Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicinal system and yoga’s 5,000 year old sister science, is vast and complex, which can often make its practices daunting for newcomers. In actuality, several of Ayurveda’s traditions are simple and easy to attain. Read on to learn about 4 practices that are easy to incorporate into your daily routine and will likely yield positive results.
Scrape Your Tongue
Tongue scraping is the simple practice of scraping your tongue before brushing. This V-shaped oral hygiene tool costs about $10 and is a simple and effective way to improve your mental, physical, and spiritual health. On a physiological level, scraping your tongue 10-12 times every morning removes any excessive build up on your tongue, thereby removing bacteria and helping to eliminate bad breath. Ayurvedically speaking, scraping your tongue is a simple and direct way to remove Ama from your body. Ama is a built up of toxins in your mind-body and removing Ama will improve digestion, allow for mental clarity and increase general vitality. Scraping your tongue is also said to improve your speech and enhance your overall sense of taste. Most importantly, it feels fantastic and is a stimulating and invigorating way to start your day.
The tradition of eating seasonally has been around for thousands of years, but became lost as growing technology allowed for all types of food to be available year-round. While there is no doubt that eating seasonally means better tasting produce in peak season, Ayurveda suggests that eating seasonally is vital to your health. Each season is dominated by a certain dosha, thereby dictating a diet that works best for the season. Unsurprisingly, the foods that are seasonally available are usually best for that season’s dosha. Autumn is Vata season and Ayurveda recommends eating oily fruits and vegetables in order to keep you grounded. Such foods include squash, beets, carrots, and pumpkins - all which are available seasonally during fall time. In Winter, Kapha is largely predominant, so eating warm foods like soups and stews, root veggies, and warming spices are all supportive during this time of stagnation. During the summer, when Pitta is predominant, Ayurveda recommends eating raw and cooling foods such as salads, cucumbers, and melons, to help calm Pitta’s fiery tendencies.
Go For a Walk
Although different forms of exercise are recommended for different doshas, walking is a form of exercise that is beneficial for everyone, regardless of their prakriti. While Kaphas might be encouraged to walk more briskly and Pittas should consider keeping a moderate pace, there is no denying that a simple walk will do the body good. Try to find a way to incorporate walking into your daily routine. Walk to work instead of driving. Meet a friend for a stroll instead of going out to lunch. Take your dog for a walk in the woods instead of letting him out in the backyard. Walks in nature are especially good for the mind and spirit, so consider finding a park or nature preserve that is accessible to you and go as often as your schedule allows.
Keep a Morning and Evening Routine
Keeping a daily routine is essential to maintaining health in Ayurveda and can be as simple as going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Ayurveda generally suggests waking up before sunrise and going to bed around 10pm. If this doesn’t work with your schedule, pick a time that does work for you and make sure you are in bed by this time every night. If you are unable to fall asleep, at the very least get in bed and do something that relaxes you, like reading a book or a breathing exercise. Limiting screen time in the evening, and especially in bed, will help you fall asleep faster. Allowing for 7-8 hours of sleep, set your alarm in the morning and don’t hit snooze! Keeping a consistent morning routine, such as tongue scraping, drinking warm water with lemon, meditation, and sun salutations, will make your mornings more inviting and bring you a sense of calm before you start your day.
Choose one or two of these practices to start, and after a week, note your energy level and mood. Then add a few more and repeat the observation process.
Jersey first came to yoga as a place to quiet her busy mind and relieve stress. Throughout the years, she has consistently gravitated towards the slower practices of Hatha and Yin, but she has also come to appreciate the sweat and flow of a Vinyasa class. She has found that a daily practice of asana and meditation, combined with a conscious whole foods diet, is the perfect recipe for feeling healthy and happy. Jersey received her 200 RYT through Satyam Yoga School in 2015 and she loves teaching new and seasoned students alike. A lover of all things outdoors, Jersey especially loves skiing in mountains and swimming in lakes. She is currently teaching yoga in Portland, Maine and lives with her husband and pup.