At times, establishing and maintaining optimal wellness can seem overwhelming. A holistic approach to creating a balanced mind, body and Spirit requires attention to your diet, physical activity, mental health, job satisfaction, sleep routine, self-care and relationships. Whew! No wonder it seems overwhelming. Ayurveda offers a number of practices that are simple and effective in keeping you balanced mind, body and Spirit. Don’t worry about dosha tests and food lists—these bigger picture nuggets of Ayurvedic wisdom are perfect for getting you started on your health revolution but for now, tune into these more general guidelines below and you will be well on your way to establishing your vibrant wellness!
Tune Into the Rhythm of Nature – One of the main principles of Ayurveda is that you are a reflection of nature and an integral part of the natural world will live in. All living things—including us—are made of the five great elements (Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether), and the balance of these elements in you is reflected in your relationship with that natural order of things. When you tune into nature’s rhythm your body will thrive. What are some simple ways to align with nature’s rhythm? Eat seasonal foods, wake with the sun, spend time outdoors and walk bare foot on the earth.
Make Lunch Your Biggest Meal – How did we get into this routine of having a light lunch or just a salad for lunch and then eating a massive dinner? According to Ayurveda, different times of day correspond to the five elements and the three energies they are related to. Pitta (fire/water) is the energy related to our digestive fire (agni) and is at its height around mid-day from 10 am – 2 pm. It’s optimal to eat our biggest meal during this time when your digestive fire is at its peak. Also if you think about when you need your most calories and energy for your day for most of us it’s from around 11 am – 6 pm not at dinner time, which is usually between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. This time period is kapha time (earth/water), and is when our digestion slows down as the body prepares for sleep. By eating a big, nourishing meal at lunch, your body will burn the food more effectively, sustain you throughout your day and keep you from overeating at dinner.
Breathe Deep – Ever watch a baby breathe? Babies take full deep breaths into their bellies and don’t often breathe through their mouths unless they are stressed or have a snotty nose. Mouth breathing has been called “a stress response” because it’s shallow and doesn’t allow you to fully connect to the depth of the breath. Nose breathing, on the other hand, produces a full, deep breath which triggers the calming response of our parasympathetic nervous system. Take time out of your day to notice how you breathe. Is it deep, full and easy or shallow, stressed and difficult? Spend a few minutes each day breathing deep into your belly and allowing the breath to expand fully and nourish your body. This simple practice is especially helpful in stressful situations, first thing in the morning and just before bed.
Ayurveda is a vast system of healing and self-discovery. Start with these three simple big picture principles and you will be well on your way to living and Ayurvedic lifestyle that supports your whole health – mind, body and Spirit.
Wishing You Vibrant Wellness