I recently completed my yoga teacher training (YTT-200) and an introduction to Ayurveda was included in the course at Heartwood Retreat Center. I was suffering from IBS, esophagitis and some reflux, and taking allopathic medication was not solving my issues. Because Ayurveda, yoga´s ancient sister science which aims to balance body, mind and spirit, focuses on lifestyle, I thought I´d give it a shot. I was up for detoxing and a more mindful approach to my health.
After the informative in-person lessons, I found what my dosha (body type) is by taking an online quiz, and read a few books on Ayurveda. The two that remain on my bedside table are The Ayurveda Way, by Ananta Ripa Ajmera and Ayurveda for Beginners, by Susan Weis-Bohlen. These two are great for anyone getting started on this journey. They not only explain how to figure out your dosha type, and the science behind Ayurveda, but are rife with actionable steps you can take right away.
Following, I´m sharing just five that I started implementing three months ago and that have resulted in feeling better overall and also, I´m happy to report, nearly free from allopathic meds for my IBS symptoms. My flare-ups are fewer and far between now.
1.- Scrape your tongue and practice oil-pulling when you wake up.- I used to brush my tongue in the morning and use mouthwash, so this was a matter of switching things up a bit. A tongue scraper helps eliminate any residue that built on the tongue overnight, and swishing oil in your mouth for a few minutes before breakfast and then spitting it out helps finish off the cleanse. Ayurveda has come a long way, so you can even buy Ayurvedic mouthwash (composed of coconut oil and essential oils like mint and spearkmint), which makes this practice more palatable!
2.- Drink a glass of warm water with squeezed lemon first thing in the morning.- It could also be lime, but apparently for my Dosha (Vata), lemon is better, so I´m going with that. I had read about this before, but had never had a reason to try it until I was faced with IBS! When I traveled and didn´t have lemon with me, a glass of warm water was better than nothing. This has helped make me more regular and improved my digestion.
3- Dry brush your skin daily.- I´ve always exfoliated in the shower, and had heard of dry brushing, but had never been inclined to try it. Well, I bought a dry brush and whatd´you know. The feeling is completely different from scrubbing in the shower. I do it daily now and I feel a pleasant tingle all over when I´m doing it. I feel invigorated and ready for the next step.
4.- Massage your body with warm oil, also daily.- I´ve also always (and I do mean always) applied body lotion or baby oil after a shower. But I´d never thought of sitting to self-massage daily BEFORE said shower. I did try it this time around. And let me tell you, it feels luxurious. I chose almond oil because it´s good for Vata Dosha. If I´m truly lazy or pressed for time, I oil feet, joints, ears and scalp at bedtime. Castor oil massaged on the tummy treats constipation.
5.- When you eat, do nothing else.- This seems like it would be common-sense, right? Well, I work from home, and for the past few years I´ve often found myself eating while I work at my laptop, or during a conference call. The simple act of walking away from distractions while I ingested my food has probably been one of the best things I´ve done to improve my digestion and reduce stress.
There is much more to the Ayurveda way of life, but if you follow these simple steps daily, I promise you will feel invigorated and more balanced in a matter of days! This post contains affiliate links of the products I used! I hope you enjoy them.