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June 7, 2017

Seven Ayurvedic Self-Care Rituals for a more “Sattvic” Life.

Cultivating daily rituals is an important part of living a conscious life.

It is something we discuss and practice in great depth during Sattva Yoga Academy teacher trainings here in Rishikesh, India. These rituals typically include both devotional and self-care rituals.

Daily meditation is a time where we open ourselves to receive grace as we deepen our spiritual connection, transcending and experiencing spaciousness and the expansion of our consciousness. During this sacred time, we often find ourselves in a deep state of gratitude that can only be experienced through the heart, and cannot be explained or comprehended by the mind. When we carry this state of gratitude into our day, we experience life in its brilliance.

In addition to daily meditation and devotional rituals, self-care rituals are equally necessary, as our bodies serve as vessels—a home for the soul, and for the divine to work through us. Therefore, it is important to nourish our bodies, fostering a healthy physical environment so that we are able to carry out our dharma to our highest potential.

Here in India, Ayurveda is a way of living.

It means life science, and is an ancient healing system dating back thousands of years. As the sister science of yoga, the goal of Ayurveda is to align the body with the natural rhythms of nature as much as possible. Because we are also part of nature, nothing separates us from the trees, the ocean, or the sky other than matter itself. So aligning our bodies with nature’s cycles is the key to creating balance and living our most abundant life…one full of vitality!

Ayurvedic principles suggest performing morning self-care rituals in support of bringing the mind and body into a state of harmony. I have been practicing these rituals for quite some time and recommend them to individuals who are seeking a more balanced lifestyle.

If you, at times, feel ungrounded or out of balance, try this simple routine for 40 days to experience deeper alignment and vitality. We are lucky at our retreat center to have a full-service Ayurvedic spa, where I love to get treatments when I feel my body needs a “recharge.” However, this routine is just as easy for you to do at home or when you are traveling.

Morning routine:

Rise:

Rise with the sun or between the hours of 5:00 and 6:00 a.m. Wake up with nature.

This is the most sattvic time of the day. Sattva means peace, stillness, and quiet. After 7:30 a.m., rajas kick in. Rajas are associated with movement and energy—traffic begins, people are outside moving, sounds become loud—and our minds automatically align to that part of nature. By spending the first hours of our day in a peaceful state of consciousness, we are open to receive, happier, and more clear throughout the day. Wash your face, brush your teeth, and scrape your tongue upon rising.

Meditate:

Sit in lotus position (if possible) or on a chair in a quiet space and meditate for at least 30 minutes. This is sacred time for your soul. After you meditate, light some candles, do some chanting, or listen to soft music—anything to set a devotional mood, or bhava, for your day.

Movement:

Do at least 10 minutes of asana, pranayama, or kriyas to activate the prana (life energy) in the body. It also will ground you into your body before you begin moving through the day. Oftentimes, when we wake up in the morning, we are not 100 percent in our bodies because we are transitioning from a dream state to a waking state.

Oil massage:

Give yourself a massage with sesame oil, rubbing it on the body in circular motions beginning at the neck and shoulders. After waiting for five minutes, enjoy a nourishing shower connecting to the element of water. The oil calms the nervous system as well as removes excess vata (energy, the air element within us that causes mind chatter). You will feel more clear in your consciousness and calm all day.

Drink hot water with lemon:

Do this before eating or drinking coffee, as this alkalizes the body as well as gets the digestive system moving along.

Food:

Food is prana, life energy, fuel—therefore we must be conscious of what we put in our mouths. Eat alive, nourishing, colorful sattvic foods from nature instead of processed foods. If you ask your body what it needs, it will always tell you. Just listen…eat intuitively, balancing your meals with cooked vegetables and whole grains.

Nature:

Throughout your day, remember to take moments, or as I call them “sacred pauses” to connect with nature. Go outside and breathe in some fresh air, filling the body with new prana. Nature always provides connection, serenity, and healing. It is a space where I find that the “answers” I seek are revealed.

It is my hope that after reading this, you are inspired to incorporate these rituals in support of your well-being, leading you to experience a more conscious, abundant way of living, bringing you into deeper alignment with your true nature.

Sat chit ananda!

~
Author: Annemarie Brown
Image: Author’s Own; Maxpixel
Editor: Catherine Monkman

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