Ayurvedic medicine is one of the oldest holistic living practices in the world and dates as far back as 5000 years. While it originated from the Indian subcontinent, the practice has since spread across the globe. Unlike most diets today, Ayurveda is not just a passing trend, but a lifestyle.
The concept of Ayurveda is simple; finding balance across body, mind, and spirit alike. It ensures your body’s most essential requirements are met, while still keeping you in tune with your immediate environment. While modern medicine focuses on treating illnesses, Ayurveda uses ancient knowledge and practices to cleanse and heal the body from the inside out. In other words, Ayurveda adheres to the old adage, ‘Prevention is better than cure.’
Even if you believe you do not know much about Ayurvedic practices, you’ll be surprised to find that you’re in fact practicing some of them on a regular basis. Drinking warm water with lemon first thing in the morning, practicing yoga and meditation, etc, all happen to be Ayurvedic practices. Listed below are some basic Ayurvedic practices you should adopt to improve your overall health and increase the longevity of your life
Although staying in bed all morning is tempting, Ayurvedic practices postulate that waking up about 90 minutes before sunrise is most ideal for your physical and mental health. This is because of two reasons. Firstly, Ayurveda strives to align our body’s rhythm with the sun’s cycle, so waking up with the sun is believed to be the ideal way to start your day. Secondly, it is stated that our brain is most active in the mornings, so that is when meditation would be most effective.
Drinking warm water first thing in the morning
While the importance of water for the body is common knowledge, the need to drink warm rather than cold water is emphasized in Ayurveda. Ayurvedic teaching postulate that we start off our day with a glass of warm water as it aids in digestion and prevents a lot of other digestive issues in the body. Additionally, adding lemon, honey and ginger to the water further helps in detoxifying the body and flushing out all the toxins owing to their antibacterial properties.
Mediation includes all activities ranging from breathing exercises to yoga. Deep, diaphragmatic breathing with forceful exhalations is a fundamental tool of meditation and increases oxygen intake, improves the functioning of internal organs, stimulates metabolism, and promotes digestive functions. Meditation is known to bring a sense of peace and calm to the mind and improve overall health and well being.
Maintaining oral hygiene
Ayurveda talks about two primary practices of oral hygiene; tongue scraping and oil pulling. Tongue scraping involves scraping off accumulated toxic residue from the tongue by meas of a tongue scraper. Oil pulling involves gargling and swirling around a sip of coconut oil in your mouth for a few minutes. Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties that pull out toxins and plaque from the mouth and allows for better clarity of flavour in foods as well.
Massaging your body with warm, organic oils like coconut or sesame is not only very relaxing but also lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, stimulates the lymphatic system and increases muscle tonage. Additionally, it also leaves skin feeling soft and hydrated.
Circular movements should be used around the joints and long strokes should be made on the longer body parts. Extra attention should be given to areas with nerve endings like the hands, feet and scalp.
Eating lunch like a king
A proper functioning digestive system is one of the primary goals of Ayurveda. Ayurvedic teachings say that lunch should be the largest meal of the day because our digestive functions peak at noon when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. Sticking to an Ayurvedic diet helps us sync our bodies with the circadian rhythm.
Taking your time to eat
Ayurveda also teaches us that what we eat is just as important as how and when we eat. Eating in silence, without distractions, and taking the time to chew our food properly is encouraged. Additionally, it is recommended to take deep breaths between bites to give your body time to process what you’re eating. Furthermore, it is suggested that you not eat when you are stressed or preoccupied with negative emotions as this increases the likelihood of you making poor diet choices.
Engaging in some form of physical exercise is highly recommended. Exercising increases your cardiovascular health, stamina, improves blood circulation, builds muscle tone and also does wonders for your mental health and state of mind.
Moderate exercises like jogging, walking etc. are preferred to intensive sweat sessions. The key is to be regular and committed to an exercise regimen that works for your body.
It’s important to remember that there’s no one-fits-all approach to Ayurveda and to recognize your bio individuality when it comes to holistic living.
If you are trying to better your daily routine and enhance your overall health and well-being, the above-mentioned practices will surely prove useful to you.