by Acharya Shunya,
Author of Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom
Originally published on MindBodyGreen
Ayurveda, India’s ancient modality of health and healing is becoming increasing popular for its tried and tested health awaking lifestyle teachings. Ayu (life) and veda (knowledge) means, “knowledge of life.” It encompasses simple, but life-giving principles that move beyond a life void of illness. Brimming with vitality and bursting with joy, Ayurveda, holds the potential for positive life transformation.
I teach my students and discuss in detail the practices and science of Ayurveda. But if you are eager to explore and adopt a few techniques, try these eight fundamental practices. Together they address body, mind, and spirit and will open you up to your own natural wholeness.
1. Get up before 6 am. For those who are not getting enough sleep, waking up early may seem like a contraindication. But early rising has multiple benefits, including resetting the internal clock. Waking at this time primes us for increased energy, improved digestion and decreased stress and depression. You will begin to feel cheerful and lighter. Try and it and see for yourself.
2. Practice morning gratitude. Instead of starting your day with a to-do list, which throws you instantly into the stress and chaos of everyday life, wake up with gratitude. Quell the need to check your phone first thing in the morning by chanting OM as you exhale. By doing this, you immediately become aligned with greater cosmic vibration. Some call it God I call it universal intelligence.
3. Gargle. Gargling with sesame oil is an immune boosting practice that has saved my voice on more than one occasion. Simply warm some raw oil, and gargle as you would with water for a few minutes or as long as you can do this with ease. Then spit it out. Gargle again with tepid water. Do this practice daily or at least once a week.
4. Conduct daily self-massage. Daily abhyanga or self- massage for ten minutes a day can improve blood flow, reduce stress, stiffness, and pain, as well as cause deep relaxation for the mind and body. I recommend using sesame oil, which is a natural anti-inflammatory and immunity-enhancing ingredient.
5. Stop buying bottled water. Plastic water bottles are good for no one except the companies that produce them. Drink boiled and then cooled water, which is highly digestible and relieves thirst and fever.
6. Replace butter and oil with ghee. Cooking with clarified butter or ghee is an easy way to aid digestion. Ghee is renowned in Ayurveda for its immunity enhancing anti-aging qualities. Plus it is delicious with a nutty flavor. Try it for yourself!
7. Eat your last meal two to three hours before bed. Late night snacks and large meals too close to bedtime can wreak havoc on your digestion and make it difficult to sleep. What you cannot digest may be converted into toxins. So eat as close to sunset as possible and plan a few hours between dinner and bedtime.
8. Turn mealtimes into an event. You store your finest dishes and silverware for “special occasions.” But flowers, candles, and fine flatware heighten the dining experiences and elevate the senses. Pleasure and joy in eating add an important psychological component to digestion.
© Acharya Shunya, author of Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom: A Complete Prescription to Optimize Your Health, Prevent Disease, and Live with Vitality and Joy
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