If you have never heard of Ayurveda, here’s the skinny: Ayurveda translates to ‘knowledge of life’ or ‘science of life’. Ayurveda is to India what Traditional Chinese Medicine is to China. Ayurveda is about living in communion with the shifts of the seasons and the rhythms of the sun and moon throughout the day. It is an ancient practice that both supports wellness and recovers health. The principles are universal and can be practiced by anyone with a desire to feel more connected to their health and well-being. You will also be setting yourself up for your next seasonal detox, primed, and ready to release toxins on a deeper level!
You might have either participated in one of my detoxes or you’ve detoxed before, and if that’s the case, then you’ve already begun to practice one of the Ayurvedic principles. But even if you haven’t – by adding these 5 simple practices into your daily routine, you will increase your body’s ability to withstand the stress of daily life and the toxins you cannot help but be affected by.
Incorporate some new habits this fall and begin to add at least a couple of these 5 practices into your routine. Do them sequentially and stay with it.
1. Banish Bad Breath – Upon rising, eliminate, brush your teeth and scrape your tongue. Did you know that you will remove more sticky plaque from your mouth with a metal tongue scraper than you will by brushing your teeth? Here’s a simple video to show you how it’s done. Do this before put anything into your belly.
2. Rinse Your Belly – By now, you have an understanding that a clean digestive system works so much more efficiently and uses less energy that a clogged up, gummy one. To keep your system clean and start with a clean stomach, drink 16 – 20 ounces of warm water first thing, (squeeze some fresh lemon juice for added alkalinity and vitamin C). This has three primary effects for your body.
- Number One – Okay, actually it’s about ‘number two’. It is especially helpful to promote movement and train the body so that you will eliminate through the bowels more easily.
- Number Two – Clean, pure, warm, body temperature water first thing in the morning will help to clear out any leftovers in the stomach. This way yesterday’s food that may not have fully digested will not mix with today’s undigested food, kind of like getting a new plate for your breakfast instead of using the dirty one from last night’s dinner.
- Number Three – It hydrates you! Your body wakes up dehydrated. It’s been starved for water for at least 8 hours. Optimally your body is about 70% water, so when you start your day with warm water all your internal electrical systems will flow; you will feel better and you will think better -which means you will make better food choices. Better food choices now means that your next seasonal detox will release a little more deeply.
3. Oil Pulling – It’s the simple practice of swishing raw coconut oil or sesame oil in your mouth for 5-20 minutes. This practice removes mucus, bacteria, viruses, fungi; boosts immunity, clarifies skin, brightens teeth, and decreases inflammation in the mouth.
- Oil pull right after you drink your warm water in the morning.
- Melt 1-2 tsp of coconut butter in your mouth, swish around your mouth for 5 minutes working up to 20 minutes every morning.
- Spit it out in the trash
- Rinse your mouth with warm water then brush teeth
4. Oil Up – The daily practice of Abhyanga is a hot oil self-massage. This one practice will nourish your skin and body on a level that is superior to any other skin treatment. Remember, you skin is your largest organ. Once you start the habit, you’ll find it doesn’t take long to add it to you daily morning routine.
How to Abhyanga 101
- Warm your oil to body temperature (raw sesame oil is a good one to start with). If you’d like, you can add several drops of essential oil such as lavender to relax or peppermint to energize.
- Stand on an old towel, or you can oil yourself in the shower, just make sure you are running hot water in your shower so your pipes don’t clog up from the oil.
- Pour a small amount into your hand and add oil as you need it.
- Massage into hands. Then begin with the neck, working your way down towards your feet, because this is a grounding massage. Use long strokes on the bones and circular strokes on the joints. Until you reach the feet.
- When done, get into a hot shower, and let the hot water rinse over you. The hot water will open your pores and press the oil into the skin. This is not only nourishing but protective. If you want to use soap, use it on your pits and privates. There is enough chlorine and other detergents in the water to ‘clean’ you.
- Dry off as you normally would.
Since we are going into Vata season, I have to mention one more oiling practice that I actually practice everyday – Nasal Oiling.
5. Nasal Oiling – The number one benefit of naysa oil (oils that are plant infused) is that it pacifies Vata. Fall is Vata season so one of the best ways to avoid aggravating the Vata dosha in the fall is through this daily practice. Other benefits: strengthens the immune system, clears the nasal passage for improved oxygenation, clears the nervous system, balances the mind, keeps the mucus membranes lubricated so there’s less chance of nose bleeds in dry environments (such as heated homes during the winter months).
The simple way to oil your nose:
Use sesame oil, coconut oil, or nasya oil. Pour a small amount in a teaspoon, dap your pinky in the oil and coat each nostril making sure you inhale the oil deep into your sinus cavity.
The traditional way:
Lie down on a comfortable surface with a towel under your head and neck. While tilting your head back, take a deep inhalation and exhalation, then drop ½ an eye dropper of the oil into one nostril. Inhale deeply and then repeat in the other nostril. Gently press the tip of your nose upward and inhale deeply.
I personally take the time each night to do the traditional method using a Nasya oil called ‘serenity’ from Dr Mary Jo Cravatta at Shaktiveda.com
These practices are simple, easy, and extremely nourishing to our body. You’re not only loving and taking care of your body, but your are also helping to promote daily detox in a toxic world.
Enjoy them & happy VATA season!