7 Pieces Of Ancient Wellness Advice That Will Help You Live Better Today
If you aren’t immersed in the world of yoga or obsessed with centuries-old holistic medicine and culture, you probably haven’t heard of Ayurveda before. But don’t let this new word that you might not be able to pronounce (or its woo-woo potential) scare you off. “Ayurveda” translates to “knowledge of life and longevity,” and the ancient Indian tradition of alternative medicine has surprisingly practical roots. Here are seven pieces of Ayurvedic health advice that are simple to use and can make all the difference in how you feel on a daily basis.
1. Rise and fall with the sun.
Ayurvedic traditions honor the power of a good night’s sleep. Rest is viewed as the basis of all dynamic activity, and following the natural energy cycle of the sun better equips you to make the most out of every day. We know this one is a tough sell for the night owls of the bunch, but the closer you can get to a 10 p.m. bedtime and waking up at sunrise, the more energy and clarity you’re bound to experience. Plus, when you start your day on the earlier side, you have the opportunity to move through your morning routine at your own pace, enjoy a quality breakfast and observe a little peace and quiet before the daily chaos begins.
2. Add a squeeze of lemon to your water.
You’ve probably heard this wellness tip before, but those who lead an Ayurvedic lifestyle start every morning with a glass of warm water and a squeeze of lemon. It’s believed to promote regularity in the body because the acidity of the lemon juice keeps your digestive system free of any toxic build-up — not to mention water itself is the best way to hydrate after eight hours of rest. If you can keep the various channels of your body (including digestion) open and fluid, your sense of well-being will likely increase.
3. Eat meals that balance with the current season.
You might already follow this Ayurvedic wisdom intuitively, but eating fresh, seasonal foods in a way that balances the qualities occurring in nature at that moment in time can promote well-being. For instance, you probably wouldn’t reach for a steaming bowl of soup on a hot summer day because that excess heat would feel imbalanced, right? Well, consider how that translates to the rest of your meals and their various properties. When the weather is cold and dry, a warm and moisture-rich bowl of oats with fresh fruit for breakfast can help restore balance. And on a soggy, warm evening, a fresh and crisp salad feels refreshing rather than physically burdensome.
4. Don’t shy away from spices.
Ayurvedic tradition loves fresh spices, such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, fennel, cardamom and cinnamon. They provide powerful aromas and flavors, as well as important healing properties for your food. Turmeric is a popular anti-inflammatory spice, cumin is known to aid digestion, coriander has system-cleansing properties, fennel soothes any stomach discomfort (similar to ginger), cardamom is a uniquely cooling spice and cinnamon stabilizes blood sugar levels. So cook with these spices to your heart’s content!
5. Use pure oils to nourish your skin.
In recent years, the world of skincare has come to understand and promote the fact that pure essential oils do a far better job of naturally moisturizing and nourishing your skin than lotions or other laboratory creations. While we, too, feared that covering our faces and bodies with oil would make us, well, oily, we found the exact opposite to be true. Essential oils like argan oil and jojoba oil mimic the biology of your skin, making them easily absorbed and used by your body that much more efficiently. And Ayurveda agrees — to nourish yourself from the outside in, reach for almond oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil and even olive oil.
6. Walk often.
Without making matters too complicated, Ayurvedic tradition believes that there are three mind-body types, or doshas, that channel various elements from the earth differently and require different focuses in diet, activity and more to achieve a sense of balance. However, walking is considered a tri-doshal activity, meaning it fosters that sense of balance no matter which mind-body type you are dominant in. So if you take frequent walks, either as a means of exercise or in an effort to clear your mind and de-stress, you’re doing yourself more favors than you probably realize.
7. Take daily breaks to just sit down and close your eyes.
If you need extra justification to take some “me time” breaks, this is it. Both Ayurvedic and transcendental meditation practitioners believe that simply sitting down, closing your eyes, taking deep breaths and briefly disconnecting from the outside world can not only stop stress in its tracks, but also increase your positive energy output. It doesn’t take much to promote self-healing. You just have to choose it intentionally.
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