Most of us have busy lives and there is a strong probability that, if you’re reading this, you care about your health. You may also be in a caregiving profession, or perhaps, you are spending time nourishing and nurturing other people – friends, children or family members.
There’s a strong possibility you know about the benefits of taking the time for self-care, but, let’s face it, for most of us, the reality of taking the time out of a busy schedule to “recharge your battery” may be intermittent at best.
The ancient science of Ayurveda has some wonderful ideas for self-care that can be easily incorporated into the day of a busy person! This 5,000 year old system of medicine from India is a wealth of practical knowledge for us, and the practice of a daily routine, (Dinacharya), is one of the most beneficial types of self-care.
The best part is, you can integrate some or all of these practices into your daily lifestyle, depending on the amount of time you have in the morning. It’s a wonderful way to set the intention and tone of the day. Incorporating one or all of these ideas into your morning can prove to be beneficial to your mind, body and spirit.
Here are a few of practices involved in Ayurveda’s morning routine.
• Waking up at Sunrise. If you’re not a “morning person,” this may seem daunting, but Ayurveda talks of attuning yourself with the rhythms of nature, and while many of us may want to snuggle in for an extra few minutes, you may find that this simple practice will help you feel more energized and centered throughout the day.
• Self-Massage (Abhyanga): Warm, organic sesame oil, or an oil specifically tailored to your constitution is a nurturing and nourishing way to start the day. The benefits of abhyanga are numerous, and include a deep calming of the nervous system, nourishing the skin, and aiding blood and lymphatic circulation. The best time of the day to do this is before bathing or showering, and it is a fairly simple technique. Just warm a small bottle of oil by placing it in hot water, apply oil to the body, paying extra attention to the joints, abdomen and soles of the feet, allow it to stay on the skin for at least 5 minutes, then shower and dry. Most people notice positive changes after practicing this daily for just a week.
• Meditation: You don’t need anything special to start meditating, just a place to sit quietly. Start with five minutes with eyes closed, and lightly place your attention on your breath, acknowledging and allowing any thoughts. There is no wrong way to meditate. Just a simple quiet time to be in the moment is a great way to begin the day. You may also want to try a gentle walking meditation, being mindful of each step.
• Lemon water: A slice of lemon in lukewarm water has many benefits and is an easy addition to the morning routine. According to Ayurveda, digestion and elimination are an important factor to avoiding disease. Remember to continue to hydrate throughout the day.
Many times, the simple, uncomplicated things we do can have the most profound effects. Ayurveda teaches that we are all a part of nature, and by tuning in to the ebbs and flows of the natural world, we have a wonderful opportunity to reintegrate and recharge our bodies, minds and spirits.
Jeannie Faulkner, LMT AyT, M.Ed. offers classes in central Ohio, North Carolina and Colorado, including the introductory class, “Approachable Ayurveda: a straightforward guide for everyone”, “Ayurveda and Yoga”, “Ayurvedic Seasonal Cleanse”, and NCBTMB approved classes for massage therapists. For information on upcoming classes, or to schedule a class at your yoga studio or venue, visit www.jeanniefaulkner.com , or send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org