4 Ridonkulously Simple Ayurvedic Tips.

Via on May 16, 2011

Your Morning Will Thank You.

Relephant reads:
10 Weird but Awesome Habits that Aren’t Just for Hippies.
21 Easy Ways to a Beautiful Daily Detox

Procrastinate much?

It’s been several months since I visited the good people at Sensorielle Ayurvedic Spa. This blog post is long overdue, and testament in equal parts to my procrastinatory prowess and my recent GTD commitment to, well, Getting Things Done.

This actually helps you, dear reader.  My deplorable deadline skills in this case makes for an even more valuable review of the tips I gleaned from my Ayurvedic consultation.  Now I can truly tell you which tips and practices I’m still up to, months later.   After all, who’s interested in more tips to put on your coffeetable of a to do list? These are so simple that even I can do them, and so effective, they’re less chore, more joy.

For your edification and enjoyment, then, here are the top 4 tips my lovely Ayurvedic therapist offered me in January that I’m still rockin’, today.

The entrance to hell has a thousand ways by wildphotons, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License by  wildphotons

1. The morning water cure. Most of us drink a glass or two of water in the morning, whether thanks to instinct or folk wisdom. It helps flush out toxins and gets the guts moving.  Ayurveda agrees, but suggests several helpful tweaks: warm the water, add a quarter of fresh squeezed lemon, and a tablespoon of honey (raw, organic, please!). Why? Ayurvedic wisdom envisions your digestive “fire,” or agni, as something akin to lava. Copious amounts of cool water can dampen this firey juice; lemon and honey are both considered “warming” elements, as is the literal temperature of the water. My body has responded quite well to this, and now when I’m waking up, lolling around in bed, I love the thought of my warm honey-lemon water. Lemon also supports your liver function and is great for weight loss.

286/365 - Go Baby Go Go by Helga Weber, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License by  Helga Weber
2. Get a tongue scraper. Among all its other wondrous functions, the tongue is an organ of detoxification. The proof is in that white film over them when we get out of bed in the morning. So before you gulp down that morning water cure, spend 30 seconds gently removing that gunk so you don’t swallow it down. It’s super quick, and your breath and day will simply be fresher. Trust me: it makes a big difference.
Fennel seeds by zoyachubby, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License by  zoyachubby

3. Carry fennel seeds in your purse. (Or man bag, backpack, bike bag, laptop case.) Fennel seeds soothe an upset stomach and freshen the breath (they taste like licorice when you chew ‘em!). These little guys are traditionally placed on your way out of Indian restaurants to aid digestion of a rich meal and cleanse that curry aftertaste. I just carry a little jar in my purse instead of gum and in case of peptic distress. They’re fun to chew and really work!

4. Know your dosha. There are three main body types in Ayurvedic wisdom. Known as the doshas, these types determine what might be the best food for you to eat, the most effective exercise regimen, and even how you think. The three tips above are good for all doshas, but more precise recommendations can be made if you know your dosha. (For example: kapha types should avoid bananas; pitta types should avoid spicy foods; vata types should eat warming meals.) There are many places online to help you determine your dosha, but it’s truly an art form and the best way is to talk to an Ayurvedic practitioner. Finding out that my constitution’s pitta-kapha has helped me understand so much about myself — my characteristic quick stride, sensitive skin, and hot weather-induced crankiness. The more I learn about my dosha, the more equipped I am to balance my body, mind, and mood.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to do things in an all-or-nothing way: smoke a pack a day and go cold turkey; go from omnivore to raw vegan overnight; don’t just dabble in yoga, do it 3 hours a day or not at all. (I think you can blame my pitta for this, but I’m not sure!) So when I heard about Ayurveda, the ancient Indian healing art, I simultaneously beamed and groaned, “another system to adopt fully!” My practitioner at Sensorielle nipped this in the bud, though, and showed me how simple adding just a few daily practices to your life can be — and how effective. Give them a try and post your experience below!

~ All of these tips are courtesy of Melissa de Rito, the Ayurvedic Practitioner at Sensorielle Spa in downtown Boulder. I hope these inspire you to give her a visit if you’re in town. This is just a small sampling of the many tips she shared with me—I’ve never left an office with so many practical, simple tips! Her keen clarity inspired trust, and her gentle insistence that she didn’t want to change my entire lifestyle put me at ease.

Sensorielle is an exceptionally green, eco-friendly spa, too. The space is made from sustainable materials (the treatment rooms have cork floors!), they strictly limit paper usage, insist on natural cleaning products and laundry services, and recycle obsessively. It’s also simply the most relaxing little oasis you could hope to find!

“At the heart of Ayurveda is the concept of non-violence. This means taking on a parent/child or student/teacher approach with yourself. Any time we hope to make a lasting change we must look at the approach we’re taking. Ayurveda is a gentle and gradual approach and its emphasis is on personal experience. The beauty of the sadhana (daily practice) is that you can pick one thing at a time, feel its results and decide from there to continue. It is best to add things gradually so you can develop that self-awareness around each part of the practice. From there it begins to feel effortless to continue, because the desire comes from an internal volition to treat yourself with loving kindness and a natural curiosity or playfulness can develop. This is the best way to learn!” ~ Melissa Di Rito

Tell ‘em Angela sent you. And do yourself a favor:  don’t procrastinate.

Please note: to satisfy my (and EJ’s) editorial ethics, I should tell you that my consultation at Sensorielle was gratis. However, fear not:  I’m not one to mince words, and everything you read here is heartfelt and true. If I’d hated it, I would have said so—trust me!

For more about Ayurveda, check out The Ayurvedic Institute, my review of Sensorielle’s Ayurvedic facial treatment, and John Douillard’s Ayurvedic tips for dark circles under the eyes.

For more by me, check out my thoughts on Christian yoga, the complete protein myth, running barefoot, and Jews.

About Angela Raines

Angela Raines hails from "America's most dangerous city," St. Louis, MO. She recently moved to Boulder, CO (as one does) to write, do yoga, and sit. So far, this has worked out beyond her wildest dreams. She completed an editorial internship at Elephant Journal and still writes for them when Waylon reminds her. She landed a job at the company of her dreams, Integral Life, and is currently putting her third-person writing skills to work in her own online writing business, Conscious Copywriting. Her main teachers are Jun Po Roshi and Ken Wilber. She is an enthusiast of all things yogic, contemplative, and chocolate.

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21 Responses to “4 Ridonkulously Simple Ayurvedic Tips.”

  1. dre says:

    These are great tips! I really like the lemon & honey water and fennel seeds ideas.

    It's great that your experience with an ayurvedic practitioner was so open and gentle. It is more important to help a person make small, healthy changes that will last a lifetime than it is to make big changes that will only last a month. It sounds like Melissa and Sensorielle are a great find.

    • AngelaRaines says:

      Hey Dre — Yes, it was so refreshing to go to someone who didn't want to change absolutely everything about my lifestyle, diet, drinks, sleep, herbs, shoes, etc. etc. :) It's really about the little things…

  2. thanks for sharing such practicable suggestions which even someone in Cincinnati can try without waiting 20 years!

  3. Karli says:

    Even if you don't practice ayurveda, these sound like good ideas. I personally drink enough water, starting off my day with something to drink sound delightful. :)

  4. lyndsey says:

    Love the tidbits! Am onto some fennel seeds, stat. Find @ Jays? I got tongue scrapers for JR and I in March and we've been loving them. I still trudge my feet to flossing but something about the tongue-scrape victorious immediate goo-remove doesn't fail to excite. Thanks for nudges to ever greater well being, Angela!

  5. lizlady says:

    These are great easy-to-implement tips; thanks! I sort of half do all of these things anyway, so it will be simple to change them up a little.

  6. Gary says:

    Thanks for these tips! I already do most of these things, but it's nice to have the confirmation!

  7. [...] could learn about ayurveda, ahimsa, and much more at eighteen different workshops, or simply bliss out in lotus for a while at [...]

  8. Priscilla Wood says:

    Love this article, I can relate to your all or nothing approach. Will try to do my dosha but I find it very hard to follow sometimes with everyday life.

  9. Bry says:

    mmmm honey is generally recommended for Kapha and aggravates pitta so watch out on that recommendation ( same with the lemon).

  10. Silvia says:

    hot water with lemon and honey works for me in the morning too, and I also add ginger to it! spicy, energetic, really great!

  11. Amy Landry says:

    Excellent post – simple to understand and simple to follow. I implement all of these into my life, and hope others will now do the same – and feel the amazing benefits!

  12. Jia Ni says:

    Love the post! I implement the lemon water (warm) with cayenne pepper and ginger into my morning routine! Going to try and incorporate the others! Thanks! xx

  13. Anne says:

    Oil pulling is my first step into Ayurvedic practices. Ive been doing it daily for months now & it has made a huge difference in my skin & dental health. Google it & try! It's similar to the tongue scraper…

  14. elisa says:

    what exactly does honey do for you? Is the sugar content anything to be concerened about? thanks

  15. Keith says:

    Way off topic… are you and yours "okay" through the recent weather related turmoil? …. I trust and hope so.

  16. Jenn says:

    Great article – on the 3 descriptions you gave for doshas I was able to guess mine! I took the test and it confirmed it! Looking orward to learning more!

  17. Nick says:

    Turmeric and Triphala are a staple too

  18. Carly says:

    Great Read! Thanks for the tips :) Too bad Sensorielle is now closed.

  19. María says:

    Procrastination led me to this article so please don't say don't procrastinate.
    Great tips thank you.

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