There are many things we can do in Ayurveda to ensure maintenance of our Health.
Living in harmony with the cycles of nature are one of the key components to a healthy metabolic activity. Rising at dawn and sleeping early are beyond measure for a wellness routine. We all know those wonderful times when we have witnessed the sun arising – it brings an awakening of light to the heart. Imagine if we could start each day with this feeling. Even if you do not have view of the actual sunrise, the energy in the atmosphere is still charged at this time of day, and is ideal for our meditations and our inspirations. If you are suffering from low metabolic activity or depression, this is an important measure to recover your health.If getting up at dawn tomorrow feels too much of a sudden change to you, try setting your alarm clock 10 minutes earlier each week and gradually start enjoying the spaciousness of the morning before the duties of the day descend upon us.
Awakening into the body : A few stretches even under the blankets is an important start to the day. Enjoy being in your body- particularly important for the Vata. The cat is the fasted animal on the planet and its key is stretching upon awakening in a relaxed manner. Long slow spinal twists are fundamentals well as the cobra and child’s pose, before getting out of bed and doing 1 minute of shaking to awaken the cells of the body and detoxify. Better than a coffee – try it !
Awakening our digestive tract : Before we ingest anything , we must clean our mouth thoroughly. This ensures a good start to cleanliness of mind body and soul. The mouth is not only an organ of ingestion , it is our organ of communication. Clean fresh breath is important for our interactions with others. If our breath smells bad upon awakening, it indicates an accumulation of toxins in our body. Consider using our DETOX formula for a period until the symptom disappears. However, use in conjunction with the following advice.
Tongue scraping and oil pulling are two daily morning practices that we can incorporate in order to get rid of the toxins in our mouth and salivary glands.
In Ayurveda, we clean out the mouth in these two ways before ingesting even water. Upon waking in the morning, before brushing our teeth, take notice of your breath’s smell and your tongue in the mirror. Before brushing your teeth or scraping your tongue, you can do oil pulling. This is an amazing easy therapy for pulling out congestion in the salivary glands, the lymph nodes in the throat area, poisons out of the brain and heavy metals from the body.
Oil Pulling :Take a tablespoon of cold pressed sesame seed oil and swish it in your mouth – without swallowing. Spit it out after the appropriate time and rinse well with warm water if possible. Start with 5 minutes every morning and then work up to ten and then twenty.
Sesame oil has several beneficial properties, one of which is pulling out toxins. it also has a high mineral content of calcium which helps with healing receding gums and strengthening the teeth.Not only that, but the action of swishing strengthens and tones the facial muscles – making us look younger and more radient.
Next, prepare for tongue scraping by looking at your tongue in the mirror. Notice where and how dis/colouration has occurred and where the alma (toxic glue) is. Then, with a tongue scraper, scrape off the toxins from your tongue with firm movements from the back of the tongue and off the tip. Check your tongue scraper each time to note the quality of what is coming off. the thicker it is – the more ama has accumulated. the colour willl indicate which dosha is out of balance. thick white indicates Kapha, yellowish colour indicates Pitta and brown or grey indicates Vata. Notice that the tongue holds toxins, or Ama, in two layers. The first layer, which is easily scraped off, is ama that is produced within the digestive tract due to undigested foods within that 24 hour period since you last scraped. The second layer, which remains on the tongue despite scraping, is ama that is in our deeper tissues. Notice that when you have eaten well and appropriately for your dosha the day before, less ama tends to collect on your tongue, while days where dietary intake has not been appropriate for your body, or you have not been attentive to your agni – digestive fire, there is more ama– toxins. This gives us an immediate feedback of how we are improving our digestion and how we are re-balancing our health. See Agni for more understanding of ayurvedas’ key concept of maintaining health.
Nasya : cleansing our nasal passages. Breath is life force, and a clear passageway of this prana to our brain is essential for clear thinking and vitality of the brain. An oxygen deprived brain is foggy, cloudy, dull and unresponsive. Breath into the brain on the other hand improves blood circulation there and rejuvenates the mind. This practice has been performed by yogis for thousands of years as part of their morning routine for very good reason. In todays polluted environment, this is ever more essential for our well being.
Obtaining a neti pot is helpful as it is a small teapot with a spout that can direct the water directly into the nostril. However not having one is not an excuse not to do the practice, as a cup will suffice ! Make a solution of approx 1/2 teaspoon of quality non-processed sea salt or Himalayan rock salt in 1 cup of warm clean water in your neti pot or cup. Either outdoors or over the sink, lean forwards with your head tilted to the side and gently pour the liquid in one nostril whilst breathing in and blocking the other nostril. Stop pouring on the exhalation, tilt the head the other direction and breath out the other nostril, blocking the one you just poured the solution into. The idea is to wash between the two nostril. Repeat a few times on each side, then tilt the head backwards and forwards to remove any excess water out the sinuses. Blow the nose is necessary, and notice the clean fresh breath.
You may need to follow up with a Nasya therapy about an hour later if you are a Vata Dosha. Nasya is an oil treatment in the nasal passages which soothe and ease irritated mucous membranes and can be highly effective in reducing airborne allergies and even asthma attacks. More information about this later.
These three therapies do wonders to clean the initial stages of our digestive tract. Our sense of smell is heightened with these practices and this is the first stage of activating the digestive juices. Our saliva is activated from the smell of good food and we swallow these juices which in turn stimulate the stomachs juices – igniting the agni. The juices in our salivary gland need to be free flowing so we can stimulate the fire and digest our food through proper chewing. Vata tend to be to dry in the mouth, impairing this stage of digestion, and Kapha tend to be congested. The Oil Pulling remedies both of these dysfunctions igniting a good digestive fire – agni.
The taste of our food is also fundamental to our health. Cleansing the tongue provides us with clean taste buds to truly enjoy our food. We derive much more than pleasure from the sense of taste, as an experiment shows us that when rats were deprived of taste, even though they ate a regular diet, within a few weeks they died from malnutrition. They weren’t able to digest their food properly without this important function.
Water Of Life : We need to re-hydrate the body from the night rest and flush out any toxins that may have accumulated over the night rest. A warm drink of lemon, salt and a touch of honey can be appropriate for you – adding tumeric, spirulina or cayenne appropriate to your dosha. Depending upon your constitution and season, Chai spices (without the caffeine) may be ideal for you to stimulate circulation and appetite as well as digest toxins. Refer to our Recipies and Dosha Vata, Pitta, & Kapha for other appropriate drinks ideas.
Preparing the agni – digestive fire is of key importance, so a little exercise before eating is important to stimulate this fire after having drank water which tends to take out the fire. Time your mornings so you can have the drink, then have another 1/2 hour before taking the Digestive Aid or Ginger Zinger and then another 1/2 hour before eating your breakfast.
Break-Fast : Is exactly that – breaking a fast. be gentle upon your body with this meal. It is ideal to have allowed the body to fast at least 12 hours over night so the body can do its daily detox. This means eating dinner early in the evening is ideal for many reasons. Breakfast menu advise varies greatly upon your Dosha and season. Be aware of food combining – never mix fruit with anything other than perhaps some yogurt or seeds, or have a meat protein with a carbohydrate etc. Sprouting the grains for cereal porridge is wonderfully nutritious as is adding ground sesame seeds and flax. look up your Dosha for more guidelines.
Incorporating these routines into your morning provides you with a health-aware start to the day, which will bring more vitality and life into your everyday world.