July 17, 2023

Setting Routines to Calm the Mind’s Chaos: an Ayurvedic Perspective.

The search of simple routines to do on a daily basis for calming my body, mind, and spirit led me to include the principles Ayurveda into my life.

And the results have been amazing.

When I follow them diligently with only some cheats.

Ayurveda is the science/study/knowledge of life and is one of the oldest, still in practice methods of achieving and maintaining good health. Stemming from the ancient Vedic philosophies, it is more than 5,000 years old.

Ayurveda recognizes we are one with nature and we are a physical, mental, emotional, all-five-senses, and spiritual being. We are composed of space/ether, air, fire, water, and earth in different proportions and divided into three doshas or defaults—vata, pitta, and kapha.

Most of us are bi-doshic in that two of the three are close in percentage. Rarely is someone high in one, and equally rare is someone born with all three close in percentage.

We are born with an innate dosha pattern called our prakruti, which is with us for life. However, life throws curve balls and we are not in balance all the time. This state of imbalance is our vikruti, and when it occurs, we use Ayurveda to bring ourselves back into a balanced state of harmony. Ayurveda looks at qualities, called gunas, to determine our basic constitution, and when we are imbalanced, the opposite qualities are employed to heal us. “Like attracts like and opposites bring balance” is a common phrase.

If you’re cold, layer on clothing and eat warm cooked foods and hot beverages, for example. Feeling dull and lazy? Go for a bicycle ride, take a fast-moving vinyasa yoga practice. Burning up? Get out of the sun, eat a peach, drink some room temperature water with cucumber slices, and take a tepid shower.

Through nutrition, lifestyle, and daily routines, we bring this ancient healing practice into our lives. In the ancient language of Sanskrit—ahar, vihar, and dinacharya.

I will give a few examples for each of the three below and then explore more deeply in three future articles:

Nutrition.

When feasible, eat local, in season, pesticide-free produce.

Eat slowly, chewing thoroughly and in a relaxed quiet space.

Incorporate all six tastes of sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent.

Lifestyle.

Refrain from smoking, vaping, and alcohol (in some instances, a one-ounce serving of wine mixed with herbs may be prescribed for a brief time).

Limit screen use and shut down at least one hour before bed.

Practice good sleep hygiene.

Get outside in nature and ground yourself in her beauty.

Daily routines.

Take care of your five senses every morning. Eyes for seeing, ears for hearing, nose for smelling, tongue for tasting, and skin for touching.

Meditate, pray, and or chant.

Move your body—yoga, walk, run, strength train, tai chi, qi gong, dance.

Each of the three has various practices, “rules,” and instructions. Bringing the nutrition, lifestyle, and daily routines suitable to your will assist to balance your doshas.

I have found even practicing on an 80/20 basis that I sleep better, wake up refreshed, my mind is clearer, and my gut is operating smoothly. Some days, my system is off, and I awake sluggish, my movement practice ends up as restorative yoga, and my belly wants a frozen vegan patty and avocado oil potato chips, and I eat that. Then I reflect back on my past couple days: what did I eat? Did I snack in the afternoon on cookies or chips? Did I drink wine in the evening while binging on Netflix? Did I not shut off the laptop until 30 minutes before my 9:00 p.m. sleep time?

No wonder and time to sit and reflect on why and consider journaling about it. Our body, mind, senses, emotions, and spirit are all connected, and chaos andpoor choices can cascade a disaster down the chain.

Curious on how to align yourself with nature and find good health and balance? We will explore each of these in future posts.

~

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