Some stress is a part of life. There are tests, presentations, major life changes and important events that affect all of us, no matter where we live. Fortunately, there are simple but effective ways that Ayurveda offers us to decrease mental and emotional suffering and increase mental and physical health. Ayurveda teaches us how to live to prevent stress before it happens and relieve it when it inevitably affects us.
If you want to feel relaxed and joyful more of the time (or if you are a practitioner and want to help your clients de-stress), stay in tune with your inner clock - also known as your circadian rhythm. This can be achieved by following the principle of Dinacaryā (daily routine), along with other practices.
Since complaints of stress and its numerous associated health problems are one of the most common things I deal with during my consultations with clients, I have dissected a typical morning Dinacaryā into 7 different tasks. These should be done in this order every day for the best results.
1. Eliminate and Detoxify
Each night, our body processes what we consumed during the day. Our body then assimilates the available nutrients and prepares any physical waste and toxins for elimination the next day. It's a sign of good health if elimination occurs soon after waking up (and about half an hour after each meal). Consistent and timely elimination is essential for the body to detoxify.
If you aren't eliminating in the morning after waking up, there are simple changes you can make to your morning routine that will help facilitate healthy detoxification and all of the benefits that come along with it.
- Take Triphala Churnam, Jiraka Arishtam or Ashta Churnam just before bed or with the warm water after waking up. These Ayurvedic remedies improve detoxification and encourage regular elimination. Please consult your Ayurvedic practitioner for correct dosage amounts and timing.
2. Wash your mouth
After drinking warm water and taking any prescribed herbs as mentioned in the first step, there are several oral hygiene practices that also hold enormous health benefits. We recommend scraping your tongue, using mouthwash and brushing your teeth, in that order. The mouth is the first organ where digestion starts so having good oral hygiene and oral health is essential for wellbeing.
Tongue scraping clears toxins and bacteria from the tongue, helps to remove coating on the tongue that leads to bad breath, helps eliminate undigested food particles from the tongue and enhances your sense of taste.
Arimedadi Mouthwash Oil works for all Doshic types and can be used in oil pulling too.
To brush your teeth, use Dasanakanti Churnam, an effective and safe dental powder. It strengthens the teeth, reduces bleeding gums and relieves toothaches and bad breath. It is both Vata and Kapha balancing.
3. Drink water
Ayurveda recommends drinking warm water in the morning with a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice and a small spoonful of honey as long as the water is warm and not hot. This simple drink cleanses the system and promotes morning eliminations and detoxification.
Avoid drinking cold water in the morning and on cold days in general because it suppresses the digestive fire.
Practice Yoga and Pranayama and go for a relaxing walk. Moderate exercise done regularly helps Vata Dosha remove blockades from the body's channels and strengthens digestion as well. Practice Yoga asanas (postures) that emphasize twists and forward folding poses to encourage elimination.
Practicing meditation can be both a mental and emotional exercise. It is also often relaxing and rejuvenating, which encourages physical elimination in and of itself.
Massing your body with herbal oil is called abhyanga. The oil can be left on for up to an hour and at least 20 minutes. When practiced daily in the morning, its benefits are immense. It strengthens the muscles, improves flow in lymphatic channels and helps remove toxins from the system. It calms the nervous system and the mind mind as it brings excess Vata back into balance.
Massaging with Bala Oil is especially strengthening for the body. A self-massage with Brahmi Oil is is particularly powerful in calming the mind and relieving anxiety and depression. Abhyanga with Dhanwantaram Oil strengthens and supports the healing of bones and muscles; it's often recommended for athletes. Balaswagandhadi Oil strengthens immunity and is often recommended during the seasonal changes to prevent colds and coughs.
After abhangya, enjoy a warm bath or shower. Bathing in in warm or hot water after abhyanga helps the herbs in the oil go deeper into your skin and also cleans off excess oil. The bath after is very calming to the mind and body and relaxes muscles. Bathing in the morning helps to begin the detoxification and elimination process
7. Eat Mindfully
Breakfast is the first meal of the day and it should be light but nourishing. A smaller portion of food that can keep you satisfied until lunch is the ideal meal.
At noon, Pitta is naturally dominant, so food will typically be digested well. Lunch is the time to have the largest meal of the day.
An early, light dinner between 5pm and 7pm is beneficial because it helps the body metabolize the food before going to bed. Late and heavy dinners interfere with sleep and is stressful for both the mind and body. Good sleep helps the body eliminate waste and toxins more effectively the next day.
Always eat slowly, calmly and in silence or with relaxing music. Difficult conversations should be left for at least 2 hours after eating so as not to disturb digestion.
The purpose of this article is to provide information about Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have serious acute or chronic health problems, please consult a trained health professional or physician. If you are seeking the health advice of a certified Ayurvedic practitioner or doctor, please call us at (800) 215 – 9934 or email us. We will provide you with the contact information of our affiliated Ayurvedic professionals. Check with your physician before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.