From yogis to wellness fanatics, to eco-conscious spiritualists, Ayurveda may be a new practice that has come across your path in the last five or so years. However, Ayurvedic remedies and practices have been around for thousands of years and can help you live a harmonious life.
This is a guide to the 10 most popular Ayurvedic remedies designed to align your body-mind-spirit connection and return you to a state of optimal health.
Popular Ayurvedic Remedies
Possibly one of the best and most well known Ayurvedic remedies is tongue cleaning. This daily morning practice gently removes unwanted toxins (ama) from the tongue and mouth. By doing so, it significantly reduces the possibility of an imbalance in your digestive and gastrointestinal system.
With your mouth open and tongue extended out, place the tongue cleaner towards the back of your tongue and gently scrape the coating on your tongue forward and out of the mouth. Rinse your tongue cleaner and repeat a few times until your tongue is clean.
You may be familiar with oil pulling and its benefits already, but did you know this trendy practice has its roots in Ayurveda? Oil pulling is the ritual of swishing oil in your mouth and through your teeth for up to 20 minutes to support overall health. Practicing daily will help remove toxins from your mouth, strengthen your gums and eliminate bad breath.
Ayurveda suggests choosing a balancing oil for your dosha type when practicing. Use sesame oil if you are Vata dominant because it is warm and heavy. Pitta is recommended to use coconut oil because it is cool and heavy. Try sunflower oil if you are Kapha dominant because it is light and dry.
Dry Brushing – Garshana
For clear and smooth skin, Ayurveda suggests practicing garshana (pronounced gar-shun-uh) as needed. Garshana is a massage known as dry brushing. It is a popular Ayurvedic remedy to detoxify the lymphatic system and refresh your skin. Our lymphatic system is essentially our body’s sewer system and does not move on its own, so it is important to practice this regularly. The lymphatic system needs intentional stimulation. However, garshana can be invigorating and is best for Kapha types and during the spring season. Vata and Pitta types should enjoy as needed.
The art of massage! Abhyanga is an Ayurvedic massage with healing oils. It is one of the biggest expressions of self-love and will help improve self-esteem by deeply nourishing your entire body.
Administered by a practitioner or at home for yourself, abhyanga improves the function of your:
- Immune system
- Helps stabilizes your mind
- Reduces injuries to the body by keeping muscles and joints fluid
- Increases circulation and lymphatic drainage
- Promotes longevity
This is a deeply balancing practice for Vata dosha.
You can practice this remedy prior to your morning shower. Allow at least 20 minutes for the oil to absorb into your skin before rinsing off. This is a good time to meditate and breathe. Afterwards, wash as normal and then pat your skin dry to complete.
Jala Neti is a yoga and Ayurvedic remedy that cleanses the nasal passageway and alleviates congestion. It is a popular practice especially during winter and spring as we enter into the cold and flu season. Neti removes excess mucus, clears respiratory irritants and improves intake of sensory impressions. In the yogic tradition, it is said that the nose is the gateway to our consciousness. It is essential for the absorption of prana, our vital life-force energy. Practicing Jala Neti once a week will help maintain clear channels for optimal pranic flow.
Nasya is an Ayurvedic remedy that provides complete nourishment for the sinus, nose, throat and head through the administration of medicinal oils into the nasal passageway. This is an extremely balancing practice for Vata dosha, but is beneficial for all doshas to help relieve nasal congestion, clear stagnation, improve breathing and lubricate the nasal passageway. Adding a few drops of medicated oil into each nostril creates a protective barrier from outside toxins, pollen and pollutants in the environment that support a healthy immune system.
Practice nasya prior to pranayama or before bed. Be sure to always practice following Jala Neti.
This is the perfect Ayurvedic remedy to do after you’ve been staring at a screen all day, or feel excess pitta energy such as intensity, jealousy, criticism, anger or judgement. The eyes are directly connected to the Pitta dosha and therefore by practicing eye washing you can directly relieve irritation, reduce inflammation and increases blood circulation around the eye.
Meditation is a mind and body practice that has a long history of use for reducing stress and anxiety, lowering depression, minimizing inflammation in the body, helps develop self-awareness, improves memory and focus, and improves sleep. Ayurveda encourages the practice of meditation to help restore balance to an individual and assist their spiritual growth.
A simple start to meditation can be practiced by sitting in a calm environment, closing your eyes, breathing into your lower belly, and then chanting the sounds So Hum (I Am).
For more techniques, discover Different Types of Meditation.
The quality of your breath is the quality of your life. Ayurveda encourages the practice of pranayama, controlled breathing, to provide the body with vital life-force energy. Through intentional breathing techniques we can target a specific area in the body to bring healing.
Try this: Lunar pranayama is a breathing technique in which you only breathe in and out of your left nostril. Simply use your right thumb to block your right nostril, and breathe in and out through your left nostril.
The left nostril is connected to your ida nadi, and promotes relaxation. This Ayurvedic remedy reduces body heat and calms the mind.
Digestive tea is a widely popular Ayurvedic remedy for its ability to stoke and strengthen your agni (digestive fire). It is important to have strong agni to promote optimal digestion and absorption of nutrients. Low agni makes it difficult to digest food, which can cause indigestion, gas, bloating or nausea.
We suggest always starting your day with digestive tea. One of the best teas to start your day with is warm water and PIOR Living Chyawanprash. The advantages of starting your day with Chyawanprash come from its main ingredient, Amla Berry, which is a powerful antioxidant. The accompanying 30+ natural botanicals and ingredients deliver the perfect balance of digestive stimulants and tonifying tonics, supporting your overall well being.
The beautiful thing about Ayurvedic remedies is that they are all natural and help support overall health. As you begin to incorporate these remedies into your life, notice the shift in how your feel physically, mentally and spiritually.
Clare Michalik, Ayurvedic Practitioner
“Meditation: In Depth.” National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation-in-depth.