Learn about some simple yet effective ways to bring the beautiful philosophy of Ayurveda into your life!
~ Ayurveda Tip of the Week ~
Tip # 3 ~ Yoga Practice I hear it all the time, “I ‘m not flexible. I can’t do yoga.”
The truth is, you’re inflexible because you don’t do yoga. (this applies to the mind as well, by the way) Yoga is literally for every body. Because the essence of yoga is union ~ of body, mind, heart and spirit, the practice of it, no matter how quiet or rigorous, is about bringing more awareness to every aspect of your Being. It’s not important that you can twist your body into a pretzel – most people can’t – even yoga teachers. What’s important is that you spend some time each day on your mat to be present with your body, mind, and spirit. That is, really feeling your body & the messages it is sending you, the state of your mind and emotions, and connecting to your soul – that aspect of you that is perfect just as it is.
Commit to at least 10-15 minutes of gentle stretching and breathing each day and feel the difference it will make in your strength, flexibility, and balance. This translates to strength, flexibility, balance in your life. Commit to trying it for a month – take a class, buy a book, watch a video, Google “gentle yoga”, there are even classes online – there are many resources out there to help you learn. Yoga is a practice that can always take you deeper so you do not need to learn everything at once. See if you don’t notice a difference in yourself after several weeks. So relax, stretch and breathe! You’ll find yourself craving it and noticing even more when you don’t do it. Enjoy!
Tip #2 Meditation ~ The practice of meditation is a wonderful tool for cultivating inner peace, balance, harmony and health in all areas of your life.
If you are new to the practice, begin with 5 minutes (you have 5 minutes) in the morning just after you get up. Just begin to breathe deeply, expanding the belly and the chest, and allow your attention and awareness to be on the breath. As thoughts come (and they most definitely will), simply and gently, with effortless ease, guide your attention back to your breath. Beginning a meditation practice, is not going to automatically clear your mind. It takes practice and discipline which is the most important part. Within very little time, you will begin to see the effects in your life, which will be your incentive to continue.
If you are an experienced meditator, take your practice up a notch to 20-30 minutes twice a day; ideally, first thing in the morning and between the end of work and dinner. Meditation is a beautiful way to transition into the evening hours of Kapha time when we should be winding down in preparation for sleep.
Most importantly, relax and enjoy your practice. The time you meditate will expand automatically as long as you are gentle and patient with yourself.
Now… take a deep breath and Enjoy…. !
Ayurveda is about the wisdom of life. By knowing and understanding our own unique nature we can easily and naturally make lifestyle choices that are harmonious rather than in conflict with who we are. To better know and understand your individual constitution (or Dosha in Sanskrit), do the Dosha quiz here: http://www.drjoannacarmichael.com/-dosha-quiz--health-forms.html
These suggestions are designed to help you make small modifications in your lifestyle that will add up quickly over time. Breaking down big health goals into smaller ones that are easier to “digest” and implement can be the key to lasting and significant change. We tend to want change fast, so we look for that magic bullet that is going to correct every imbalance overnight. What we need to remember is that imbalance was not created in our body/mind overnight, and it’s not going to be reversed or corrected overnight. But change can begin to happen immediately and being simple and realistic is important.
Commit to one small change. A few days, a week, a month, even a year go by fast and before you know it the effects of small changes have added up to something wonderful & a life you can love.
Give yourself a gift and commit the week to each simple suggestion and watch your health, energy, wellbeing and vitality soar. Commit to Perfect Health instead of weight loss. Weight loss (or gain, if needed) will happen automatically as a byproduct rather than a goal in itself. As you feel better and better, notice how the suggestions build upon each other and that change and commitment to your health goals becomes effortless. It is from that inspired (in spirit) place inside of you that it is easier to create lasting change without the drudgery of doing something you really don’t want to do, or feeling deprived from something you really like.
Because Ayurveda, Meditation and Yoga are inextricably interconnected, these tips will be giving you ideas in all three areas. They are also designed to build on each other and help you learn about these ancient and effective strategies that will have you working in harmony with the rhythms of nature rather than against them. Try these suggestions with a willing heart, and approach each tip with innocence and curiosity. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being authentic. Your willingness and action is enough to get your started. Over time, your unique Self will shine through when you begin to feel and look your best!
Tip #1 ~ Ayurveda : Hot Lemon/Ginger Water Did you know that drinking a hot cup of lemon-ginger water first thing in the morning is a great way to perpetually cleanse and detoxify the body on an ongoing basis?
How many of us start the day with a big cup of coffee first thing in the morning? Do you think that a big hit of caffeine is just what your stomach and adrenal glands really desire first thing in the morning before you eat? Coffee stimulates the adrenals to produce more adrenaline (like in the fight/flight or stress response), and is a diuretic so it doesn’t really count as hydration. Do you find that you need even more coffee to keep you going during the day? Do the highs and lows leave you feeling jittery for a few hours and then subsequently exhausted? Sometimes coffee can contribute to anxiety and insomnia even when ingested in the morning. Being a coffee lover myself, I never thought I would be able to give it up, but what I have found is that when I start my day with this healthy and soothing drink, my desire for coffee literally diminishes and sometimes disappears. Try it and see for yourself.
Recipe: 1 C boiling water 1 tsp fresh grated or sliced ginger (or ½ tsp dry ginger if you don’t have fresh, but fresh is always better) ¼ - ½ fresh squeezed lemon (or lime) Experiment with the amount of lemon & ginger and add a touch of honey or Stevia if you desire a little sweetness. Mix together & let the ingredients steep for a few minutes. Drink as hot as you can tolerate comfortably.
Benefits: -Lemon is cleansing to the liver, stimulates digestive juices, is alkalizing to the body and freshens breath. -Ginger is the universal herb in Ayurvedic Medicine. It is cleansing and detoxifying to the body, enhances digestion, kindles the appetite & digestive fire, and increases the metabolism if you want to lose weight. -Facilitates morning elimination in a very natural way. -Gentle yet stimulating to the physiology. -Provides energy -Hydrates the body after a night of fasting -When you have overindulged, (sugar, alcohol, caffeine, etc.) this is a great way to detoxify, hydrate, and clear any residual after effects gently and immediately.
Try it every morning for one week and see if you don’t feel cleaner, more vibrant and healthier without the highs and lows of caffeine consumption. You might even find like I have, that when you have this first, you may not want coffee, or when you do have it, it will not be on an empty stomach which is much better for your body/mind overall. To your health ~ Enjoy!!