One of the most beautiful things about Ayurveda is how simple it can be to tap into its techniques, which are often focused on consistent effort made every single day to create an environment for optimum health and wellbeing.
Consistency is key with it takes around 30 days to make a habit, 90 days to create a lifestyle – and over time small changes can have a massive impact on how you look and feel.
In this article, we’ve compiled our favorite Ayurveda practices to practice on a regular basis at home. These are all simple, easy and enjoyable practices you can incorporate into your daily routine. Many are also inexpensive, so they’re accessible for everybody.
Your oral hygiene routine likely currently includes brushing and flossing – but have you ever heard of tongue scraping? In the West some toothbrushes have tongue scrapers built in – but they’re no match for an Ayurveda tongue scraper. In Ayurveda medicine, tongue scraping is an integral daily practice for optimum health and vitality. Just as bacteria can build up on and in between our teeth and gums, it can also build up on our tongue. Tongue scraping can reduce bad breath and increase our sense of taste. One of the many diagnostic techniques used in Ayurveda is checking the tongue for its color and any particles or bacteria build-up present that could be causing ill health.
How to: Invest in an Ayurveda tongue scraper – usually, these are made from copper to maximize antibacterial effects. Each morning after brushing your teeth, scrape the surface of your tongue gently to remove any bacteria or residue. Always thoroughly rinse your tongue scraper, pat dry and store safely for the next day to avoid bacteria lingering and building up on the scraper.
Abhyanga, or oil massage, is a key Ayurveda treatment that is recommended regularly to keep the doshas in balance and encourage proper circulation and detoxification. It also has a relaxing effect on the body and mind – making it the perfect ritual to incorporate into your evening wind-down routine. Massage also aids in lymphatic drainage. Skin stays smooth and bright, and cellulite can be dramatically reduced.
How to: You can easily incorporate oil massage into your daily or weekly routine. It can be costly to go to a professional massage therapist on a regular basis – but you can give yourself a massage at home. There are plenty of guides online you can follow – and authentic Ayurveda massage oils can be purchased online. It can be easier when you DIY to concentrate on just one area of the body – such as the face, stomach or scalp.
Much of our mental and physical health is determined by the state of our gut health – so it makes sense to concentrate on this whenever we are feeling out of balance or run down. In traditional medicine and Ayurveda, digestive health and diet are looked upon in the first instance to determine whether changes can be made to treat an illness or boost overall health. Be sure to rebalance your gut whenever you have had to take a course of antibiotics or any other medication that can disrupt gut health.
How to: Pay attention to your gut health. Is it good, or could it be better? Focus on eating a plant-based diet filled with natural whole-foods and nourish your gut with fermented foods, broths and supplements where necessary such as probiotics, prebiotics and digestive enzymes. Take supplements where necessary to support a healthy gut.
In Ayurveda, the practice of Garshana or ‘friction by rubbing’ is used to detoxify the body as well as reviving the mind and senses. Dry brushing helps to increase circulation and supports improved lymphatic drainage. Aesthetically dry brushing can decrease the appearance of cellulite and help relieve water retention.
How to: Purchase a dry brush and make a habit of using it before every single shower or bath. This practice could be every day, or 2-3 times a week. Always start at the feet and brush in a firm, upward motions towards the heart.
Like body massage, scalp massage (or Shirodhara) is also an essential treatment in Ayurveda which is widely used to promote health and vitality for the whole body. Shirodhara releases tension in the head and neck, releases endorphins and helps reduce stress and promote better sleep. Scalp massage can also improve the condition of your hair and promote better hair growth, as it aids increased circulation and nourishment to the hair follicles.
How to: Before washing your hair, gently warm an Ayurveda oil blend (or coconut oil) and apply carefully all over the hair and scalp. Then begin to massage the scalp, using firm upward motions with the fingers. Physically move the scalp rather than just scraping the skin for a deep, relaxing. If you have a partner or housemate, try treating one another to a massage. Although you can give yourself a wonderful scalp massage, it’s always nice to receive one from someone else! Leave the oils in to soak before washing with a gentle natural shampoo.
Herbs and supplements
In Ayurveda, many different herbs are used to rebalance and rejuvenate the body and mind. One of the most popular in the West is turmeric – which offers significant antioxidant benefits and anti-inflammatory properties. Adaptogens are great all-rounders shown to reduce oxidative stress on the body – and have been used extensively both in Ayurveda and other eastern medical disciplines such as TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). Start by considering which areas of your overall health you’d like to improve, then search online for which herbs and treatments are recommended. You may like to go a step further and visit an Ayurveda practitioner for tailored advice.
How to: Whenever you’re considering taking herbs or supplements, always take time to research the company and watch out for fillers, GMOs and the amount of active ingredient in the product. There are many low-quality products on the market, so it’s important to do due diligence to ensure you’re getting the maximum effect and benefits from any supplements you take. Always consult your physician or healthcare provider before adding supplements into your daily routine.
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