Yoga + meditation allow you to slow down, take in your surroundings, appreciate your health, focus your energy on your breathing // stillness, + encourage positivity. These practices improve flexibility of the body // mind ++ overall wellness. Meditation is one of the many powerful tools used for balancing the mind // body through ancient Ayurvedic medicine —
Originating from Indian culture, Ayurveda is an ancient approach to medicine + healing. It is a traditional holistic healing method with the main goal of balancing the body // mind. *Ayur* means life + *veda* means science or knowledge, so *Ayurveda* literally translates to the science of life. This lifestyle is about intuitively understanding the physiology of the mind // body relationship to find balance throughout one’s entire life, based on two guideline principles —
1] The mind+body are inextricably connected
2] Nothing has more power to heal // transform the body than the mind
>> Colorful // flavorful diet — include all six Ayurvedic tastes [sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, + astringent] to hit all major food groups // nutrients + fill your plate with the entire rainbow [foods that are deep blue, purple, red, green, or orange are high in antioxidants + boost immunity // overall health].
>> Sleep — 6-8 hours each night for our beautiful bodies to be able to rest, repair + rejuvenate
>> Live in tune with nature — aka “having healthy desires that match what you actually need.” As in nature, when you’re in balance, what you want and what you need won’t be in conflict. You’ll naturally desire only what nurtures your health // life to flow in harmony with your body’s natural rhythms.
>> Exercise — listen to your body’s messages! Pay close attention to all the important signals your body sends you, since it lives in the *here + now* it knows the truth + will guide you through most evolutionary choices along your journey.
>> Strengthen your digestive power — to be able to fully metabolize the nutritional, emotional, + sensory FUEL we ingest [a robust digestive energy, agni, creates healthy tissues, eliminates *waste* efficiently, + produces a subtle essence called ojas, the source of our vitality, basis for clarity of perception, strength, + immunity ++ flow of energy, information, + nourishment.
>> Take it easy — It’s all about the approach to align with nature, rather than forcing things that are not meant to be. Nature functions with effortless ease, so *blossom* as frictionlessly + spontaneously as a flower does! Be intuitive, holistic, + nourishing. Take a breath + and take it easy. Let your actions by motivated + your life be held together // guided by the energy of love.
Putting a focus on balancing the mind // body works in making sure all other functions of the body run more smoothly. That’s why there are so many different branches of Ayurvedic medicine — general medicine, pediatrics, surgery, toxicology, fertility, + rejuvenation all incorporate similar basic principles.
People take a liking to Ayurvedic medicine because it is meant to help us stay vibrant + healthy while being able to realize our full human potential. It does so by expanding our awareness + cultivating an innate state of balance. During meditation the heart rate // breath slow, the body decreases production of stress hormones like cortisol // adrenaline, + there is an increase in neurotransmitters that enhance well-being like serotonin // dopamine // oxytocin // endorphins.
>> Diet modifications — the goal is to get a balance of everything you need, so aim for a full rainbow on your plate every time you eat a meal. If you’re lacking in a specific vitamin, pick up supplements! If you’re not quite getting enough protein, maybe you can buy extra lean meats next grocery shopping trip or try adding protein powder to smoothies // oatmeal! If you feel any inflammation, try foods with anti-inflammatory qualities. It’s important to pay attention + adjust to whatever your body needs.
>> Lifestyle // activity adjustments — If you feel any stress // pain in your knees or other joints, LISTEN to your body + accommodate! Take an extra rest day [or two] ++ take it easy. If you experience an injury, get a doctor’s opinion on the best way to move forward [whether that be take a break for a few weeks, use lighter weights, incorporate extra stretches into your daily routine]. If you feel fatigued all the time, maybe getting a few extra hours of sleep + drinking more water could be the cure. Listen to what your body needs you to do to maintain overall health.
>> Herbal supplements — Natural + herbal supplements are meant to help restore the body to balance. They help your body replenish the necessary amount of dietary nutrients, boost immunity, + can often treat the root cause of many diseases.
>> Yoga, breathing techniques, + meditation — The benefits of these practices are abundant! Morning yoga can boost energy // brain power + breathing techniques can be a great source of stress-relief to calm you down instantly, while practicing meditation can influence your whole perspective on life in the most positive way.
>> Energetic pressure points — Acupuncture + acupressure are both used to help so many things, including focus + fighting fatigue, as well as helping with digestive problems + boosting energy.
>> Cleansing processes — Some people might feel it necessary to go on a natural, whole-body cleanse to help start fresh or help with a specific problem. The focus of a holistic detox might be to flush toxins from your body or to commit to a reset for whatever reason, to help your mind // body reach its full potential.
Understand your unique mind-body type + the specific needs that derive from it — figure out your mind-body type here!
This isn’t a *one-size fits all* type deal — everybody is different + it’s important to recognize that not everyone needs the same things at the same time. That’s why listening to the signals your body is sending you is so, SO important. Each person has a specific, unique Ayurvedic constitution. It’s all about what works best for YOU, checking into any early signs of imbalances + figuring out what gentle // natural shifts should be made to return to a balanced state — this could mean a slight change in diet to get a nutrient you might be missing, modifying a workout routine to avoid stress // injury + allow rest, taking extra vitamins + herbal supplements, whatever your or mind // body needs.
While it’s still important to make sure you get the opinion of a doctor when experiencing illness // injury, implementing habits of a holistic lifestyle with the Ayurveda approach can be beneficial in ways that modern medicine might not always be able to provide immediate or long term help for, especially for the mind + spirit. So take it easy + spread those positive vibes : )
++ Cassie [@cassiem_inchaarg] // Belmont University