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5 Great Ayurvedic Practices

7 months ago / by Sweta Vikram

Find the balance and the bliss to make you a truly healthy person

Woman at the beach

Good health is more than just the absence of illness. The World Health Organization’s definition of health clarifies that health is not merely the absence of disease but also a state of complete physical, social, and mental well-being. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also endorses this definition of health.

In Ayurveda, the word swasthya is the Sanskrit term for health. The following is the transliteration of the original shloka (couplet of Sanskrit verse) in the Sushruta Samhita, a classical Ayurvedic text, with an English translation and commentary for understanding its meaning and implications on our journey towards true health.

Samadoşa samāgni ca sama dhātu malakriyah

Prasanna ātma indriya manah svastha iti abhidhīyate

One who is established in self, who has balanced doshas (primary life force), balanced agni (fire of digestion), properly formed dhatus (tissues), proper elimination of malas (waste products), well-functioning bodily processes, and whose mind, soul and senses are full of bliss is called a healthy person.

This shloka confirms that Ayurveda proposes a holistic vision of an individual including an essential aspect, the mind & the soul, which is often forgotten in today’s world.

Start Your Day With Warm Water

Did you know that Ayurvedic practice of drinking warm water has shown to impact digestion, relieve symptoms of gas and bloating, improve skin health, speed up metabolism, and promote weight loss? I don’t mean scalding hot water. We don’t want you to burn your mouth.

Research says that the appropriate temperature might be around a maximum of 120 degrees Fahrenheit but adjust it according to your tolerance. Sipping on warm water is the best lymph-moving rehydration technique. This is important because one of the most common causes of lymph congestion is dehydration. Drinking warm to hot water also improves circulation.

Meditate Daily

Meditation can literally change your brain. It can teach you to slow down, become less reactive, lower stress & anxiety, and feel more compassionate. Meditation can also reduce negative emotions and help us stay in the present moment. So much of our angst and frustrations stem from the inability to get detached from the past or stop to obsess about the future.

Meditation can make us more patient, tolerant, and empathetic. If you are a creative professional, you most certainly want to tap into meditation to enhance your imagination and creativity. If you are wondering where and how to start, I urge you to start with ten minutes of meditation daily. Sit with your spine straight and legs crossed. Focus on your breathing without manipulating it. Honestly, meditation is the easiest way to perform mental flossing and decluttering your brain as a result.

Change Your Relationship With Food

January and February can be overwhelming for a lot of people. Gym membership, detox diet, dry month, dessert free, gluten free, watch portions etc. etc.

Think about it… Why do we need to do a detox in the New Year? Why do so many people make reckless choices with food during the holiday season? Your mind and body don’t function differently just because it’s the end of the year. Why tax your agni, digestive fire? Why perform actions that will lead to ama, toxin, accumulation? Yes, parties and gatherings and alcohol and dessert are synonymous with celebrations. No one is saying don’t enjoy yourself. But you do have the choice to consume them mindfully. Instead of enabling a culture of bingeing and then depriving yourself and then returning to over-indulging.

Why not learn to love, respect, and cherish food instead of treating it as your emotional crutch? An Ayurvedic diet touches upon all the six tastes, prevents diseases, and promotes longevity. If you want that piece of chocolate and you don’t have a disease stopping you, eat a piece. Savor it and relish it. But you don’t need to eat the entire slab.

Redefine Your Understanding of Self-Care

At the start of the New Year, you will find a lot of content around self-care in the media. But I think there is also a lot of misunderstanding around the concept of self-care. Most of the information is focused on women. Regardless of gender, everyone needs time to decompress and take care of themselves. How often is self-care positioned as a physical experience of bubble baths or slathering lotion or getting your nails done?

True self-care needn’t take up too much time. True self-care shouldn’t be about spa days, manicure, chocolates, or Epsom salt soaks. It should be about building a life that you love and don’t need to disconnect from or take breaks from every now and then. Build pockets of slowing down, recharging, quieting the noise into your everyday life. Self-care can be simple, inclusive, and impactful.

Self-care doesn’t have to be a solitary activity. Building community, wanting the human connection, doing nature walks with loved ones, cooking a meal together can all be part of your self-care if that’s what relaxes and recharges you. Cooking at home is the sincerest form of self-care because you know exactly what you are eating and how it was cooked.

Spend Time Reflecting on Your Day

Every yoga and Ayurveda educator will ask you to carve out 10 minutes at the end of your day to sit in stillness and reflect on the day. Some people like to journal while others like to ponder. Pick what works for you. It’s an opportunity to pause, learn, grow, and shift perspective.

This can be beneficial as you plan your future goals and try to enhance your professional life. It’s even more helpful in your self-growth journey. How will we know good from bad or appreciate what’s working or decide what needs to change or understand our mistakes if you don’t make the time to pause for a few minutes and reflect?

Avoiding Risks

Most of our troubles in life stem from our inability to turn inward and shut down temporarily. Be it the monkey mind or the belief that there is a paucity of time … the excuses are innumerable for not taking a step back and reflecting on our behavior, beliefs, life, and motives.

When we don’t take the time to pause and reflect, the go-go behavior increases our chances of crashing and burning. We push through, we keep moving. We tend to remain stuck in depleting jobs, exhausting relationships, and circumstances that leave us feeling drained. Unless you pause and reflect on what’s not working, how can you identify what needs to stay and what needs to change.

Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos- the trees, the clouds, everything.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or health care professional. If you are looking for advice from a trained yogi and Ayurvedic coach, contact her here.