When many people think of an Ayurvedic lifestyle, they probably imagine Indian yogis on a strict regimen. While Ayurveda does support sticking to an established routine and practising yoga, you don’t need to be a yogi or live in India to experience its benefits. The first step towards living a more balanced and healthier lifestyle is to find out your Dosha, which you can do here. There are also other rituals and easy ways to help you incorporate a little Ayurveda into your lifestyle.
- Waking up in the Brahma Muhurtha
The Ayurvedic system of health is based on two simple principles: that each one of us has a different and distinctive Dosha, and that this determines the approach we should take to health and wellness.
The Ayurvedic practice advises that we should wake up an hour and a half before sunrise, at a time known as the Brahma period, when the birds begin to chirp, and life begins to awaken. This allows us to synch with the natural rhythm of the earth itself; by waking then, we naturally feed on its rising energy. Another reason for early rising is that most Doshas are at a peak in the first hours of the morning. It is then that our bodies are most susceptible to the benefits of yoga, meditation and quiet reflection.
Abhyanga means “glowing body” and is the Ayurvedic way of showing your body love and appreciation by using Dosha-specific healing oils to massage your limbs and scalp.
This can be done in the morning to energise, or before bed to wind down and get the body ready to relax. It’s also a great way to connect with yourself once or twice a day. Different oils are best for different Doshas: coconut oil is great for Pitta, sesame oil for Vata and sunflower oil for Kapha.
- Tongue scraping
Tongue scraping is the easiest and most beneficial Ayurvedic oral hygiene practice. Using a tongue scraper to clean the coating of your tongue removes bacteria and toxins accumulated at night, and massaging the tongue also stimulates internal organs and aids digestion. Just as there are different oils for the abhyanga, different types of tongue scrapers are best for different Doshas: gold for Vata, silver for Pitta and copper for Kapha
- First liquid intake of the day (Ushah Paana)
Ushah Paana means drinking warm water first thing in the morning. Ayurveda advises that the water should be hot, lukewarm or warm, while drinking cold water is against Ayurvedic principles. Water should be drunk before brushing your teeth, as saliva has medicinal properties, and in small sips.
The main benefit of this simple practice is gut health. According to Ayurveda, drinking water as you start the day helps keep your Agni (digestive fire) healthy – keeping you energised and alert throughout the day. Other benefits include supporting digestive functions, preserving hydration (which is often too low in the morning), counteracting fatigue and creating a sense of calm.