a time. This invigorating practice not only exfoliates, leaving you with softer skin, it also has the benefit of detoxing by increasing blood circulation and promoting lymph drainage. Take care not to brush over any irritated or broken skin and use only enough pressure as is comfortable and brush only as often as feels good to your body, generally 2-5 times per week.
- Drink Tulsi Tea
Consider incorporating functional herbal teas into your daily routine and enjoy benefits beyond taste. Ayurvedic adaptogens like Tulsi, commonly known as Holy Basil, offer benefits such as stress-relief, immune and respiratory support. Adaptogens including Tulsi and Ashwagandha help the body to adapt to physical, mental and environmental stress, something we could all use on a daily basis! For an added bonus, take a few deep breaths while you brew and think of three things you’re grateful for.
- Spice It Up
There’s a saying that goes, it’s not what you eat, it’s what you digest. Agni, or digestive fire, is the cornerstone of Ayurveda. Lean on the ancient wisdom of plant-based medicine by adding Ayurvedic spices for flavor and nourishment to your meals. Ginger, well known for its stomach soothing qualities, is a spicy, warming herb that helps to stoke the digestive fire and assimilate nutrients. Try sprinkling Turmeric into your food to take advantage of this “pharmacy in an herb.” Enjoy the delicate, mildly sweet flavor of Ceylon Cinnamon, considered “true cinnamon,” and reap the benefits of its antioxidant value along with supporting healthy blood sugar levels.
- Meditation for the Mind
Ayurveda and Yoga are sister sciences. Meditation is the timeless practice of staying present that over time, helps to settle the mind and clarify thoughts. It is thought to clear the Ama, or undigested energies, of the mind and spirit, from which the body springs forth. While meditation is simple in concept, if you have ever tried it, you know it’s not always easy in practice. Set yourself up for success by starting small. Aim for 1-5 minutes and add on one minute a day from there. A little effort can make a big impact!
The vivid uncertainties of the world have had an impact on us mentally and physically. It’s important to put energy into taking care of ourselves so that we can show up in a healthy, conscious way that makes the world a better place. By incorporating a few simple Ayurvedic practices into your life, you can help to promote physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
About the Author:
Kat Wiranowski is Organic India‘s USA’s Director of Brand & Retail Marketing. She is an outdoor enthusiast, wellness advocate and an avid Tulsi tea drinker. Organic India is a company founded by yogis!
(Article reprinted from LA Yoga magazine)