I first learned about Ayurveda during my 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training. It was introduced to my training group as the sister science of yoga. After nearly five years of teaching in NYC, around the world, and in my current home, Los Angeles, I saw a growing discrepancy between the peace I felt on my mat and my habit of binge-shoveling tortilla chips into my mouth when I felt anxious. When I sat on my meditation cushion, I felt balanced and whole. But when I encountered the slightest feeling of vulnerability in new romantic relationships, I blew them up faster than a stick of dynamite, sending my insecurity and questions of worthiness, like shrapnel, far, far away. Eventually, I got to a point when I felt like my yoga and meditation practice were not enough. They had changed my life in many ways, and yet they still fell short. I grew hungry to bridge the gap between my spiritual practices and the most triggering parts of my life which led me to enroll in Ayurveda school. So what exactly is Ayurveda? When we look at the Sanskrit roots of the word, it translates to the English word “Biology.” Simply put, Ayurveda is the health practice of ancient India that studies the patterns of the natural world as it fluctuates from chaos to calm, and disorder to order. It looks at you as a microcosm of the natural world. For example, as the oceans grow increasingly polluted, so do the waterways of your body. It makes sense that the toxicity of our rivers and lakes trickle down into our drinking water. While we have excellent water treatment facilities here in the United States, a quick internet search of your local water report will reveal a lot of harmful pollutants that you consume by drinking from the tap and through skin absorption while showering. Ayurveda acknowledges that human health depends on the health of our planet, and vice versa. We are completely interconnected. Ayurveda looks to the relationship between micro- and macrocosm in nearly everything. It’s summarized perfectly in the old Tantric saying, “you are not just a drop in the ocean, but the entire ocean in one drop”. Through my education, I came to see Ayurveda, not as the sister science of yoga, but as the mother science. Ayurveda utilizes yoga along with meditation, food, herbal supplements, sleep, sex, and relationship to nature all as vehicles to bring you either closer or further away from balance. One of the most important practices of Ayurveda and core catalyst for change in my life has been “dinacharya”. Dinacharya is loosely translated as “morning routine” here in the Western world and is often associated with drinking warm lemon water on an empty stomach, using a neti pot and meditation. However, the Sanskrit root words translate it to “a movement towards something”. This translation implies that there is a “something” to move towards, whether that’s peace, God, joy, or simply just your own highest potential. Ayurveda believes that your morning is a microcosm for the rest of your life. When I look back on the time when I was practicing yoga and still felt unfulfilled by life off the mat, I can see how my daily choices in those first few moments of wakefulness seeped into the rest of my day. I can see how checking my email or scrolling Instagram first thing in the morning, before making my way to the meditation cushion, was a movement toward fragmented attention and the feeling that my life was unmanageable. I can see how my rush to the medicine cabinet to mindlessly brush my teeth, then running out the door without eating breakfast moved me closer to anxiety and further away from valuing my body and time. I can also see how making my morning a sacred space to care deeply and fervently for myself has had ripple effects throughout every relationship in my life, including my relationship to food. The key for me was bringing consciousness into all of it and learning to make every act, from choosing breakfast to brushing my teeth, a meditation. One of Ayurveda’s best kept secrets to move your morning toward clarity, focus and energy is Chyawanprash. This herbal blend was created nearly 5,000 years ago by the respected sage, Chywan, to improve the quality of life and increase longevity. The Sanskrit root word “prash” means to consume intentionally. You can mix it with hot water or warm milk and take it first thing in the morning to focus your mind and calm your nervous system. This makes it perfect to use before or after meditation. The act of drinking it can be a meditation in itself. Chyawanprash was brought back to the Western world more recently by PIOR Living, who deemed it the “Yogi’s Breakfast”. PIOR Living understands that the microcosm and macrocosm are one in the same. They’ve created a Chyawanprash formula using techniques that honor the traditional, Vedic practices. They are just as committed to purity as they are to sustainability, giving you ultimate Dietary Sovereignty. This means that the ingredients are organic and wildcrafted, and harvested with intentionality for maximum prana and positive impact. The creation process of this Chyawanprash is 100% green with no child labor. PIOR Living’s Chyawanprash is a collective movement towards consciousness from the farm to your morning ritual. You can order some here to help you make your morning a reflection of the life you’re creating. Written by Alex Nashton www.alexnashtonyoga.com www.instagram.com/alexnashtonyoga
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