by Emma Fitts, Wholesome Living Ayurveda
Ayurveda is one of the oldest holistic health practices in the world, originating in India with over 5000 years of written tradition and many more before that, being taught by word of mouth. Ayurveda is a powerful and healing modality yet many people have no idea what Ayurveda is, or have even heard of it before. Pronounced A - ur - vay- da, this health care system is more than a mere system of treating illness. Ayurveda is the science of life, which literally comes through in its name: (Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge).
Ayurveda is a beautiful philosophy which supports us as a whole being. It incorporates the need for balance of our Mind, Body, Soul and Sense Organs in harmony together and with the world around us. While Ayurveda is an ancient practice of healing in the Eastern world, it is still in its infancy stage in the Western World, especially in Australia. So if you are unaware of Ayurveda or are still growing your knowledge around this amazing healing practice, then the Ayurveda inspired Yoga Box (the January Box) is a great place to start!
The Ayurvedic approach to health treats everyone as an individual and works to heal and bring balance to your Mind, Body, Sense Organs and Soul. We are all born with a specific constitution, or Prakruti, that determines our physical, physiological and mental characteristics. Our Prakruti is based on the balance of the Elements Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth within us at birth. These elements are grouped into the Doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. When we know what our Dosha balance is, we can determine when we are out of balance and how to bring ourselves back into alignment and well-being.
Ayurveda teaches us to live a life that is full of Love, Joy and Connection to ourselves, and the world around us. It shows us the impact of the #noguilt philosophy; which is based in the knowledge of how our negative feelings of guilt (and other negative emotions) influence our health, wellbeing and beauty - from the inside - out. It also teaches us how we are created and designed to be unique in who we are, and to avoid the mentality of “one size fits all”.
In Ayurveda, we acknowledge that what happens outside of our bodies also happens within. Ayurveda works with the seasons and our environments to create optimum health and longevity in our lives. As we move through life, we are influenced by our environment, diet, the seasons, the climate, our age, and many other factors. These then can influence the balance of the elements within our bodies, which in turn can affect our health, energy level, and general mood.
As we are in mid Summer currently, Vata has been increasing in the air, which causes both the human body and digestive system to be at their weakest at this time of year. This is because over summer we increase our exposure to the Sun (especially our hot Australian sun) which creates more work for our bodies to let out the heat building up in our bodies. This leads to less power for our digestive tract to consume food, as our digestive fire is lower than it would be in other seasons such as Winter, when it is at its highest. (This is why you often feel an increase in hunger during winter) So over the Summer period, it is a good time to eat lighter, smaller meals. During Summer, Pitta will also start to play a part, especially in later Summer (which we are coming into now).
For so many of us, our New Years resolutions are usually health related. We all want to be healthier. To lose that extra weight we gained from all those Christmas parties, have glowing healthy skin and to feel our energy levels rise. They say this is the most important time of year for gyms/fitness centres, as their membership’s spikes dramatically, with everyone rushing to kick start their health goals for the New Year. Yet let’s be honest here, how many of us actually stick to these goals? By the time Autumn comes around those health resolutions have been long forgotten. A big reason these health resolutions often fail is because most of the time we are following a “one size fits all” approach, instead of following a routine that will work for our body.
Discovering which Ayurvedic Body type you are - Vata, Pitta or Kapha - will help you to understand what works best for YOU in designing (and maintaining) the best health and beauty routine to meet your wellbeing goals!
Each body type has its own way of maintaining health and beauty, from exercising to eating, and how it reacts to different types of situations (such as seasons). What works for a Vata person won't work for a Kapha person… and vice-versa. To find out more about your body type and how to nurture your mind and body to help it flourish with well being then book in for an Ayurvedic Consultation at Wholesome Living Ayurveda.
While we are all individual in our health and wellbeing journey, there are amazing Ayurvedic tools we can all use in our wellness/beauty routine. An easy way to learn and see the benefits of Ayurveda in your life is by using these simple techniques and incorporating them into your daily experience.
Abhyanga Massage (or Self Massage) - Abhyanga is a beautiful Ayurvedic oil massage that you give to yourself daily. It is an amazing way to start your day, as you take the time to lovingly nourish your mind and body connection. Heat up some Black Sesame Oil (you can use any oil, however some oils are better than others for your specific body constitution - eg. Coconut should be avoided for Vata and Kapha Types.) Then massage and coat your entire body, from head to toe, spending around 2 minutes on each section of your body. Afterwards, let the oil soak in for 15 minutes (if you have time), then either have a bath or shower to wash off the excess oil. (Ensure you wash off any oil from your feet before stepping in the shower/bath, so you don't slip!)
Tongue Scrapping is another great way to give yourself a simple cleanse every day. So much bacteria builds up over night in our mouths – and so it is important to clear this away before eating or drinking anything – otherwise you are just putting this straight back into your body! (yuck!) When you wake up, before consuming anything, give your teeth a brush and then use your tongue scrapper to clear off any left over toothpaste and all the "junk" that made itself at home on your tongue overnight. Tongue scrappers are so easy to use: Just put the curve piece of the scrapper towards the back of your tongue and firmly (but gently!) scrap it forward along your tongue. You may need do this 2-3 times (or more) to get everything off your tongue; so remember to give it a quick rinse in between each scrape. A lot of people find they actually have a better ability to taste their breakfast after doing this.
A few other Ayurvedic tips and tricks to help you feel the best you can each day are:
Drink warm-hot water, especially when you first wake up. This kick starts your digestive fire and gets your digestion moving and working properly. You can also do this before meals; however avoid drinking during meals, as this will water down your digestive fire/juices!
Eat for your Body Type. Ever wondered why some people do so well on a diet and others don't? One of the reasons for this is because these diets don't take into account our different body constitutions. (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) For example, people who are Pitta types can handle foods that are cold/raw such as salads (as they have more fire/heat within them to break these down). Kapha type people would find this meal very unsatisfactory as it would leave them feeling very hungry and cold.
Tune into the natural flow of the Earth. Try rising with the sun each morning. You may find this hard at first, but don't worry, your body is naturally aligned to follow the suns daily journey. You may start to feel a real difference within your mind and body when you start this practice, and it may even turn you into a morning person (if you are not already!). Waking with the sun, will also help you to fall asleep earlier. Try going to sleep before 10pm, as this is the time our bodies are naturally inclined to fall into a deeper, more restful slumber. Try this practice for a week and see the difference it makes in your day to day life. (Let’s be honest, it is much easier to rise with the sun on a warm Melbourne Summer’s morning, than in the dead of Winter!)
Wishing you an amazing 2018, and looking forward to seeing you at Wholesome Living Ayurveda this year!
Let us help you radiant and glow from the inside out. Bringing balance and health to your Mind, Body and Soul with one of our many amazing treatments. These treatments will help your skin shine, your energy increase and that extra winter weight to hit the road. ~~ Head to our website for more information on treatments and sessions.
For more information about Ayurveda and your specific body constitution, please feel free to contact me at www.wholesomelivingaryurveda.com.au and remember to follow me on Instagram @wholesome.living.ayurveda for daily tips and wisdom on Ayurvedic Living and Beauty.
If you are unable to come into the clinic, but are still very interested in learning more about Ayurveda and what this beautiful holistic health system can do for you this New Year, we also have Skype consultation sessions available.