‘Ayer..what?!’ – is the most common reply when I tell someone that I help people as an Ayurvedic lifestyle consultant. While I explain to them that Ayurveda is the sister science of yoga, an ancient healing system like Chinese medicine and that it is about being able to heal yourself without medicine, this still doesn’t say it all. But instead of writing a whole blog about the history and theory of Ayurveda, I’ve decided to give you some basic tools on how to integrate Ayurvedic principles into your lifestyle to achieve immediate results, get more energy and to become more happy and healthy by using Ayurvedic wisdom yourself!
In Ayurveda there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. Every person is in need of a personal approach. We all have different bodies with different needs. Ayurveda knows this and believes that your approach to living, growing and healing should reflect this too. Diets, sports, medicines, careers that work for others may not work for you. For example; maybe you’re constitution is pitta, and you have a lot of fire and energy in you. What wouldn’t serve you is to eat spicy food and do extreme exercises such as kick boxing or crossfit, while for others this can be good. Learn more about your personal constitution to find out what serves you best. What is always a good idea is to just listen what your body says to you; don’t eat when you’re not hungry; go to bed when you’re tired, even if it is only nine o’clock. This may come across as common sense – which in a way it is – but we tend to ignore this voice within a lot and act different instead, most likely in less healthy ways.
Talking about bedtimes; you’ll be surprised to find out what kind of effect it will have on your energy level when you go to bed early (around ten) and rise early (around six). The hours before twelve o’clock count double and these are also the hours that your digestive system will do the most work while you’re sleeping. So don’t be surprised when you’ll even loose some weight just by adjusting your bedtime! Try it for at least 21 days and you will have a great effect on more levels. While you’re at it; make a morning routine for yourself! It will bring you peace and calmness. The less you have to think about making decisions, the less stress your body will experience. Make it a habit to get up after the first time your alarm clock rings. Yes this can be hard and challenging (try to put you alarm on the other side of the room in order to get up more easily), but you’ll get used to it. And don’t forget; staying in bed and snoozing is like you’re saying no to life , so don’t do it!
When you eat a meal your body needs time to process the food before having another meal. If your body is still busy processing the first meal, it simply can’t handle more food. Give your body time to digest the first meal before eating more. If you don’t do that you’ll probably feel bloated and tired because your digestive system can’t handle it! In Ayurveda it’s common to leave more hours between meals and not to eat when you’re not hungry. If you’re a vata type you’re blessed with a more quick digestive system though; you can eat after 2/3 hours. If you’re pitta or especially kapha you need more time. Talk to an Ayurvedic lifestyle consultant in order to receive a good food schedule and diet plan that suits your constitution best.
Another food trend right now is to eat everything raw. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Especially in the yoga scène there are a lot of raw-foodies! As said before there is no one single diet that is “best” for everyone. Some people will do best on raw, others on macrobiotic diets. Not a lot of science has been done on how hard it is to digest raw food vs cooked food. But it has been shown that raw food uses more energy to digest and also provides the body with less energy following digestion. Bad digestion = bad health. So be aware that a 100% raw food diet can be problematic – even though it may be a good healing diet – it can create problems in the long run. While fresh fruits and raw veggies are of course a better choice than pizza or french fries, it’s not the best choice to eat 100% raw. Ayurveda generally recommends cooked foods to strengthen digestive power of Agni, decrease digestive stress, and optimize nutrient absorption. By eating predominantly cooked foods (a little raw food is absolutely fine), you help to make your digestive system more balanced which leads to the appropriate digestion of your food: the balanced production and secretion of digestive enzymes: good appetite and the correct nourishment of your tissues.
Cleaning, detoxing and letting go can be hard. Old habits and foods can have a way more emotional grab on you than you even realise before you start to remove yourself from it. But clearing away the old to make room for the new is an ancient idea that works! You can detox on a emotional, physical and mental level and it will have an incredible effect on your life if you do so. But how? There are many ways. You can clean your house, clean your desk or remove all old photos and letters (or most likely; text-messages) from old lovers or people that don’t serve you any more. Another way is to do a juice-detox for one week. There is a lot of information on detoxing which you can easily find on the internet. If you are medically challenged or take medicines, please make sure you talk to your dokter before doing a detox. When you have decided to do it; write down your detox plan and just do it. Your body and mind will thank you for it later!
According to Ayurveda your natural state is to be healthy. It’s about keeping you and your environment in balance. Pay attention to the signs that the balance is shifting, and if so do something about it in order to keep a healthy, balanced lifestyle. What are your healthy habits and routines? Let me know by leaving a message!