by Anisha Durve
The wellness movement is gathering momentum as we all strive to look for new ways to stay in balance and be healthy. The busier we get, the more hectic life becomes and the more we constantly juggle our priorities on a day-to-day basis. Why look for new strategies when Ayurveda offers simple yet profound time-tested strategies to stay in balance.
For those new to Ayurveda, it is the ancient science of holistic healing which originated in India more than 5,000 years ago, and is also known as the sister science of yoga. Its depth and sophistication of understanding the human body, mind and spirit are unparalleled. The wisdom of this ancient tradition runs deep. Here are five simple Ayurvedic wellness rituals to transform your life.
1. Synchronize your body. Harmonizing with the natural rhythms of the day and night allows the body to function with more ease. Waking at least 30 minutes before dawn is the best time to rejuvenate the body and mind, have a spiritual practice and eliminate fatigue from the body. This time period is known as Brahma muhurta or time of awareness. Being alert at this time creates clarity in the mind, awakens spiritual energy and establishes one’s rhythm for the day. Greeting the day by watching the sun rise is a wonderful practice for feeling nourished by its divine rays.
2. Synchronize your mind. Establishing a spiritual practice during these early morning hours, whether it is five minutes or longer, allows the body and mind to “reset” from the stress and fatigue of the previous day. It clears the mind and allows one to feel centered. Stress accumulates daily and it is important to also find ways to release it from the system on a daily basis. Practicing mindfulness and learning a simple meditation technique can go a long way. Not sure where to start? Simply gazing at a candle flame for five minutes a day can bring silence and stillness into your being. Yoga nidra, an eight-step guided meditation technique, systematically creates relaxation in the physical body and mind and requires no effort to practice. Writing in a journal or reading an inspiring poem or literature of spiritual teachings can also be a spiritual practice that clears the mind.
3. Synchronize your spirit. Meditation works to benefit the mind and also the spirit. Yoga, Ayurveda’s sister science, has eight limbs that go into depth to penetrate not just the physical body or mind, but also profoundly the spiritual. Pranayama is often translated as breathing practice but it means cultivating vitality. By consciously enhancing the flow of this life force within, abundant vitality becomes the source of spiritual awakening. A centered breathing practice can create a nourishing stillness within that refreshes the senses, destroys negative thinking patterns and re-energizes the entire system. A mindful yoga sequence that develops awareness physically, mentally and emotionally can be deeply balancing.
4. Synchronize your digestion. Regular mealtimes allow for optimal function of the digestive system, maximum absorption of nutrients and smooth metabolism. Sporadic meals throughout the day disturb digestive energy, cause irregular metabolism, create toxins in the system and lead to a multitude of digestive symptoms that, left untreated, can affect other systems in the body. Ayurveda believes in three regular meals/day that should be at the same time daily. Breakfast is optimal between 7 and 9 am when the energy of the stomach organ is best. Lunch should be between noon and 1 pm, but ideally at noon when the sun is at its peak because our digestive energy is also at its peak at this time. This is why lunch should be the biggest meal of the day. Dinner should be between 6 and 8 pm and not much later than the sunset because the digestive energy also wanes as it gets dark outside. Eating late at night will impair digestive energy and lead to prolonged digestive symptoms. Snacking is permitted but even snack times should be set for the same time daily. Practice this disciplined timing for one to two weeks consistently and you will notice the difference in your digestive energy.
5. Synchronize your sleep. Bedtime rituals are emphasized in Ayurveda as critical to regulate energy, ensure rest and establish harmony with the rhythms of day and night. The consistency of sleeping at the same time each night trains the body and mind when to rest. An erratic sleeping pattern creates disturbance in the mind and is a key factor leading to insomnia. Going to bed by 10 p.m. or earlier minimizes this mental fluctuation. Pushing oneself to keep going until midnight or later will lead to insomnia, interrupted or restless sleep and a feeling of being unrefreshed in the morning. Proper rest is an important pillar of health that should be prioritized.
Ayurveda believes in a personalized approach to medicine and working with each individual to determine how to establish this rhythm in their life with practical, simple suggestions that are appropriate to their lifestyle. Seek out a consultation from a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner today.
Anisha Durve is an Ayurvedic practitioner, doctor of Oriental medicine and Ayurveda yoga and meditation instructor with more than 16 years’ experience. With her guru, Dr. Vasant Lad, she co-authored Marma Points of Ayurveda. She is available for consults at Thermae Retreat, 604 S. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale. For more information and to make an appointment, call 954.604.7930 or visit Anisha.Guru.