5 practical and approachable Ayurvedic tips for anyone looking to enhance their health & wellbeing using Ayurvedic principals.
Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest holistic science that originated in India more than 5000 years ago. It’s philosophy is rooted in Vedic culture and the word Ayurveda literally translates to knowledge/science of life (Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge). I am not an Ayurvedic practitioner/expert but I am culturally influenced by Ayurveda and the more I discover about our body, mind, health connection, Ayurvedic way of living makes a lot of sense because unlike modern medicine, Ayurveda focuses on personalized medicine based on our constitution (prakriti) aka doshas and I love the overall holistic approach towards our wellbeing.
According to Ayurveda, there are five elements —ether/space, air, fire, water, and earth and the composition of these elements in each of us makes us who we really are. There are three types of doshas : Vata dosha : combination of air + space, Pitta dosha : combination of fire + water, and the Kapha dosha : combination of water + earth. Most of us have one or two dominant doshas which makes us unique in our physical, mental, and emotional characteristics. Our dosha type can help us understand what lifestyle practices are better suited for us and how to prevent imbalance in doshas. Imbalance in our doshas for a prolonged time is the reason for illnesses, digestive issues, skin problems, insomnia etc. If you are curious about your dosha type, take a simple quiz or visit an Ayurvedic practitioner for consultation.
Lately, I have been diving more into Ayurveda and have been implementing some practices consistently in my everyday routine and thought I’d share some tips that are approachable for modern day living. Ayurveda is not a diet, fad or a quick fix, it’s a lifestyle one should practice consistently and pick a thing or two slowly to make into a daily ritual. I hope you will find these 5 Ayurvedic Tips for Modern Living beneficial in your health & wellness journey. If you have any additional tips, feel free to share below in the comments.
Drink warm water :
In Ayurveda, warm water is highly recommended to help with digestion, for lymphatic system to flush out toxins (ama), and for better circulation in our body. It is believed that we are what we can digest (rather than what we eat) so keeping digestive fire (agni) alive is super important. Warm water keeps the digestive fire alive while ice-cold water weakens and dampens the digestive fire in our body.
Drinking a glass of hot water and the juice of half a lemon is a good ritual in the morning to rehydrate our body, flush out toxins, better digestion, circulation, and immune health.
Add herbs and spices in your life :
Herbs and spices are revered in Ayurveda because they have culinary, medicinal, and therapeutic powers. You should use particular herbs and spices based on your dosha type as well season. For example, black pepper is a pungent, heating spice that help increase digestive juices and kindle digestive fire. It’s great for kapha and vata dosha type for circulatory, digestive, and respiratory health but if you are pitta type, you should use black pepper in limited quantity as it can aggravate pitta. However, the cooling qualities of cardamom, cilantro, coriander, fennel and mint calms and balances pitta’s heat. Once you get more familiar with your dosha type, you can find out what herbs and spices are beneficial for you but in the meantime, incorporate tridoshic herbs and spices (it’s good for all dosha types) such as turmeric, ginger, cardamom, cumin, mint, cilantro in your daily life.
Herbs and spices can also be used to make Ayurvedic teas, face masks, or infused with ghee. Buy the best quality herbs and spices when possible and preferably buy them whole to keep their essential oils intact. You can roast whole spices on a stove top and grind them as needed.
Give yourself a massage :
Abhyanga or Ayurvedic self-massage is an act of self-care ritual where you apply oil in your body. This practice gives a sense of grounding esp if you travel a lot or need some regularity in your life. Ayurvedic self-massage helps release stress and toxins from our body and mind, improve circulation, and stimulate our lymphatic system. It can be practiced daily, weekly, or whatever your schedule allows. You should pick the oil that fits your dosha type and here are general suggestions:
For dry skin (vata): Use a warm, heavy oil such as sesame, almond, avocado, or bhringaraj.
For sensitive or overheated skin (pitta): Use a cooling or neutral oil such as olive, sunflower, coconut, castor, or ghee (clarified butter).
For oily skin (kapha): Use a stimulating oil like mustard, or a light oil such as flaxseed, corn, canola, or safflower.
Many cultures and religions around the world observe fasting throughout the year. The duration, time of the year, and specific reasons may differ but the goal is purifying our mind, body, and soul. I think of it as spiritual cleansing for higher consciousness & mental clarity when practiced mindfully.
In Ayurveda, fasting doesn’t mean depriving ourselves of food or drinks completely. It simply involves eating simpler, lighter meals that are appropriate for our doshas. Rather than overfeeding our body, during fasting the focus is on nourishment, removing processed foods, and giving an opportunity for our digestive system to rest. Spring is the “kapha” season and considered good time to begin fasting. I want to emphasize that the purpose of fasting is not “weight loss” or starvation but instead you intuitively listen to your body, eat lighter meals, drink herbal tea and practice fasting once a week or whatever your schedule, body type, health allows.
Meditation is an integral part of Ayurveda and is beneficial for all dosha types. Spending few minutes in a quiet place or simply breathing in and out can calm the mind, easy anxiety, nervousness, and bring some clarity in our life. If you’ve never tried meditation before or think it’s not for you, remember there are different styles of meditation (guided, kundalini, breathe-awareness, transcendental etc), I encourage you to explore different styles and maybe you will find one that speaks to you. Meditation can be done anytime anyplace but ideally, it’s best to meditate in the morning to set the tone for the day and/or before going to bed to slowly wind you down after a long day.
As I explore more into Ayurveda, I will share more articles and recipes I enjoy and find meaningful. But for now, I hope you will incorporate at least 1 or 2 rituals in your everyday life for your better health & wellbeing.