How Can I Support Myself with Ayurveda as I get Older?
Thank you for your question. Time, ah time, what a phenomena. I feel like I’ve been in a time/space vortex for the last year or so. But being still has allowed me to see the comings and goings of the seasons first hand, and what a treat that is. This is the nuts and bolts of Ayurveda: the shifting of time and space and how we respond to it with grace. Ayurveda gives us tools to feel vibrant, happy and at ease throughout the phases of our life. It is not a linear continuum, but a process of constant response to differing inner and outer worlds.
What happens as we get older
Ayurveda doesn’t assume that we will just degenerate and accumulate chronic disorders with age. Rather, Ayurveda projects how we're prone to get weaker, both on an individual, constitutional level as well as at different stages of our life. It then shows us how we can lighten this load, prevent disease, and find balance where imbalance has set in.
A few general things to do with doshas we should be aware of:
- As I mentioned in this article, there are three stages of life in Ayurveda, and each has a dosha / set of qualities associated with it. They are the things that are needed for that stage, as well as the things that could accumulate and get out of balance. Childhood = kapha age (growth and accumulation); Middle Age = pitta (fire, passionate learning + transformation); Old Age = vata (letting go, artistic creativity, tuning into the ether ready for next passage).
- So we want to watch our pitta and vata doshas as we get older, and make sure we harness their supportive ways, rather than falling victim to them (imbalance of them could include: becoming angry, despairing, anxious, depressed and energetically all over the place).
- We need to keep agile and lubricated in body and mind, and as clear and bright as possible. Making sure our digestive systems are properly functioning, and our breath remains an anchor and source of vitality and liberation.
Cleansing the body and mind and having ways of letting go
- We accumulate a lot through the course of our life, in both our body and mind. So we need practices that allow us to let go of these things.
- In our body they show up as toxicity lining the channels. Stopping proper absorption, meaning less nourishment, harder work for our system, and a general backlog of lethargy in our being.
- Then there’s all the layers of stuff, people, ideas and experiences that we cling to in our mind and therefore body. This is some build up, I tell you, and we really need to work out how to let go of it all. This is the ultimate lightening of our load.
- This is why I urge people to cleanse their bodies and practice meditation. Here is a link to Burgs website, who is the best meditation and vipassana teacher I know of. And do get in touch with me here if you would like to be supported in a cleanse.
Breathing out (and in) as a deep and easy daily practice
- If there is one daily practice I would recommend it would be: breathing!
- This could come in the form of simple Resonance Breathing, or full on Pranayama practice.
- Resonance Breathing is the slow inhalation and exhalation through our nose. first through the left nose (in and out — while covering the right nostril), followed by the same on the right side (with left nostril covered up), followed by alternate nostrils (in through left, out through right, in through right, out through left - and repeat).
- The Breathing App: is the most wonderful app to help you with Resonance Breathing, created by Eddie Stern, Deepak Chopra and Moby, here is a link to it. It is simple and effective. It allows you to control the length of your breathing session as well as the timings of the in and out breath. All the while giving you a beautiful relaxing tone as a soundtrack and timer.
- For Pranayama practice, I highly recommend Robert Moses’ online classes, he is a brilliant teacher and you can do his classes anywhere (as they are online). Here is a link to his website.
General medicinal extra nourishment?
- Not just because Pior makes them, but truly because they are the best medicines for every constitution, I recommend you eat Chyawanprash, and add Ghruta to your diet and routine. They are beautifully supportive medicines that nourish and lubricate the nervous system, as well as helping replenish the subtle channels. Especially after a cleanse!
- Here is a link to more info on Chyawanprash, and here's a little info on Ghruta.
- Take one teaspoon of chyawanprash first thing in the morning, followed by a little warm water, and then add Ghruta to your food, or take a teaspoon about half an hour after the chyawanprash each morning - also followed by a mug of warm water.
And in the end, it's about creating space so you can listen to what you need. Space is the domain of potential and creativity. The above practices are all ways of making extra room in your life. And once you have that, take the time to close your eyes, being with what you are and what you have, and from there, feel into where you could do with extra nourishment. You are the wisest guru for yourself, it is just about having the time, space and confidence to know this. And it doesn't take long to tune in once you know how.
By Selina Van Orden