“Well,” said Pooh “what I like best,” And then he had to stop and think. Because although eating honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.~ A.A. Milne, The House on Pooh Corner
in Sanskrit, the word yoga means yoke, or union, between you and God. Yoga is a complete system of physical postures, ethical disciplines, breathwork, affirmations, and meditative practices which teach us to go inward from our bodily and egoic self to the divinely inspired Self that dwells in our hearts.
It’s sister science, Ayurveda, is about self healing, relieving the dis-ease of our bodies and minds, and restoring our natural balance. It is not just a science, but a whole philosophy that acknowledges an order in the Universe that each of us are a reflection of. Much emphasis is put on our personal constitutions, as we are each made of a combination of three doshas ( three principle constitutions) which are comprised of the five elements; earth, wind, water, fire and ether.
Confused? Understandable. The bottom line is we are all reflections of nature, inside and out. And we are all always trying to restore ourselves into balance. But as we see in nature, things are always a changin’. As we move through the different stages of life and endure ever changing circumstances, we are easily, and constantly, pulled away from our center.
One of the things I love most about ayurveda is the emphasis on nurturing ourselves. American society has become extremely focused on cleansing. There is a harsh quality to this as we take away, dry up, detoxify and strip things from ourselves, often overdoing it. The often ignored other side of the coin is nourishing- which involves adding in, nurturing, hydrating and replenishing our minds, bodies, and spirits. One without the other only further throws us out of a state of balance.
In Ayurveda, balance is offered in daily routines, including meals where food and herbs are the primary modalities used for healing. In America, of the five tastes, sweet has become taboo and synonymous with calories and indulgence. So that’s another thing I love about Ayurveda–eating sweets! We forget its natural function as a nurturing pacifying grounding property that is especially comforting in times of change and stress. Oh yeah, and enjoyment. Knowing we are caring for ourselves when we soothe ourselves with sweets makes it all the more enjoyable, too. Or so says Winnie the Pooh.
Below are a few favorite balancing ayurvedic practices that I enjoy, and do regularly. Try a few. They are truly awesome, the nourishing ones especially. They don’t take much time and are pretty sweet forms of self care–all of them.
Netti Pot: Gently rinsing your sinuses every morning with saline water in the shower cleanses them of mucus and helps to keep you healthy. Can purchase at CVS or Walgreens or online here https://shop.himalayaninstitute.org/products/ceramic-netipot
Nasya Oil: Extremely soothing to the sinuses, blocks germs from going in and nourishes the tissue. Place a small amount inside each nostril. (Suoper into this before flying, especially now!) https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/nasya-oil-7/
Dry brush: This traditional Ayurvedic practice refreshes and stimulates the skin and lymphatic system, enhancing blood circulation and the release of accumulated toxins. Buy a brush here, and always brush toward your heart. https://shop.goop.com/shop/products/g-tox-ultimate-dry-brush?country=USA&variant_id=40827&utm_source=google&utm_medium=pla&utm_campaign=PLA_ALL_SMART_ALL_GBEAUTY&product=10012-40827&gclid=CjwKCAiA44LzBRB-EiwA-jJipAn72DF4RM8ZIpVjFrtAL3xD3-H56FCOIyYPE4Qi9yc-kOPo7KrUxxoCDAsQAvD_BwE
Abbyhangha: Self massage is a big part of ayurveda and there is much ritual around it. Rarely do I find the time to do this but I do put sesame oil on everyday after the shower. Neutrogena or heavier richer ones with herbs can be found at banyanbotanicals.com Daily self massage is soothing and nourishing. Try these three things: Dry Brush, then shower, and at the end of the hot shower turn the nozzle cold and take as many cold shots as you can stand; Good for circulation and you will feel wonderful afterwards. And once you get out lather yourself in oil. Include a little self massage of your neck, knees and stomach and any place that causes you aches & pain (that you can reach:) If you wanna be extra thought-full, and weird, thank that body part for all the ways it serves you well, rather than just beating it up all the time.
Cleansing: Triphala Powder every morning. Loaded with Vitamin C. Cleanses and stimulates the digestive system. A very clear balancer for me–1 teaspoon in water every morning. https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/triphala-powder/
Nourishing: Golden Milk before bed. Sweet, soothing, promotes sleep and is anti-inflammatory. https://www.wellplated.com/bedtime-golden-milk/ The milk (coconut, almond, or cow-your choice,) provides a different delivery system for the active ingredients of cinnamon and turmeric and ginger, to be absorbed deep into your tissues.
Self care is key. And, how sweet it is, to be loved by
And this “61 Point Meditation” which is a wonderfully balanced tool for calming and concentration. (For best experience: Get headphones!)