5 Ways to Live Ayurveda in 2022
Today I’m sharing 5 simple and powerful ways you can weave ayurvedic living into your daily life in 2022. First, let’s move away from the idea of a new years resolution. I don’t love them. It has this feeling of a mass marketing complex that capitalizes on people feeling like they are total crap and need to reinvent themselves. No, thank you. New year, new you is definitely not what we’re going for here.
Rather, I’m here to remind you how beautiful it is that you’re alive. How wonderful it is to be well and enjoy the life you have. If there are ways to cultivate more of that goodness, I’m here for it.
Ayurveda is all about that. It’s about living long, and living well and enjoying the dance along the way. It doesn’t exist in the fear space, where you’re constantly trying to ward off some proverbial vampire that’s coming for your health. Instead, it’s an understanding of the natural laws of the universe that help keep us in balance so we can enjoy this life. Yes, please.
So, from that mindset of enjoyment, appreciation, and health, I offer you 5 ways to weave this wisdom into your day to day life.
Number 1 is both my favorite, and the most important.
- Remember the healing power of your mind.
Okay, let me break it down for you! One of the basic tenants in Ayurveda is the understanding that the body is in a constant state of recalibration and regrowth and we want that process to happen intelligently so the body continues to be in a state of health. When something is in the way of the regrowth process going smoothly, we call it ama. Ama can be physical, emotional, or spiritual.
Let’s focus for a bit on emotional ama and mental ama. Modern science is showing us more and more how true it is that the emotional body has the power to turn on, or turn off certain aspects of the human genome. The work of Dr. Joe Dispenza studies spontaneous healing. That basically means for example, I had cancer and now I don’t. Or, I was in a wheelchair and now I’m running on the beach. His research shows us how changing a person’s emotional state, sustaining levels of awareness around old patterns, and consciously creating a new way of being allows diseases to spontaneously heal. This is healing that happens at the mental and emotional level and has healing affect on the physical body. I. love. this. I find it so empowering. All human being have this power. I don’t care how much you weigh, what you eat, what you believe, what whatever you are. It’s the great human superpower of healing, and I want it to get more press!
Basically, as a person leaves behind their old story they also leave behind their old neural pathways. As they choose to become the person they want to be, the disease leaves because it exists in the old version of the person, not the new one. He compares it to an actor practicing to embody a roll, and I love that, because I get that. I was an actor in a former version of my life. The idea is it’s not just this cerebral idea of a person, it’s actually becoming that new person.
We know that environment triggers disease, but that doesn’t only mean the physical environment you find yourself in. You could be at a 5 star spa with the best massage therapist on earth, but if inside your mental and emotional body you are existing in a state of fear, stress, or anger then your environment is primed for disease. Our bodies are smart. They won’t go into a state of repair and regrowth if we’re telling them it’s a live or die survival moment.
Okay, so what do we do with all of this?
A 2 Week Course in Ancient Self Care Practices
To me, this is like the best mash up Marie Kondo (who I’m also obsessed with, but another day friends), Dr. Joe’s work, modern science and epigenetic, and old, old Ayurvedic wisdom.
Why Marie the brilliant tidying goddess you ask? The entire premise of her work is on creating the ideal life. You imagine yourself living you idealized lifestyle and then get rid of all the stuff that’s in the way of that becoming your reality. It’s through, there’s work involved, conscious awareness, choice, and some saying goodbye. This is basically what we’re doing with the self. It’s Interior design of the self.
Dr. Joe, modern science, and epigenetic show us what Ayurveda has always been teaching all along. Nothing is fixed. You can absolutely turn on new ways of being, your brain can, in fact, learn new tricks.
Ayurveda turns to meditation, mindfulness, and consciousness. Let’s demystify a bit. When you’re paying attention to how to you feel, you can do something about it. When you’re paying attention to how you behave, you can do something about it. When you separate the true self from the voice in your head, then you can teach that voice to be a friend and not a foe. Basically, you are creating yourself to be the way you want to be. Your best tool is conscious awareness. That’s an entire separate lesson, and we’ll come back to it another time.
So, #1. Remember the power of your mind. Remember the importance of environment as it relates to well being. When you find places where your mind is stuck in an unhelpful, or in a harmful pattern, make a conscious choice to think a different thought. This is a lesson from the yoga sutras as well. It’s my favorite.
Yoga Sutra 2.33 says, “when disturbed by negative thoughts, opposite ones should be thought of.”
Yoga, Science, Ayurveda are all reminding us, remember the power of your mind.
That brings us to a slightly more gross application of Ayurveda.
#2 Pay attention to your poop.
In order to really pay attention here, there might be a belief system that needs to be put down. Belief and poop, just in case you thought Ayurveda was boring.
You know that idea of, “oh, but this is just how my body is”, or “I’ve always been this way”, or “but I had a doctor who told me this was normal”. All of those beliefs are going to stand in the way of your ability to truly observe yourself.
Your poop in an information center. If it isn’t going smoothly, it’s your intelligent and helpful body giving you clear information that something needs attention. In Ayurveda, healthy poop is well formed, like a banana, easy to pass, and happens either once a day in the morning, or twice with the second time being in the afternoon.
If that is not your experience, it’s a sign of imbalance. Too loose and it can mean that pitta is too high, too hard or constipated and it can mean that vata is too high. Too oily and it can mean Kapha is too high. The longer the imbalance has existed, the more challenging it can be to correct. That’s why it is so important to really observe, be curious, and introduce interventions as soon as possible.
It would not be wise for me to offer a one size fits all poop solution here, because individuals are much more nuanced than that. But I can absolutely invite you to pay attention. The more you’re aware of something, the more possible it is to do something about it.
Okay, now #3. This one is for a moment of simple luxury.
#3. Use a dry brush.
As a mother of a small toddler I really, really appreciate this practice. It’s so simple, it’s good for my skin, and it feels good and helps me wake up in the morning. Even better, it takes less than 2 mins.
It’s simple. Start at the feet and brush up the body towards your heart. Do the same with the fingers and arms and work toward the heart. Brush down your neck and shoulders towards your heart. You get it, super easy.
You can use any natural bristle brush. I love the energy brush that has a bit of copper in it, because I think it feels amazing, but that’s all just personal preference and details.
For so many of us, it’s just not realistic to be able to do a full blown self care practice in the morning with an oil massage and lots of time to spend in the bathroom. I feel you. Life with small kids and work and families is real. That’s why I especially love something fast and easy that I can consistently do. I hope you like it too!
So, should anyone not dry brush? Sure, If you know you’re experiencing a vata imbalance stay away from this practice until your vata is back in balance. I also would’t do it before bed. It’s a stimulating practice that helps wake up the lymphatic system and makes the whole body tingle so it makes a lot more sense at the start of the day.
It’s such a wonderful, simple luxury that helps keep the skin soft and fresh. It’s a wonderful, doable, fast, feel good practice. Try it!
#4 Become a tongue scraper.
Yessssss. Okay you guys. This is just necessary. Once you start this one, you’re not going back to before. This practice is amazing on several levels. On the basic and super practical level, it’s hygiene. It’s taking that coating that’s on your tongue in the morning, and instead of brushing that junk all into your mouth, it scrapes it out.
That coating on your tongue is whatever didn’t get digested. So, if you eat a dinner that is well digested and easy on you, the coating on your tongue the next morning will be pretty minimal. However, let’s say you take down some cheesecake and a milkshake right before bed, because those heavier things are harder to digest you’re for sure going to have a thicker coating on your tongue the next morning. That’s how this practice becomes another great observation practice.
This practice makes space for you to ask yourself: What am I eating that’s leaving a big white thick coating on my tongue, and what am I eating that leaves my tongue with a much lighter coat? It’s a wonderful clue into what is sitting well with you and what is not, and this is not a one size fits all thing. Pay attention! The more you know and you can see, the more you can do about it.
The logistics of tongue scraping are really easy. A tongue scraper looks like a horse shoe that got stretched out. The rounded part goes to the back of the tongue and you scrape down towards the tip. Next, do the sides. You repeat as many times as you need to get the coating off. Now, we’re not trying to remove the taste buds here, be gentle. It should be totally painless and I hope even pleasant! Scrape your tongue before you brush your teeth in the morning. Once a day is good, and this ritual is such an easy and helpful way to weave Ayurveda, self care, and observation in to your day.
#5 Drink CCF Tea.
Ayurveda sees digestion as a fire. A really important fire that we absolutely want to keep burning. One way to continually stoke that fire is with warm, like tea hot, water. This water can be sipped all throughout the day. If adding in spices seems off putting to you, simply switching out your cold water for warm water can work magic on digestion.
To take it up a notch we add in three spices, cumin, coriander, and fennel. Hence the name, CCF tea. You’d add about a teaspoon of each in their whole seed form to warm water. The seeds stay in the water, it’s not like a tea bag where you take it out after a certain amount of time. It drives me bananas to have loose seeds in my tea so I put them in those little DIY tea bags, but that is simply personal preference.
These warming spices increase the warming properties of the warm water and help stimulate digestion and nurture the digestive fire. The warmth of this tea is also thought to help burn up ama. Ama is anything that is left undigested and unused by the body. When ama is left to sit around, it can start to cause problems and blockages. Sipping this warm tea through out the day might also be helpful if loosing weight is something that would be good for you.
On a really sweet, simple level it’s a great self care practice to make yourself some warm tea. You could even choose to notice what you’re thinking and feeling while you make the tea. You can listen for the sound of the kettle. Watch your mind. It’s a beautiful way to work in some digestion boosting, attention focusing, self care goodness into your day!
Those are my top five for the moment friends!
- Remember the power of your mind.
- Pay attention to your poop.
- Start Dry Brushing.
- Become a tongue scraper.
- Drink CCF tea.
These are five things you can realistically practice every single day. Every day you can remember the power of you mind. Hopefully, you poop every day! Dry brushing and tongue scrapping are great, easy, helpful morning practice, and everyone can use some warm water every day. I hope these simple practices bring more awareness, goodness, and well-being into your day.
If you want to learn more of the ways to take good care of yourself with Ayurveda check out the Self Care Rituals from Ayurveda course. It will lead you through two weeks of simple, guided dinacharya, or self care practices from this ancient tradition. It includes everything from hair care, to gum and teeth care, to skin and breathing and more. Every day explains a new ritual in under 15mins and by the end of two weeks you’ll have all the information you need to build your own practice.
This blog is also an Ayurveda podcast you can listen to here!