Those who have been hanging around me for some years, remember when I studied Ayurveda in India with Vasant Ladd, I also completed two extensive trainings under the direction of David Frawley. These days, I don’t “teach” Ayurveda as much as I live it and it just sort of oozes out of everything I do. If you don’t know what Ayurveda is :: it is a nature based “medical model” that has been around for thousands of years. It supports each individual from the perspective of finding a personalized inner and outer balance, rather than treating symptoms. It helps each and every personal optimize “health” of body, mind, emotions, and spirit, and intends to create a close-to-perfect coordination where one’s physiology, psychology and spirituality are all working together, so that every one of us can access health, vitality, clarity and peace of mind.
It is food, lifestyle, and nature-based practices, and unlike our western medical model, there is no “pill-popping” or “quick fixes”. Instead, in order to find your own, perfect balance or coordination, you are required to do the work.
To get the most out of Ayurveda, you must focus your attention on what you want out of your life and your health, and slowly, and steadily, implement the practices of Ayurveda to help you restore balance. As a result, you will not only feel better, but you will be able to manage life’s twists and turns with less reactivity and more peace of mind and focus.
Spring has sprung, and today I want to simply share with you a handful of real-life ways you can live more aligned with the seasons and cycles of light and the moon, and ultimately feel more vital and resilient.
1. Eat fresh, whole, seasonal food.
You are what you eat, as the saying goes, which is true on many levels according to Ayurveda. When you eat fresh, organic, seasonal produce you not only consume and assimilate more vitamins and minerals, but you stay away from most of the fertilizers and pesticides, common to modern agriculture. Natural growing methods also preserve the intelligence of fruits and vegetables so they provide more nourishment. Eating fresh, home-cooked meals in a saatvic (harmonious) atmosphere provides more satisfaction to the heart and mind than fast food eaten in the car, or on the run. Consume a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, light dairy, and nuts for a balanced diet, and use spices to aid digestion. Avoid “lifeless” food such as canned or frozen food and leftovers whenever possible, as well as stimulants, all of which create toxins in the body.
2. Maintain a regular routine.
Ayurveda emphasizes working with the cycles of nature rather than against them. Being regular with meals and sleeping stabilizes your physiology and your psychology and increases natural immunity. Wake up early, before 6 a.m., to start the day fresh and go to bed before 10 p.m. for a more rejuvenating sleep. Exercise each morning, to at least 50% of your capacity. Be active during the day and take occasional breaks. Relax and unwind in the evening. Practice meditation, or sitting quietly with your breath or prayer for twenty minutes each morning and evening. These key aspects :: all moderate, all short and sweet are game-changers in life.
3. Move toward positivity.
Positive thoughts and actions have a positive influence on our health while negative behavior can be damaging. This is no surprise to any of us. Ama—or toxins in the physiology that are the root cause of disease–can have a basis in negative emotions and behavior as well as in unhealthy foods or eating habits. Focus on positive behaviors such as truthfulness, kindness to self and others, calmness, gentle and clear speech, order, and general control of the senses. Ayurveda calls these behavioral rasayanas–principles for mental, emotional and spiritual health.
4. Exercise without strain.
Wait. What? Yup. Exercise enhances endurance, digestion and immunity, and banishes fatigue. But as with everything, moderation is the key. Ayurveda encourages us to avoid using more than 50% of your total capacity and keep in mind your body type and seasonal changes as well. Winter and spring are the best seasons for exercise, take it easy in the summer or do water sports such as swimming, gardening, and hiking. Morning, before 10 a.m., is the ideal Ayurvedic time for exercise. Yoga asanas are suitable for everyone because they balance the physiology, tone the muscles and rejuvenate the organs. Walking is also excellent exercise for everyone.
4. Pamper your skin.
As the largest organ, and the first level of protection for your body, your skin requires special attention. It absorbs everything you put on it, so it pays to use natural skin care products according to your skin type. The best thing you can do for your skin is a whole-body oil massage in the morning before you shower. The Ayurvedic massage not only tones the skin, but improves circulation and helps flush out toxins from the physiology. To prevent the aging effects of the sun on your skin, do not expose your skin to strong mid-day sunlight. Favor exposure to the early morning or late evening sun only.
5. Educate your senses.
Every sense has a direct connection to the brain and a consequent effect on the whole physiology. Delicious food satisfies the taste, and Ayurvedic self-massage enlivens the touch. For the sense of smell, essential oil blends, found at your local health food store, can offer delightful blends of essential oils for every kind of imbalance. Relaxing music also the body and the mind to the cycles of nature through the sense of hearing. Looking at the beauty of nature has a pacifying effect through the sense of sight.
6. Tap into the power of herbs.
Herbs contain both biological compounds for healing, but also the wisdom of ancient yogic traditions, from an Ayurvedic perspective. Wild-crafted plants are rich with intelligence and healing properties. Turmeric, for example, is an exceptional anti-inflammatory. Peppermint is uplifting and refreshing, and lavender is relaxing and calming. The list, however, is endless.
7. Live (best you are able) in a healthy habitat.
Our dwellings and the environment can also influence our health. To reduce indoor pollution from paints and glues, use natural materials and make sure your home has adequate ventilation. Indoor plants help bring nature indoors and keep the environment pure. A water feature inside the home can aid tranquility. Vedic “feng shui” or Vastu Shastra, as it is known, can also increase the positive influences on our life by proper orientation of rooms and entrances.
8. Stay in touch with your inner self.
Improve your life with the practice of self-study, journaling and meditation. These things not only relaxes the body and the mind, but releases accumulated stress. Scientific research studies show that meditation and a regular yoga practice also reduces anxiety, reverses aging, and reduces blood pressure. By revitalizing your entire nervous system, you can increase your creativity and efficiency as well. The result will be greater success, satisfaction and peace in all aspects of life.
9. Be open to life.
Stay vibrantly young in heart and mind. Let go of what you cannot control. Remember that every day, and every moment, and every breath…. You can start over. Be open to what life brings and adapt to its changes. Try something different, learn something new, and let your creativity move you onto uncharted territories. Discover the joys of life and notice its miracles. Being happy is being healthy.
Just as promised, this week’s podcast is less story and more bones. I want to make sure that what I share with you inspires you…. And supports you in rising into your next, best and highest evolution. If you want more, I encourage you to head on over to brittbsteele.com/here for a little meditation to help you start implementing these key, ancient, tried and true practices.
Wishing you so much love on your journey.
That’s it for now. And that’s enough.
Om. Amen. Aha.