Ayurveda is a practice that goes back at least 5,000 years to ancient India. It blends an understanding of human physiology and the 5 senses with the natural environment’s healing elements to teach you about the fine ‘art of living’. Millions of people around the globe are waking up to this phenomenal holistic health care path because of its power to almost magically uplift people’s day-to-day lives. Here are 3 superb Ayurvedic self-care strategies to help you relax into a more balanced, joyous daily routine.
Patience and calm, deliberate action are core teachings of traditional Ayurvedic healing, especially when it comes to food. This is because the practice celebrates the power of digestion. Ayurvedic methods showcase the processes of the body and mind are set in motion not only by the food that you it but more importantly by how that food is consumed.
Being aware of how you eat has been shown to have a number of health benefits, including reductions in stress, anxiety, and depression. It also helps people make fewer unhealthy food choices.
What exactly does mindful eating look like? One example of the practice is eating until you are about 80% full. This works because it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you’ve had enough food. Ayurveda encourages you to be mindful of when you’re feeling slightly satiated, so that you can give your brain enough time to catch up with your stomach, and you don’t overdo it. Because good digestion has been shown to thrive in calm, quiet, and stress-free environments, putting on some soothing tunes or turning off the television while you eat is also highly encouraged.
Engage in ‘Abhyanga’
Touch is the first sense to develop as a baby, and the last to fade in old age. It holds powerful healing capabilities, especially when it comes to reducing stress, strengthening the immune system, managing pain from injury, depression, and disease, and speeding up the healing process after injuries. In fact, touch is so vital that it actually helps babies develop normally, and grounds in basic human compassion.
Dacher Keltner on Touch
One of the best therapeutic touch practices is known as ‘abhyanga’ or ‘self-massage’. This is an ancient form of touch where you apply healing massage oils and gentle nourishing strokes to you skin in order to replenish lost nutrients while stimulating your muscles, joints, and lymphatic fluids. It has been shown to have an amazing array of wellness-boosting benefits including decreasing blood pressure, inflammation, back and diabetic pain, anxiety, and sleep disturbances.
Ayurvedic practitioners teach that there are 3 ‘doshas’ or biological energies that exist among people: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. To optimize your abhyanga practice, it’s best to determine your main dosha and then follow a few simple guidelines:
Vata Dosha: Use sesame oil and slow, light to moderate pressure strokes with your whole hand 4-5 times per week.
Pitta Dosha: Use coconut oil, sunflower, or olive oil and slow, light to moderate pressure strokes with your whole hand 3-4 times per week.
Kapha Dosha: Use safflower oil and fast, strong strokes with friction 1-2 times per week.
It’s also recommended to use long strokes on your arms and legs and circular strokes on your joints for all the doshas.
Balance with Essential Oils
There are amazing health-boosting compounds found in nature’s plants, trees, flowers and herbs known as phytochemicals. When these natural organic elements are extracted, they are then used to create essential oils that help bring balance to many of body’s main systems.
Regular use of these essential oils in baths, aromatherapy, and massage oils is a great way to strengthen your immune system, reduce your stress levels, aid with your digestion and weight balance, boost your mental health, and keep your skin fresh and glowing. In fact they are so powerful that they are even used to help cancer patients with the effects of their condition, and show promise for helping reduce the risk of developing tumors.
Some of the most popular and powerful essential oils include frankincense, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, myrrh, turmeric, lemon, ginger, clove, tea tree, sandalwood, and rose. It’s good to note that oils made using chemical solvents (known as absolutes) are not considered essential oils by clinicians. Instead, they advise to use a pure oil that is extracted from the plant using heat, known as steam distillation, or a cold-pressed method, known as mechanical extraction.
If you’d like some help getting started, you can take a look at this 2018 Essential Oils Review and Essential Oils Guide.
Ayurvedic texts have also taught us the power of affirmations to guide you in taking charge of your thoughts and creating your best life! This video will take you through some amazing self-affirmations to help you attract a steady flow of abundance into your life…