If you’ve been practicing yoga long enough, you’ve probably heard of Ayurveda.
Your yoga studio might offer classes in Ayurvedic medicine and massage, and your teachers may incorporate a little bit of Aayurveda into your normal yoga class.
Ayurveda is a traditional Hindu system of medicine, which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems. It uses diet, herbal treatments and yogic breathing to leave you feeling young, energised and beautiful.
Like your chakras, Ayurveda teaches there are three essential energies in your body. These energies are known as “doshas.” Doshas are the energies that make up every individual which perform different physiological functions in the body.
By aligning your doshas, you will feel more creative, full of vitality and intelligent.
If you’re interested in deepening your yoga practice, you can start by incorporating basicAyurveda rituals into your daily routine.
Before you take a sip of water, Ayurvedic teachings say you should scrape away any white coating on your tongue. Ayurvedic practitioners believe this coating is a sign of undigested toxins lurking in the digestive tract. The scraper allows you to avoid ingesting these toxins, so you begin the day with a fresh palate.
I use a metal scraper daily while brushing my teeth, as it leaves my mouth feeling fresh and ready to take on the day. You can buy a plastic or metal tongue scraper online or in most health shops. In a pinch, a metal spoon can take the space of a tongue scraper.
In Ayurveda, our digestive ability is considered to be the number one indicator of overall health. When you feel sluggish, stressed or “stuck,” your digestion might be poor and very slow.
If you feel mental fogginess, it might be a sign that you’re unable to digest or eliminate your food properly.
As every yogi knows, our minds and bodies are intimately linked. We have to be able to let go of stories, mindsets, and food that no longer serves us to stay aligned and balanced.
Drinking warm water soon after waking up is a great way to stimulate your digestive ability. Add some lemon juice, and you’ll be providing your gut with a helpful boost to enhance your body’s process of elimination.
You know those men and women who naturally glow? Drinking warm, lemon infused water in the morning will help make you one of those people.
Having an effective digestive system helps build a healthier body and mind. If you start doing this basic activity on a daily basis, you will start to see a difference in your digestive ability over time.
Oil and oil massages are a big part of Ayurveda. The word “sneha” in Sanskrit means both “oil” and “love.” Giving yourself an oil massage is a great way to cultivate self love and body acceptance.
Self-massage is a special wellness ritual you can do 2-3 times a week. According the Chopra Wellness Center, “when stimulated through therapeutic touch or massage, the skin releases a pharmacy of healing chemicals that have health-promoting effects on the physiology. In addition to feeling good, regular massage and loving touch detoxifies the body’s tissues, increases circulation, calms the mind, and enhances immune function.”
There are many benefits to an oil massage including increased softness and vibrancy of the skin, reduced anxiety and depression, and improved vision.
Brushing your skin with a dry brush 2-3 times a week is a great Ayurveda ritual you can start today.
Buy a long-handled brush with dry bristles to begin your ritual. First thing in the morning, take the brush and move it in circular motions over the skin, starting with your feet and ending at your neck. After your dry brushing routine, make sure to take a shower and coat your skin in a moisturising oil like coconut oil.
The circular motions of the brush stimulate the skin’s nerve endings and increase circulation through your blood vessels. Increasing the blood flow to your skin can help with cellulite and removing toxins from your skin.
Dry brushing also helps to stimulate lymphatic drainage, which releases toxins and helps the body run more effectively. It also helps with muscle tone and gives you a more even distribution of fat deposits.
I love to dry brush first thing in the morning, after my tongue scraping and lemon water. It feels like I’m setting up a perfect day!
Ayurveda focuses on maintaining the balance between all your energies and doshas. For this reason, Ayurveda practitioners suggest that for one day every month, you fast completely. On fast day, you only consume a liquid diet and avoid solid food. Ayurveda has promoted the benefits of a fast day for thousands of years.
Intermittent fasting is like a reset button for your digestive track. Your metabolism starts off with a clean slate after a liquid diet day. This helps balance your “agni”, which is the harmony between your digestion and metabolism.
A fast once per month is an easy way to cleanse your body from the inside out, and helps with a whole host of health issues. It promotes weight loss, improved blood pressure, improved insulin resistance, and reduces your total cholesterol.
You should consider adding a monthly fast day into your calendar. Your body will thank you!
These five Ayurveda rituals will help you become a better yogi from the inside out. You’ll notice your skin glowing, less bloating and weight loss, which will make hitting those asanas easier and more graceful. An understanding of the basic rituals of Ayurveda help you to get in touch with the deeper principles of a yoga-infused lifestyle.
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