Common Ayurvedic Practices
Ayurveda is an ancient medical system based on natural and holistic health principles. Let's take a look at some basic practices....
Ayurvedic diets suggest specific types of food for each individual dosha type. In general, healthy whole foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes are encouraged as opposed to processed foods that lack fiber and essential nutrients. Ayurvedic diets have been found to protect against many chronic diseases and promote better health.
Protein: poultry in small amounts, egg whites, tofu
Dairy: milk, ghee, butter
Fruits: sweet, fully ripe fruits like oranges, pears, pineapples, bananas, melons, and mangoes
Vegetables: sweet and bitter veggies, including cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, zucchini, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, and Brussels sprouts
Legumes: chickpeas, lentils, mung beans, lima beans, black beans, kidney beans
Grains: barley, oats, basmati rice, wheat
Nuts and seeds: small amounts of pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut
Herbs and spices: small amounts of black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, cilantro, dill, turmeric
Protein: small amounts of poultry, seafood, tofu
Dairy: milk, butter, yogurt, cheese, ghee
Fruits: fully ripe, sweet, and heavy fruits, such as bananas, blueberries, strawberries, grapefruit, mangoes, peaches, and plums
Vegetables: cooked vegetables, including beets, sweet potatoes, onions, radishes, turnips, carrots, and green beans
Legumes: chickpeas, lentils, mung beans
Grains: cooked oats, cooked rice
Nuts and seeds: any, including almonds, walnuts, pistachios, chia seeds, flax seeds, and sunflower seeds
Herbs and spices: cardamom, ginger, cumin, basil, cloves, oregano, thyme, black pepper
Protein: poultry in small amounts, seafood, egg whites
Dairy: skim milk, goat milk, soy milk
Fruits: apples, blueberries, pears, pomegranates, cherries, and dried fruit like raisins, figs, and prunes
Vegetables: asparagus, leafy greens, onions, potatoes, mushrooms, radishes, okra
Legumes: any, including black beans, chickpeas, lentils, and navy beans
Grains: oats, rye, buckwheat, barley, corn, millet
Nuts and seeds: small amounts of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds
Herbs and spices: any, including cumin, black pepper, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, basil, oregano, and thyme
Times of the day and year -
Ayurveda suggests we feel better when we are in sync with the rhythm with Mother Nature and our biological clocks based on your dominant dosha type.
Daytime - times of best energy
6 am to 10 am – Kapha 10 am to 2 pm – Pitta 2 pm to 6 pm – Vata
Nighttime - times for best rest 6 pm to 10 pm – Kapha 10 pm to 2 am – Pitta 2 am to 6 am – Vata
Dinacharya means self-care in Sanskrit. Dina means sun or flow and Charya means practice. Daily self-care is routine and essential for nurturing the self and must occur before any healing can take place. Let's take a look at the morning routine from an Ayurveda perspective.
Wake Up There are specific times that are best to wake for each dosha type.
Vata types: 6am Pitta types: 5:30am Kapha types: 4:30am
Daily Intention Take a few moments to set an intention for your day, a focus or theme you hope to carry with you throughout the day.
Sip Warm Water Warm up some water to sip with a squeeze of lime and aloe vera juice to hydrate and stimulate the digestive system and promote elimination.
Elimination What goes in must come out. Elimination is the key to optimal health. Be sure you to allow time and a quiet space to relax and release everything from your previous day. Self-massage on the abdomen and deep slow breathing into the belly is a wonderful way to gently stimulate a bowel movement.
Wash the Face Splash the face with cold water to stimulate circulation to the skin. Dry your face gently with a clean towel. Spritz with rosewater afterwards.
Tongue Scraping Using a stainless steel or copper tongue scraper, scrape the tongue 7-14 times to remove the built-up bacteria and toxins (ama) from the tongue before brushing the teeth or oil pulling.
Oil Pulling This is a powerful practice of gargling/swishing oil around the mouth to remove bacteria from the teeth and improve gum health. You can use coconut oil or untoasted sesame oil. Coconut oil is an antifungal, and is usually recommended for this practice. It’s also lighter and easier to swish around in the mouth.
Neti Pot Neti kriya, or jala neti, is the practice of rinsing purified water through the nasal passages to clean the sinus cavity and improve respiratory health.
Nasya After performing neti, gently apply sesame oil to the inside of the nostrils. Special herbal oils, called nasya oil, can be used in place of the regular sesame oil.
Garshana Garshana, or dry skin brushing, is the practice of brushing your skin with raw silk or a natural vegetable bristle brush to remove dead skin and stimulate lymph drainage in the body.
Oleation (Abhyanga) After brushing the body, apply a very liberal amount of natural, food-based oils. Sesame or ashwagandha bala oil is great for vata types, coconut-based oils for pitta types, or a lighter sunflower oil for kapha types. Oiling the skin before you shower also protects your body's natural oils.
Bathing Daily bathing is an act of cleansing both body and mind as we remove past impurities.
Meditation Take 5 minutes to be still. Sit with yourself and observe what is present today.
Breakfast Enjoy a breakfast of your choice with some herbal tea remaining mindful as you chew each bite.
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