Self Care Through Ayurveda

How do you welcome yourself into the day?

What habits do you have to keep your body and mind nourished and nurtured? Before diving into the ocean of Ayurveda, I hadn’t given these questions much thought at all.

Sure, I knew starting the day with a bit of exercise, a good breakfast, maybe some yoga and meditation was a good idea… but why? Why in the morning? And why does it matter if it’s regular or not?

Can’t I just start the day with a double shot latte, and forget about breakfast? Eat lunch at my desk around 2pm, reach for the chocolate around 4pm for a quick pick me up, can’t focus, have another coffee, have dinner late because I went to my workout/yoga class/spin class after work, over eat because pushed though my hunger 2 hours ago, actually …pretty sure I skipped lunch because we were so busy at work! …Sound familiar?

Apparently that’s not the way forward if I want to experience optimum health and to prevent any kind of nervous breakdown in the future!

Screen Shot 2016-10-02 at 12.07.41 pmSeeking Balance
Our bodies are constantly aiming for homeostasis; equilibrium in the internal environment of our physiology. When we create a routine that supports this aim, the results are more energy, clearer thinking, increased productivity, a more robust immune system and of course a more peaceful experience of day-to-day life.

The exploration of Ayurveda has not only offered me insight into all of this; it’s given me a greater understanding of self-care and preventive health through the act of dinacharya – the daily routine of self-care; A routine that aligns us with the rhythms in nature.

When our bodies are synced with the rhythms in nature, our internal rhythms, known as biorhythms associated with hormone production, healthy digestion, menstruation, and a strong immune system are supported to function optimally.

The following is an example of dinacharya or daily self care routine recommended through Ayurveda. Following this type of routine helps to keeps the body and mind in check and less affected by the changes of season.

Dinacharya – Daily Routine:

  1.  Wake and get moving before sunrise. Being up before first light allows the body to synchronize with the rhythm of the sun. It’s also the time of day that the elements in nature support the meditation, yoga prayer and a healthy bowel movement, which is key to optimum digestion!
  2.  Say a prayer/give thanks Training the mind to begin each day with positively, optimism, is a beautiful way to start the day. You know what they say about our thoughts influencing the world around us? When we start the day in a positive mindset, positivity is bound to follow.
  3.  Scrape the tongue Ever heard of an Ayurvedic tongue scrapper? Doing this first thing, followed by brushing the teeth and swishing cold pressed sesame oil, (known as gandoosh) in the mouth for a minimum of 5 minutes, will cleanse the mouth teeth and gums protecting them from harmful bacteria, offering numerous benefits including whitening the teeth!Honey Lemon and Ginger
  4.  Drink warm lemon, honey and ginger water first thing in the morning before food – this helps to prepare the digestive tract for breakfast and assists the body’s natural elimination processes. Make sure you use organic raw honey and add the honey to the water only when it’s warm, not boiling hot as boiling water will reduce the medicinal benefits of this precious ingredient.
  5.  Evacuation – that’s right, I’m talking poo here. A great morning routine encourages bowel movement. For optimum digestion, this happens ideally before consuming your next meal.
  6.  Warm Oil Self Massage – In Ayurveda it is said that every human being needs regular oil massage. Self-massage is a great to way to get this. Regular self massage strengthens the immune system, improves self confidence, counter fatigue and improve sleep.
  7.  Bathe or shower – Before breakfast and before meditation as an act of cleansing the body, and allowing the warm herbal oils to settle into the skin.
  8.  Meditation – Can be considered a form of eating, a type of food for the brain and body. Meditation can soothe a hungry mind. There is so much ‘scientific’ evidence available now proving the benefits of meditation. One key benefit being mental clarity and a sense of peace that prevails in moments of chaos when a regular practice is kept.
  9.  Nourish yourself with a warm delicious easy to digest breakfast particularly in the cooler months or if the digestion is weak.
  10. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time each day, taking time to be with your meal and appreciate it with full awareness. Bring your awareness of the taste, the colours, the smells the sounds of each mouthful. All of this enhances the body’s ability to digest, process and assimilate the nutrients from every mouthful and ingredient.
  11. Sip warm or room temperature water throughout the day to encourage and support digestion and keep the body hydrated.
  12. Be in bed with lights out before 10pm for optimum rest and the best quality sleep. The news isn’t new that the hours we sleep before midnight is the richest hours of and Ayurveda suggests that doing so results in more energy, increased memory and longer life – you never know until you give it a go! 😉

I know what you’re thinking….’how on Earth am I going to find the time to do all of this!!’

Don’t worry; I’ve been there. That was my initial reaction.

The key is to be realistic. Create an achievable routine that works for you and your circumstance. If you’re not sure where to start come in and see me for a consultation and we can tailor a routine specific for you.

Keep in mind, the more energy you have, the more time expands, or at least it feels that way! The more you implement a self care routine in your life, the more energy you have!

What daily rituals or routines do you already have in your life that support and generate strength and vitality? Love to hear from you!

Written by Carla Beasley. Carla is an Ayrevedic Lifestyle Consultant and Yoga Instructor who is the owner of The Nourishment Garden. Contact Carla on +61 402 467 234 or visit her website for full details.