The Basics of an Ayurvedic Lifestyle
Ayurveda is Nature Based
Ayurveda is both a lifestyle practice and medical system based on the idea that each of us has a relationship with nature. As a lifestyle practice it emphasizes that there are observable cycles in nature. When we live in synchronicity with these cycles we enhance all facets of health. Conversely, when we break away from these cycles we foster disease process in mind and body.
The Lifestyle Practices in Ayurveda Are Called Sadhanas
The sadhanas that make up an ayurvedic lifestyle are the heart of ayurveda. The implementation of the sadhanas are generally what an ayurvedic practitioner would consider a ‘healthy lifestyle.’ Without the sadhanas, the medical procedures, detoxification strategies, and other concentrated practices employed at certain times during the year are considered futile.
Daily Cleanse Procedures Maintain Health
Ayurveda emphasizes daily cleansing rituals as part of physical health maintenance. Some of these, such as showering and brushing your teeth, we all know. Ayurveda also teaches that scraping your tongue with a tongue scraper, having a bowel movement, skin brushing, and self-massage are also important daily practices for health. Leaving residue on the tongue that has built up over the night will reabsorb back into the body. Skipping bowel movement on a regular basis will lead to systemic toxicity. Skin brushing flushes the lymphatic system. Self-massage helps to stimulate the lymphatic and digestive systems, cleansing excess out of the tissues, lungs, and intestinal tract.
Daily Meditation Strengthens The Mind
After we have done our cleanse procedures, the body and mind are prepared to undertake a practice of meditation. Meditation is the cultivation of inner silence, where daily life is transcended and stillness is experienced as a natural state of being. It cleanses negative thinking and clears habitual patterns.
Eat What’s In Harvest For Your Individual Constitution
Ayurveda emphasizes eating seasonally. It teaches that the earth provides the antidote. Thus, eating squashes during the fall; brussel sprouts during the spring; and strawberries during the summer helps to maintain the immune system.
Ayurveda emphasizes eating at relatively the same time each day. It teaches that routine helps to regulate our circadian rhythm, and strengthens digestion.
Ayurveda also emphasizes eating our largest meal midday when digestion is strongest and the smallest meal at night when digestion is weakest.
Finally, ayurveda teaches that there are individual requirements of diet indicated by our doshic constitution.
Sleep Well Each Night
Sleep is one of the most powerful detoxifying practices we can engage in. Ayurveda emphasizes going to bed between 9:30PM and 10:00PM, and to rise with the sun each morning. During our sleep, we secrete melatonin, an antioxidant. Our liver also secretes antioxidants that powerfully cleanse and repair the body, and are believed to be responsible for the ‘second wind’ many of us experience when we stay up past 10:00PM.
Detox At Each Seasonal Junction
Detoxification is especially imperative today. Ayurveda teaches to detox at the junction of each season, and to engage in a longer detox protocol during the spring. In so doing, we maintain immunity, regulate metabolism, and boost digestive strength.
Every Person Is An Individual
Ayurveda teaches that there are fundamental lifestyle practices (eating seasonally, daily cleansing, meditation, etc) that we all share. There are also lifestyle practices that are ideal for us as individuals, dictated by our individual constitution called dosha. The lifestyle practices for our doshic type further maximize immunity, strengthen digestion, and encourage positive mental characteristics. In order to determine what your constitution, I suggest getting an assessment with an ayurvedic practitioner, or to seriously devote yourself to studying ayurveda in-depth.