Ayurveda 101

Ayurveda by definition is "the traditional Hindu system of medicine, which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing." Ayur meaning life and Veda meaning truth. Ayurveda is the truth of your life. What I love about Ayurveda is that there is not an "all or nothing" idea that exists. Anything can be used as medicine to teach us to live in harmony with the seasons! From your environment, to your lifestyle, to the type of herbs you consume and the types of foods you eat. 

What is a dosha?

Doshas refer to the unique physical and mental constitutions within your body, which influence your personal well-being. All of our bodies consist of three doshas and it is important to find out which proportion of each dosha you have. Your body will have at least one dominant dosha which can bring your body out of balance at times. The doshas consist of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. When all of your doshas are in balance there is flow within your life, and it becomes an effortless journey to maintain your health. Much easier said than done of course! Learn your dosha here.

Currently, I am enrolled in an online course for Ayurveda 101. I thoroughly enjoy the concept and ease of adapting these lifestyle choices. Everything you do, as little as it is, will have some sort of effect. I think what I notice most about people is that we are all searching for more balance. Ayurveda is to bring the body back into balance. One of the simplest things you can do to bring balance into your life is develop a daily morning routine, if you do not have one in place already. As much as I do love sleep, morning time is my absolute favorite time of the day. More so on the days where I am not running out the door to make it to work! It is quiet, slow and there is plenty of time to really feel what is going on in your body.

Here are a five easy things to adapt into your morning routine to ensure a good flow for the rest of the day. 

1.    Tongue scrape. Say goodbye to morning breath! Get all the gunk off your tongue while stimulating your internal organs. Read more about the benefits of tongue scraping here.

2. Oil pulling. I use plain coconut oil for twenty minutes as I go about my morning routine. I follow with a natural toothpaste that contains neem to brush my teeth. When I travel I bring these amazing single use packets for convenience.

3. Hot water with lemon (I know, so cliche) or hot black tea for a dose of caffeine. Hydrating from within has been something I notice helps my skin stay plumped with the colder weather. I like to add molasses for a natural sweetener to my tea while getting a source of iron. Important to keep that skin looking fresh! Additionally, I include ashwagandha and anandamide (raw cacao & tonic herbs) from Sunpotion. I add mine at the end of my tea so the hot water does not burn the herbs as these herbs are not meant for burning! 

4. Dry brush. Dry brushing stimulates your lymphatic system (Hi cellulite! Bye cellulite!) which helps your body eliminate waste and toxins. I recently started pairing lymph tonic from Living Libations with dry brushing. The smell is so awakening! This is a great habit to form before we transition into Spring to help break up the congestion. 

5. Oil massage. In Ayurveda, a self-massage is called"Abhyanga” and occurs before the shower. That being said, I enjoy applying the oil after a shower while my skin is still damp. I started buying body oils based on my dosha and with the drier, harsh conditions in New York. I find that oils strengthen my skin more than a lotion would and I avoid using a ton of chemicals overloading my lymphatic system (see above). Another plus, my skin stays hydrated the whole day! Apply the oil after a warm shower and do not dry off! Use the water as an emulsifier and let that oil rub down soak in. I suggest you also prance around naked while listening to some groovy music. You have to give the oil time to soak in after all!

Remember, do what works for you on your own time. You may just find out that these simple practices help balance out many other things in your life than just your morning coffee addiction.