5 Ayurvedic Practices that You Need to Start Now
Ayurveda needs no introduction, originating from the Indian subcontinent 5 millennia ago, it is a widespread health, beauty and wellness practice much loved all over the world. If you think Ayurvedic practices are complicated and hard to do, think again. Here are 5 easy to do yet essential ayurvedic rituals you can start today that have a multitude of benefits and can transform your daily routine.
Oil pulling – the act of “washing” your mouth with an oil like coconut oil. Think of it as a mouth wash, but with coconut oil. I was grossed out when I first heard about oil pulling, but now I can’t get enough of it purely because I have seen the benefits and how it has transformed my overall health. Take a tablespoon of coconut oil and swish swash it inside your mouth. Ideally you have to do it for about 15 minutes. So maybe do it while in the shower or going about your morning (think emails!). If you can’t dedicate 15 minutes, still try it with as much time as you can give it. So, what’s all the fuss about? Oil pulling helps with removing bacteria, bad breath, preventing cavities, reducing inflammation, improving gum health and a heap of other things. Remember not to swallow and spit out into your trash and not your sink.
Dry brushing – its not just your hair, your skin need brushing too! It’s a beautiful way to gently exfoliate your skin. It stimulates blood flow and encourages skin cell renewal. It sounds painful, but its not, I promise. Get a specialist brush with soft yet firm bristles or a silk glove – the latter is the ancient ayurvedic practice. Start at your feet and make your way upwards. Brush your skin in clockwise, round strokes. Dry brushing helps the body release toxins and helps you relax, it’s a great way to break down cellulite. Have a cool shower afterwards to wash away the dead skin cells and top it off with some body oil.
Body oiling – this is my personal favorite because its both soothing for the mind and nourishing for the body. You can do it either before or after bathing. If you chose to do it before, first heat the oil. You can do this easily but keeping a jar of oil in a bowl of hot water. Rub generously all over your body and let it sit for about 20 minutes. I always use coconut oil, but you can pick any natural oil you prefer. Then have a shower, the steam and warm water will help the oil penetrate more deeply into the skin. Pat dry afterwards and don’t bother with lotion, your skin will feel amazing, soft and smooth. If you don’t have that precious 20 minutes for the oil to sit, then oil your skin after a shower. Remember not to completely dry your skin and apply the oil on damp skin. Air dry until it absorbs, and you are good to go.
Self massage – this is such a cornerstone practice in daily Ayurveda and is so easy to do. Who needs to go to a spa for a massage when you can do it yourself? (well, someone else doing it is also pure bliss too). This is a one up from the body oiling exercise. Using copious amounts of oils is at the very heart of Ayurveda. Start with your scalp and massage the oil in circular motions. Move down to your face, chest, stomach, back , butt and then down through the thighs right up to your toes. Take your time. Try to close your eyes and be mindful about the massage. Wash with warm water.
Warm lemon water – this might be the easiest of all. This is such a simple ritual that can have a big impact. Add the juice of half a lemon to a mug of warm water. You can balance the amount of water according to your taste. This has so many benefits from boosting your immune system to aiding with digestion. It even helps with clearing skin. Remember lemon water is alkaline so it helps balance the pH of your body.
Told you these were going to be easy, so how do you start? As with anything, start slowly with one or two of the practices. Give it a few days till you’re comfortable with it and it becomes part of your daily ritual or as Ayurveda calls it – your dinacharya. Once you get the hang of one add on another and then another.
BY SHALINI S.