Ayurveda, India’s traditional medical system dating back over 5,000 years ago, is the lesser known sister science of yoga. While yoga gives us spiritual direction, Ayurveda works to keep our body healthy in order to achieve our dharma, or spiritual goals. Both Ayurveda and yoga are steeped in tradition and are intricate sciences; however, both at their root, encourage us to cultivate simple daily practices that are accessible to us all.
If Ayurveda is a new word for you and you are wondering “how can I bring this science into my life?”, it is always good to go with the motto less is more. For instance, it is ideal in yoga to break down 2-3 postures at a time rather than try to learn 20 postures at once. The same applies to Ayurveda: incorporate Ayurvedic lifestyle practices into your life slowly, preferably, one at a time. Each week, bring in one new practice to cultivate into your routine. If you are successful at implementing the practice daily, then go ahead and add on from there. If you find yourself only doing the assigned practice a couple times that week, then simply keep working at integrating that one practice into your day. Stick with only that one practice until it becomes a habit, like it is a habit to brush your teeth. Once, your new practice becomes a habit you can begin to move onto weaving in another Ayurvedic practice. Got it? Okay!
Let’s look at 4 Ayurvedic actions you can implement this month to cultivate a happier, healthier, more mindful you.
1. Tongue Scraper/Cleaner
Tongue scraping is the action of removing ama or toxins from the back of the tongue. By removing these toxins from the tongue, ama is inhibited from entering back into the body, the breath is kept fresh throughout the day and healthy digestion is supported. This practice is ideal to do upon waking because while you sleep, your body is working to repair all the wear & tear that was placed on it throughout the day by initiating processes of digestion and detoxification. This detoxification process can be physically seen as a film on the back of the tongue.
When you rise in the morning, before you take a sip of water, inspect the back of your tongue for a coating. To remove this coating, you will place your tongue cleaner all the way towards the back of the tongue at the center and then gently draw the cleaner towards the front of the tongue. Repeat this action until there is no more coating on your tongue. Remember, each time you scrape, rinse the ama, or gunk, off the tongue cleaner before starting the next round.
Now some of you may have friends that say “I brush my tongue with my toothbrush, so I don’t need a tongue scraper”. Well, those people I am confident have never spent a week tongue scraping! Do it, and I promise it will change your life!
*You can purchase a stainless steel tongue scraper at your local natural food store or online at PAAVANI Ayurveda.
2. Oil Pulling- Kavala Graha
Oil Pulling or Kavala Graha, is an ancient Ayurvedic ritual that has seen quite a buzz in recent years.
Oil Pulling pulls toxins from the body, whitens teeth, reduces receding gums, works to ward off cavities, bad breath and unwanted bacteria in the mouth; in short, it is an amazing practice for oral hygiene and your body as a whole. So, how do you do it?
Herbally infused oil such as those found online at PAAVANI, is swished in the mouth and pulled through the teeth vigorously for at least 5 to 20 minutes. Ayurveda recommends 20 minutes, but that is something you can build up to. As long as you are doing this practice, you are taking the first step into making this a ritual in your day.
3. Drink Warm Lemon Water in the AM
This Ayurvedic practice is as simple as it sounds. After tongue scraping and oil pulling, make yourself some warm water with fresh squeezed organic lemon juice. This simple morning ritual helps to stimulate agni or digestion, and to alkalize and detoxify the body. Remember to have your lemon water even before your cup of coffee or breakfast, to get your day started right.
4. Replace your Body Lotion with Body Oil
Ayurveda recommends the use of body oil instead of body lotion. By incorporating this practice into you day, you will bring balance to the body, increase circulation, nourish the skin, detoxify the body and also calm the nervous system; without using any synthetic ingredients. It is important to use a body oil that is 100% earth based, because everything you put on your skin absorbs into your body. PAAVANI Ayurveda specializes in Ayurvedic Herbal Body Oil, infused with a formulation of herbs over a 72 hour period. Each time you lovingly massage oil onto your skin, you not only receive the benefit of the oils themselves, but you also receive the benefits of the herbs. Once you begin to replace your body lotion with oil, you won’t want to revert back.
To apply the body oil, massage onto the skin 20 minutes prior to your morning shower. Let it sit on the body and then step into the shower. The steam of the shower will help the oil absorb into the skin. If you do not have the time in your morning routine to apply the body oil and let it sit for 20 minutes, simply apply the oil after your shower, while the skin is damp and air dry.
By incorporating these four easy routines into your day, you will begin to feel the powerful effects of living an Ayurvedic lifestyle. As these routines are established into habits, they will soon become practices that you can not live without. Ayurveda, although steeped in tradition, has practical, effective and endless benefits for us to continue to use in the modern world. This science empowers us to make these ancient practices daily self-care rituals that allow us to cultivate self-love and a deeper connection to our soul.