By Hilary Garivaltis
Here are Hilary’s Top 10 Ayurvedic Tips for Good Health. Try some or all of them for a healthier more balanced life.
1. Drink hot water every morning before drinking or eating anything else.
This practice helps to hydrate the body first thing in the morning; kindles the inner fire of digestion; helps promote the first morning evacuation. It is best to drink water that has been boiled for a few minutes. You can put a full pot on and let it boil down by ½-3/4 , turn it off and let it cool down enough to drink. The remaining water can be decanted into a glass or clay container to drink throughout the day. This particular recipe helps to change the “cold and heavy” property of water and changes it to a light and warm potency, which helps to kindle the digestive fire and is also more absorbable by the cells in the body.
2. Scrape your tongue daily
Scraping your tongue helps get rid of the film of undigested foods as well as lingering bacteria that begin to grow and take hold in the mouth overnight. It also stimulates the digestive and eliminatory system first thing in the morning as well. It is a great combination treatment with the drinking of hot water each morning. It will help to freshen the mouth and breath as well as give you a moment to evaluate whether your food is being properly digested each day. If there is a thick coating and foul odor in the mouth, we can assume that the food is not being completely and properly digested. This will be a sign to start paying attention to what you are eating. It would be a good idea to take a simple fast that day if you see a thick coating and are feeling a little sluggish.
3. Massage your body with oil daily
Massaging oil into the skin is one of the best ways to nourish the skin and keep it supple and healthy . Massage also helps move our lymphatic system which can sometimes become sluggish. Sluggish lymph will result in a feeling of general malaise and starts the domino affect of weakening our immunity. Exercise and vigorous massage are great stimulants in boosting our natural immune system and so easy to do. A simple sesame or coconut oil(mainly for the hot climates) will suffice. All parts off the body should be vigorously massaged including the scalp and feet. It is very soothing and comforting and wonderful when feeling stressed.
4. Wake early – around sunrise
The time just before the sunrise is a particularly precious time of day. There is great stillness and quiet at this time and helps us move from the unconscious state into our wakeful and conscious state in the most gently way. Getting up early allows us time to take care of ourselves first thing in the morning. If we are up early enough we can complete all our morning cleansing practices, meditate and nourish ourselves properly before the full days activities begin. There is nothing like a good start.
5. Bed before 11:00 PM
Getting to bed before the late evening energy kicks in is crucial to maintaining good health and a clear mind. Human beings are built to sleep in the dark and be awake in the light. Our deepest and most restful sleep happens anywhere from 10:00-2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. That is why it is so important to get to bed early enough to capture that part of our sleep cycle. Winding down early in the evening and staying away from stimulating substances and activities will help you begin to reset your natural clock. There are so many wonderful benefits to a deep and restful sleep and we want to make sure this is an essential part of everyone’s daily regimen. Tips: Shut down all electronic devices an hour before bed, drink a soothing cup of herbal tea, take a warm bath and oil the soles of the feet, do a few rounds of a simple breathing technique like “alternate nostril breathing” then go to bed.
6. Thirty minutes of exercise daily – bring up a sweat and engage in deep breathing
Exercise and regular movement is key to helping the body function properly. Things stagnate without movement and stagnation creates achiness, dullness and stiffness in the body. Movement keeps healthy “prana” circulating which brings vitality and vigor. 30-60 minutes is ideal. A little sweating and deep breathing are important markers to a good work out. Daily exercise is ideal but at least 4 times per week would be great.
7. Eat three moderate meals per day with no snacking
Digestion works best on a steady rhythm. We need at least 3-4 hours in between each meal to properly digest the previous meal, that is why we do not recommend snacking. If we eat a well-balanced meal of whole foods, we usually find that we can easily make it from one meal to the next without additional food. Snacking is often instigated by our emotions and not so much by our actual hunger. Be aware of when and how you eat and pay attention to what is driving your call for food. Complete digestion of our food is essential to a well functioning digestive and eliminatory system as well as our overall energy.
8. Eat whole foods, mostly plant based and freshly cooked
Eating fresh, whole foods is one of the most important components to heading off illness. What we put in our bodies sets us up for either good health or poor health. Stale, processed or improperly cooked foods are poison in our body and create something we call “ama” or “undigested food” which is considered a precursor to disease. Take time to choose your foods well and cook them properly. You will find great rewards right away.
9. Practice meditation daily to calm and still the mind
Practices to calm and still the mind are essential to over all good mental and physical health. A mind that is racing and unfocused can be the cause of so many disturbances that will ultimately affect our overall health and well-being. Finding a meditation practice that you can incorporate into everyday life can be one of the most important things you can do in your day. This is something that gets better and better the more you do it. It is both subtle and profound in its effects. The best times to do it are near sunrise and sunset. Try 5 minutes to start with and work your way up to thirty or more.
10. Fast once per week
A simple fast once per week can help reset your digestive fire and help cleanse the system on a regular basis. This can be something as simple as skipping either dinner or breakfast and drinking ginger tea or going for a full day on simple warm water and maybe a little vegetable broth. It will depend on your own personal constitution and what your body can handle.
Ayurvedic Nutrition: Know Yourself, Find Balance, Prevent Illness
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