When we think of Ayurveda, often times the first thing that comes to mind is diet, medicine and yoga. While Ayurveda is undoubtedly one of the most comprehensive systems of nutrition and medicine ever created, it doesn't stop there. To live an Ayurvedic lifestyle, you need to take into account all aspects of life. Routine, sensory input, and sleep are just a few of the lifestyle aspects you should also pay attention to. Here are some of the best ways that you can implement an Ayurvedic lifestyle.
Follow a Daily Routine
The dinacharya tradition (meaning 'daily routine') is of huge importance to people practicing Ayurveda. Ayurveda recognizes that a consistent daily routine can be instrumental for helping people develop clarity of mind, accountability, vitality, and overall health. Daily routines will differ for people with different doshas - for example, a routine that helps to bring balance to a Vata may disrupt a Pitta. The important thing is to develop a routine that helps your specific constitution.
Watch What You're Watching (and Sensing)
One of the lesser-known aspects of Ayurveda is the insistence on controlling your sensory input. The things that you hear, see, and touch have an influence on your physical and mental health. For this reason, it's important to avoid sensory input that could generate unhealthy emotions (like watching the news or violent movies) and include things that produce positive emotions and responses (such as a gentle massage or a nature walk).
Ayurveda stresses the importance of a healthy and consistent sleep schedule. Both oversleeping and undersleeping can promote the development of tamas, an undesirable energy that can produce lethargy and ignorance. If you have difficulty sleeping, make sure that you try to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day. Don't eat heavy foods before bed, and avoid screens and artificial light for at least an hour before bed.
Ayurveda believes that good health is the result of properly integrating body, mind, and spirit. When all three are harmonized, an individual will possess much vitality and will be generally free from disease. One of the simplest ways to unite the body, mind, and spirit is to practice meditation daily. One of the best times to do this is early in the morning - before 6 AM. Between 2 AM and 6 AM, we are in Vata time - a light and etheric time of day, and an ideal time for creative expression and thought to surface. After 6 AM (until 10 AM), we are in Kapha time, during which the energies of earth and water are at their peak. This time can be difficult to awaken and many people find that they are slow and sluggish when rising during Kapha time.
An Ayurvedic lifestyle is much more than a simple diet plan. Ayurveda touches on every imaginable aspect of our health and wellness, and if you learn how to apply these lifestyle techniques you will find yourself on the path to wellness.
Written by Nigel Ford