Ayurveda is a way of life that has been part of South Asian culture for thousands of years. A form of holistic medicine focused on promoting balance, it is considered the oldest healing science, with its literal translation being ‘science of life’.
Ayurveda is based on the premise that good health depends on striking a balance between body, mind, spirit and the environment, and its main aim is to preserve health through lifestyle, rather than treating diseases once they are prevalent.
Ayurvedic practices have seen a surge in popularity in Western culture in recent years, especially within the wellness community. Whilst the idea of living an Ayurvedic lifestyle might seem like a lot of work, especially if you already have a lot on your plate, the beauty of Ayurveda is in its simplicity, and it is something you can shape to fit your lifestyle.
Here are six easy ways to implement Ayurveda into your everyday life to reap the rewards of the holistic practice.
- Daily detox
Ayurvedic practice is replete with practices that encourage gentle daily detoxes. A conventional Ayurvedic diet is based on eating whole foods that are high in nutrients and fibre, and low in toxins. Ayurvedic practitioners focus their diet on good digestion, to allow the body to absorb maximum nutrition from the food ingested, whilst keeping intake of toxins low.
The Ayurvedic diet promotes a mainly plant-based diet, and looks fondly upon diets rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains and beans. These highly nutritious foods can encourage better digestion and ensure the body is rid of toxins, detoxing daily. By eating more plant-based meals, and reducing the processed foods you eat, you can support your body’s detoxification process, and promote gut health.
- Cooking with spices
Ayurvedic cooking is full of fragrant herbs and spices, all of which have their own unique healing properties.
Ingredients like fresh turmeric, flax seed, curry leaves, ginger, garlic and cumin are extremely popular in the Ayurvedic diet. Using more spices in your meals is an easy way to incorporate Ayurveda into your everyday life and can provide some great health benefits.
Turmeric is one of the most popular super foods in Western society, however its usage dates back thousands of years in Ayurvedic practices. It is high in antioxidants and has strong anti-inflammatory properties, so it is easy to see why it is a staple in Ayurveda. To reap the amazing benefits of turmeric, it is recommended that it is eaten in its raw form and alongside fattier foods such as avocado and nuts.
Curry leaves, on the other hand, are one of Ayurveda’s best kept secrets. Their benefits are not as widely reported, but they are rich in powerful plant compounds that function as antioxidants, playing a vital role in keeping your body healthy and free from disease.
Mindfulness and meditation are an integral part of Ayurveda, as they promote wellness of the mind. Practicing mindfulness and meditation every day is a short but effective habit that can have a huge impact on your energy levels, creativity, sense of calm and clarity of mind. It is an excellent way to slow down and tune into your body to release tension, both mentally and physically.
By paying more attention to the present moment – to your thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you – can improve your mental wellbeing and help you enjoy life more, whilst understanding others better.
- Finding balance
Ayurveda is all about balance. Organising your daily routine in advance can be a beneficial task that can help you achieve mental and physical harmony. Schedule in work time, family time, exercise and time to unwind to ensure that you are taking care of yourself, and that you have time to enjoy the things that are most important to you.
If planning your whole day seems a daunting task, try setting a morning and evening routine. When you wake up you might want to meditate, prepare a balanced breakfast and exercise to set you up for the day.
When thinking about your evening routine, it is a good idea to give yourself an hour before bed where you switch off your phone, and take some undistracted time to read, practice mindfulness and get ready for bed.
Setting these routines not only provides balance, but also offers time to focus on incorporating other elements of Ayurvedic practices into your life.
Naturally, our circadian rhythm means the optimal time to go to sleep is sometime before 10pm, and it is best to wake up before 6am, depending on the season. However, due to our busy schedules, often many of us do not make it to bed until later in the evening.
Getting a good amount of sleep is vital for our health and wellbeing, and is a central element of Ayurvedic practices, as it gives us time to rejuvenate and can also help prevent disease. By ensuring you get between 8-10 hours of sleep each night, you can not only set a regular schedule, but will also wake up feeling refreshed for the day ahead.
- Take one day at a time
When incorporating Ayurveda into your everyday life, it can be helpful to take things step by step, rather than trying to completely overhaul your life in one day.
Reflect on your current schedule and see where Ayurvedic practices could easily slot into your life. Taking this approach makes it far easier to integrate practices into your routine and will mean you are far more likely to stick with it long term.