I am heading to Costa Rica at the end of the week for a yoga retreat and I am stoked! I have led international teacher trainings and retreats but never gone on one myself. I was feeling some guilt about taking a week off but the truth is this break couldn’t come at a better time. I’ve been tired lately. I can feel the deep fatigue setting in from a few months of added stress and from pushing too hard. I’ve been dipping into my reserves and its time to fill up.
Everyone experiences fatigue – this is a natural response to stress and the demands of daily life. But for many people in our culture, the “norm” has become pushing through the body’s signals for rest and exhausting our energy reserves or worse relying on caffeine and sugar for a pick-me-up. In the short-term this cycle may stimulate surges of energy, but in the process, deeply exhausts the body and as a result millions of Americans complain of feeling chronically tired.
Fatigue is a complex issue. From an Ayurvedic perspective, fatigue is a result of lack of vital energy or the mismanagement of Prana. According to Ayurveda, in order to free the circulation of vital energy and build reserves, you have to identify the patterns of behavior that are causing fatigue. If you are running on fumes its essential to become aware of the connection between your diet and lifestyle choices and your sense of vitality. Too many late nights? Starting the day with several cups of coffee and indulging in an afternoon coffee and cookie? Work, work, work and no real rest? All of the above? Once the cause of the energy debt is understood here are some steps you can take to rebuild your stamina.
Eat for Energy – A main cause of fatigue is poor eating habits. Skipping meals, snacking and eating too frequently all tax digestion and as a result deplete our energy. Stop drinking caffeine and cut out processed foods loaded with sugar. Choose foods that are easy to digest. Load up on dark leafy greens, root veggies, seeds, and healthy fats.
Learn to Burn Fat – There are two main sources of fuel in the body, sugar and fat. Fat is the body’s preferred energy source but sadly many people have lost their ability to burn fat because the standard American diet is loaded with sugar. Too often we reach for quick fuel (sugar/carbs) rather than utilize fat stores which provide more efficient and long-lasting energy, compared to sugar which is quickly depleted. One simple way to get yourself on a fat burning cycle is to eat an earlier lighter supper and honor an evening fast of at least 12 hrs. So if you eat dinner by 6 pm you don’t eat anything again until 6am.
Build Ojas – Ojas is best translated as “vitality.” It is the most refined aspect of digestion and one of the vital essences in the body. It is deeply tied to our immune function and promotes and sustains our physical vitality, mental clarity, stable mood and overall health. For more on Ojas click here.
If you are running on fumes take a look at your habits and begin to align with a healthy rhythm. Fight fatigue by ensuring your lifestyle and diet choices are aligned with sustaining rather than depleting practices.
Wishing you Vibrant Living,