Rituals in Ayurveda are highly important. Rituals are a form of self-care. They represent a time when we devote our attention and intention to bettering ourselves and our lives.
So, what is a ritual? A ritual is similar to a routine, but there are subtle differences between the two. A routine is the regular performance of an activity with intention and effort. Routines help us bring about regularity with our digestion, elimination, alertness, and sleep. They also help with stress, anxiety and overall well-being.
A ritual, on the other hand, is the performance of an activity with a sense of ceremony, awe, celebration and emotion. In a ritual, there is a heightened focus on the way the tasks are performed and how it makes us feel.
Essentially, you can create a ritual out of any activity: your morning tea or coffee, journaling, meal preparation. Ultimately, you decide the moments you want to celebrate with a sense of purpose and feeling.
Important Ayurveda Rituals
Here are a few examples of Ayurveda rituals that can help improve overall quality of life.
In Ayurveda, Abhyanga is an integral part of the morning ritual. Abhyanga is a form of self-massage with warm oil that not only feels good, but also helps improve health by increasing circulation and detoxification, softening the skin, toning the muscles, calming the nervous system, improving sleep, and lubricating the joints.
It’s important to note that oiling in Sanskrit is called sneha, which translates to love. Abhyanga is essentially the practice of loving self-massage, which makes this act a beautiful and nourishing ritual to embrace.
Another Ayurvedic ritual is taking Chyawanprash in the morning. This herbal jam was created nearly 5,000 years ago by the respected sage, Chywan, to improve overall health and increase longevity. Just 1-2 teaspoons each morning enhances respiratory, circulatory, and digestive health to boost energy, stimulate immunity, sharpen clarity and focus, and increase the body, mind, and spirit connection for lightness of being.
In order to consume Chyawanprash correctly, one must consume it with purpose and intention: the Sanskrit root word ‘prash’ means ‘to consume artfully’. Taking Chyawanprash is therefore a perfect ritual to incorporate in your mornings.
Meditation practice is important for developing mental, emotional and physical well-being. Meditation helps to improve your willpower and discipline, and meditating at the same time every day helps to regulate your natural cycles. The act of meditation is truly a form a self-care that we can transform into a ritual.
Affirmations & Mantras
We can also make a ritual out of repetition of affirmations or mantras. Affirmations are a form of neuro linguistic programming. When we repeatedly think thoughts or say statements, our minds start to re-wire and create neural pathways toward a particular state or being. Over time, it becomes automatic. We literally become what we think and do.
As you look to incorporate rituals in your life, consider the areas that could use more mindfulness. When we realize and harness the power of rituals, we can start to transform our actions into moments of celebration and purpose.
Reviewed by Dr. Jayant Lokhande, MD (Botanical Drugs), MBA (Biotechnology)