Feeling less than 100%? Confused by the conflicting information out there about what to do for your body? You are in the right place! This guide lays out 10 simple steps you can take to achieve your long term goals, live the life you want and deserve, and feel great while you do it!
Based on the teachings of Āyurveda, the oldest medical science in the world, these tenets are time tested, and will put you on the road to radiant wellness. These steps are simple, but require commitment, motivation, and a burning desire for real change! Are you ready?
A major contributor to stress and disease is the fact that we don’t take the time to properly care for our bodies!
Can you imagine what your friends would say if your car broke down because you had NEVER changed the oil in your car? They would say, “You’re crazy! No wonder your car broke down!” That’s the way most people manage their physical health. These ten steps will give you a daily tune up to help your body feel good! And when your body feels good, your mind feels good. Win-win!
A little tip- Your morning routine is by far the most important, and here’s why- By doing everything that feeds our body, mind, and spirit first thing, we greatly decrease the chance that we will skip it later because we are too tired later! However, if your mornings are too hectic with kids or trying to beat rush hour traffic, no problem! More important is that these things are done regularly. And if you feel overwhelmed, go slowly! Incorporate 1-2 of these steps each week, until you get the hang of it all. You will see many wonderful benefits, like increased energy, better sleep, improved digestion, compliments on great you look, and much more!
1) Wake up at the same or similar time every day. Our bodies LOVE routine- it’s true! Ever noticed how off you feel when you skip breakfast, or your morning shower, or even that cup of coffee you are so used to? Keeping a consistent waking time even on weekends helps our bodies stay on track, and keeps our circadian rhythms functioning properly so we can feel our best.
2) Drink a glass of warm water upon waking. We haven’t had water for many hours, our body has been working all night detoxing us from the pollution of the previous day, and we need to flush this stuff out and wake up our g.i. tract. Starting the day by immediately consuming stimulants such as coffee robs us of the chance to get in touch with the true energy levels of our body, as well as drying us out through the diuretic action of caffeine. Go for a nice, big glass of room temp water with a squeeze of lime and a pinch of salt and sugar first and see how much better you feel!
3) Scrape your tongue. Your tongue is a map of your organs and gig tract, and scraping it will stimulate these friends who are so integral to sustaining your health. It also allows you to see how well you are digesting foods- If your tongue has a thick coating, you likely have āma (pronounced with a long a, aama), or undigested food stuff/toxins, clogging your system. Doing this regularly can become an internal diary of sorts in which we are able to review the effects of yesterday’s actions on our digestive systems. It allows to see which foods yield greater coating, and which leave us free and clear! The time to do it is in the morning, before you drink your first glass of water. Copper tongue scrapers are good for vāta and kapha people, while silver is best for pitta. Don’t have a scraper? Use a spoon!
4) Oil up! So many physical aches and pains come from conditions of dryness in the body, which cause us to be more prone to muscle strain and sprain, inflexibility, and ages us more quickly. Daily oil massage feels so good, and once you start, you won’t want to stop. How to do this? Please follow the link for my video on the how and why of self-oil massage. It’s the best!
5) Sweat Daily. Classical Āyurveda teaches us that it is as important to sweat as it is to defecate and urinate. When we sweat, we release toxins from the body, get our circulation going, improve heart health, and help our lymph system to filter toxins properly. The only exception is the first two day of your menstrual cycle or when you have very heavy flow- this is the time to rest up!
6) Shower. This is especially important if you are doing abhyanga, the Sanskrit term for oil massage, or after exercise (or if you like having friends J). Showering brings cleanliness, clarity, and relaxation- BOOM, enough said. It is excellent for getting rid of the tamas that has built up over the night, and well, it’s just awesome! And is the perfect segue to that MOST important of daily activities…
Whether you worship Jesus, Allah, or Devi, finding a quiet space to settle and focus your mind is the most important thing you can do for mental health.
Peace and happiness are not caused by the things that happen to us- they come through the space that we create within ourselves. Equanimity can only come through practice, and learning to remain in a peaceful state through all kinds of weather is the best gift you can give yourself. Emotional fluctuations are the root cause of dis-ease and happiness, so give yourself the space to process, observe, and simply be on a daily basis. This will go as far as any diet and exercise routine in helping you create a foundation for lifelong health and happiness.
8) Eat meals at the same time every day, at regular intervals. This allows our bodies to become adjusted to when we take food, and promotes proper functioning of our agni, or digestive capacity. It is best to have breakfast before 9, lunch between 12-3, and dinner from 5-8, depending on your unique constitution and health goals. Try to avoid snacking too soon after eating as this can trigger peristaltic action of your intestines, which causes food to be moved along before it is fully digested. If you are kapha, you may only need one full meal a day, while vāta and pitta constitutions need more frequent meal times. Proper food combining is also very important! Stay tuned to learn more.
9) Maintain a shut off time for electronics and work. One of the biggest causes of insomnia is too much stimulation right before sleep, especially from electronic devices. Give your brain a chance to wind down so your body can wind down, too. Looking at Facebook right before sleep is not the way to calm your mind! The same goes for work- there is always something more we can do, and it can also usually be done the next day. So, pick a time to let it go and let yourself relax...
10) Go to sleep at the same time every night. Going to bed at the same time every night allows our bodies to know and prepare for break time- much like we do with lunch at work! Isn’t it such a relief having breaks scheduled into your day? Your body and mind feel the same way about rest, though we often ignore their cues until we have moved into the territory of stress or illness. Break the cycle, and take care of your precious vessel- like it or not, it’s what you’ve got, so why not live in harmony with it instead of working against it?
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I suffered from chronic back pain that left me unable to walk for a week of every month for over 15 years that no western doctor could resolve. Frustrated, depressed, and pissed off, I tried everything, from acupuncture to physical therapy but would only experience temporary relief. I knew there had to be a reason for my pain, so why couldn’t anyone explain to me what the hell was going on?!
Here is what was happening-I would get episodes of lower back spasming where my back would completely lock up and if I moved too suddenly or at the wrong angle- PAIN!! It was terrible, totally unpredictable, and took control of my life. I became fearful of riding my bike or hiking or doing any activity that could leave me vulnerable to the wrath of the back-pain gods. MRI’s, X-rays, I did it all, and nobody could give me a definitive answer to the root cause!
Until I found Āyurveda. Āyurveda did what western medicine couldn’t, and simple dietary changes combined with a 90 day herbal protocol cured my seemingly “incurable” condition. For good. Not only did the science of Ayurveda cure my back pain, it was able to simply and logically explain to me what the ROOT cause of my pain really was, in contrast to the guess work of “advanced” medical professionals using modern equipment.