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Twelve tips on being an Ayurvedic Yogi

October 29, 2008

Here are some tips to bring Ayurveda and Yoga into your daily life. Try mastering one a month, leaving No 12 till last!

  1. Learn about your Ayurvedic dosha (psycho somatic constitution) to understand your individual constitution. Use this Ayurvedic ‘toolbox’ to learn about which diet, lifestyle, relationships, and even type of yoga are appropriate for you, and the season.
  2. Try and wake up as near to 6am as you can. Before 6am is Vata time and waking then makes one feel  energetic and light. After 6am until 10am is Kapha time. Waking up during this time is likely to make you feel groggy, which can build up over time.
  3. Start the day with a daily self massage to nourish skin and ease your mind. Use a warm oil such as sesame oil, or another pure oil suitable for your skin type. Massage all over, starting from your feet or the head. Leave on for 5-15 minutes before you shower to remove excess oil and toxins and improve circulation.
  4. Follow your shower with a few rounds of Yogic sun salutes to warm up the body, some pranayama (such as energising Kappalabhati (Shining Skull breath), and finish with a few minutes meditation or quietly watching the breath. You will notice how much calmer your day is if you make the effort first thing. Make it a good habit!
  5. Take organic Aloe Vera juice every morning on an empty stomach, to help clear excess Pitta energy (heating), nourish the liver, protect the digestive system and purify the skin.¬† Pukka Herbs sell a tasty one (NB: Don’t take if you are pregnant). To get the digestion going drink a spicy tea, such as freshly squeezed lemon and grated ginger, or just hot water to cleanse the digestive tract.
  6. Drink water at room temperature throughout the day, as this is cleansing and, unlike ice cold water, does not disturb Vata dosha. It keeps the channels of circulation open, helps eliminate impurities and literally washes the tissues clean.
  7. Eat your largest meal at lunchtime, between 12 and 1pm, when Pitta dosha is most active and digestion strongest. Don’t eat too much raw food, but if you do want to, have it at lunchtime and in Summer rather than in Winter.
  8. Eat freshly prepared foods which suit your dosha, avoiding leftovers, which are low in ‘pranic energy’, and chew food as much as you can, because good digestion begins in the mouth. Watching TV whilst you eat, or talking too much, will disturb your digestion, as will eating on the run.
  9. In all things in life try to avoid extremes – too little, too much, too cold, too hot. Always aim for a good balance. If you feel like the odd piece of cake, go for it, but enjoy every mouthful with awareness and don’t feel guilty about it!
  10. Try to maintain a regular routine of your daily activities, and to cook for yourself at least once a day. Homemade food, cooked with love, nourishes the soul.
  11. Go to sleep as soon after 10pm as often you can, so you can benefit from the period between 10pm and 2am, when Pitta dosha is active. This is a time when your metabolic system is cleaning the body, so if you are sleeping you support the purification.
  12. Try and be content with a calm mind. Appreciate the good things in your life on a daily basis, and try not to react to the difficulties. Know when to make an effort and when to surrender to life’s circumstances with grace and a smile.