Ever wondered what Ayurveda is and how to implement basic Ayurvedic principles into your life? In this run-down, 21Ninety uncovers how Ayurveda (‘Science of Life’ in Sanskrit) can enhance your life quality and revitalize your approach to wellness. Read on to find out how an Ayurvedic specialist recommends incorporating these 5 simple practices into your routine.

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is often described as an individualized holistic system originating from India. It is rooted in the understanding that the body has three principle energies, or three doshas. These three doshas are vata, pitta, and kapha. Together, these principles represent the basic biology of the body. Within Ayurvedic teachings, everyone and everything has these three principles within them. To identify each one, you can distinguish them through characteristics:

Vata is the energy of space and air. It relates to breathing, the nervous system, heartbeat pulsations and muscle and joint mobility.

Pitta is the energy of fire and water. It relates to digestion, the body’s metabolic system, nutrition, anger and body temperature.

Kapha is the element of water and earth. It relates to emotional regulation, lubrication, the immune system and the body’s structure.

Ayurvedic Practitioner Simmi Chopra tells 21Ninety that Ayurveda is “a journey of self-awareness, to be mindful of one’s affinities and tendencies, so that one can optimize the inputs, to create a balance in the three functional energies that are an integral part of each of us”.

What are 5 Ayurvedic practices that impact well-being? 

Abhyanga – massage

“Incorporating daily abhyanga, or massage with oil, would lend nicely to the dinacharya (daily rituals),” Chopra said.

Abhyanga helps balance the doshas and is both extremely rejuvenating and comforting. Those looking to relax and indulge in some pampering will appreciate this practice. It is also worth considering different oils to use for your massage.

“There are several different oils for different imbalances in the body. If there is more pitta in our body, then coconut oil is recommended, if too much vata then use sesame oil, if too much kapha, then mustard oil is a great option,” Chopra said. 

According to Chopra, the benefits of abhyanga with ayurvedic oils like kottamchukadi, dhanwantarm, sahacharadi are tremendous in degenerative conditions, numbness, pain, and other health conditions.

Herbal face masks

Ayurveda is all about personalization. In this sense, even creating face masks is an individualized experience.

“The herbs chosen are aligned with skin type and what dosha is prominent in the person. If the person has too much redness or is prone to rashes or burning, then pitta energy is imbalanced, so cooling herbs like lodhra, chandan, etc will be used.” she said.

Dry skin relates to a vata imbalance and on the contrary, oily skin relates to an imbalance in kapha, hence the need for drying herbs. All of this should be considered when choosing herbs for the face mask.  In this, there is a reminder to make good use of kitchen spices and ingredients such as tomato, cucumber, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, etc.

Neti pot cleansing

This practice is called jal neti in Ayurveda and yoga. Chopra explains that jal means water and neti means to guide.

“The practice guides the water to irrigate the nasal passages.  It removes excess mucus, pollutants, allergens, maintains healthy nasal and sinus lining, and clears the sinuses. When the nasal passages are clear, the breath that you inhale, or the prana, is optimized,” Chopra said. 

Tongue scraping

The benefits of this Ayurvedic tradition are numerous and worth paying attention to. According to Ayurveda, the tongue has a connection to the heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, spleen, and stomach. 

“Beyond this, it also removes bad breath and removes toxins, stimulates, massages, and cleanses the associated organs and deep tissues,” explained Chopra.

Mindful eating

The final Ayurvedic practice for rejuvenation is mindful eating, which is about inviting balance in eating habits and choices.

“It’s a good idea to eat according to the functional energies. It’s best to consult with an Ayurvedic doctor who can find the imbalance and guide you with the right diet and lifestyle suitable to bring balance in body and mind,” Chopra said.

Chopra speaks on the need to intimately know your constitution but also grasp some general tips.

“Generally, eat the heaviest and protein-rich meal during lunch when your digestive strength is at its peak, also called agni in Ayurveda, which literally means fire,” she added.

Warm and light meals are best for breakfast and dinner, when Chopra says kapha energy is prominent.

Other Ayurvedic practices that work wonders for body care and skin health and hygiene

“Nasya, which is putting 1-2 drops of oil in each nostril, is one of the best techniques to balance the mind and hormones. There are different Ayurvedic oils, such as ksheerabala 101, but one can use sesame oil or ghee instead. Ayurvedic oils tend to require the guidance of an Ayurvedic doctor,” Chopra advised.

Medicated oils are other Ayurvedic staples to consider.

“Pour medicated oils on the forehead as a practice. These are amazing for depression and anxiety” noted Chopra.

Ayurveda helps promote ease by encouraging the habit of listening to the body. If a being busy 24/7 is your downfall, this one simple trick will decrease stress. Chopra says one of the main principles of Ayurveda is to follow the circadian rhythm of nature and your body. Eat, sleep and wake up at the same time in accordance with nature to improve and rejuvenate your wellness habits.

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