No matter how you feel about 2020, the new year brings with it new opportunities and is a time for us to start afresh.
As the science of life, Ayurveda offers enduring principles for us to live our daily lives. To quote Nidhi Pandya, "Ayurveda is not an ancient healing system, but a complete manual for life and living".
Here are 5 Ayurvedic tips for you to start the new year right.
1. Follow a routine.
In Ayurveda, Dinacharya (which translates to ‘daily routine’ in Ayurveda) looks at the cycles of nature and plan daily activities around these cycles.
As one of the most powerful Ayurvedic tools for boosting overall health and wellbeing, routines are grounding and nurturing and help establish balance. The idea is simple: if you exercise, eat and sleep at the same time every day, your body will respond with better digestion, sleep and immunity.
Creating an appropriate daily routine is more important than a perfect combination of habits and practices. Don’t try to overhaul your entire life in a single day- we recommend starting with a single thing and keeping to it for at least 21 days to make it a habit.
2. Spend time in Nature
If there is one thing that quarantine life has taught us, it is appreciating the beauty of Nature. Spending time outside makes you healthier and happier. All you need is a few minutes of being outside each day to soak in all the goodness that Mother Nature has to offer!
Try grounding (also known as earthing), a therapeutic technique of connecting with the Earth, and it can be as simple as walking barefoot in grass. There’s a science behind it: humans are bioelectrical beings that carry a positive charge while Earth has a negative charge, so when we make contact through grounding, we discharge our excess energy and produce a healing effect at the cellular level!
3. Have an attitude of gratitude.
The mind-body connection is real: gratitude is a mental activity that impacts the physical activity of the brain. A 2003 study on the effect of counting your blessings showed fewer health complaints and heightened well-being.
Ayurveda reminds us of the power of intention to manifesting our blessings. Prana (life force) follows focus, which means that whatever you place your attention on is naturally attracting energy and being magnified. With regular practice, having an attitude of gratitude will help you experience a deeper sense of purpose and connection and overall positivity.
Write down three things you are grateful for each day - we love using the Five-Minute Journal as a simple tool for a mindset shift. Given the year we’ve had, we all need an extra dose of gratitude and optimism!
4. Cultivate good eating habits.
According to Ayurveda, the most important factor in your wellbeing is the quality of your digestion. Good digestion does not just prevent disease, it also creates healthy tissue and give you lightness and energy.
We all know the importance of proper nutrition, but how you eat is just as important as what you eat in Ayurveda. Here are some practical tips to improve your digestion:
- Eat slowly and mindfully. Ayurveda believes that if you don't actively appreciate your food, your body won't either.
- Eat at regular times of the day so your body has time to fully digest each meal.
- Eat your largest meal at lunchtime when the sun is at its strongest and your Agni is at its peak.
- Sip hot water through the day- iced water is a no-no in Ayyurveda because it extinguishes your Agni.
- Rest your digestion and detox occasionally with a seasonal cleanse!
Being busy is glorified in today’s society, causing us to overextend ourselves with appointments, obligations and responsibilities. With social media and modern technology, there is also added pressure to be accessible 24/7 and always be ‘on’.
It’s time to prioritize sleep in our busy lives. Considered one of the key pillars of optimal health, sleep is when your body and mind can rest, reset, detoxify, and rejuvenate, and iy helps restore your body for periods of wakefulness. Ayurveda recommends going to bed by 10 o’clock for more restorative sleep and rising before the sun does.
Try going to sleep at the same time every night and stick to a calming, screen-free routine to set you up for a good night’s sleep!
While you may have a preconceived idea of what it is like to live Ayurvedically in your mind, remember that Ayurveda is all about a life of balance.
If you are constantly trying to check off a list and be perfect, this approach can actually do more harm than good. It is also okay to acknowledge that changing something may be too difficult for your current circumstances (global pandemic, anyone?) and give yourself permission to change the timeline. Consistency is key, as is finding joy with your new habits.
Here's to a wonderful start to the New Year for everyone!