Self-Care with Yoga and Ayurveda

meditating at haramara retreat center

How to stay healthy with yoga and Ayurveda during challenging times?

For starters, commit to an early bedtime. If you were living without electricity, you would probably be heading to bed by 7pm in the winter time because it’s dark and not easy to be productive when you can’t see anything! With less light in Nature, the yogis encourage you to consider retiring to bed by 9-10pm during the winter months to ensure you get your 7-8 hours of sleep. Rest is an important part of any healthy ecosystem; from the perspective of your personal ecosystem, it helps your body and mind recover from the business of each day. The more you can simplify your daily and weekly schedules during this darker season, the more space you have in the day for self-care.

November is often a time I encourage students to say “No” more often when considering staying out late, eating cold foods, having another alcoholic drink, taking on more responsibilities, or any other invitation where your intuition (in the belly brain) feels tight or uncertain. This pause or uncertainty may be alerting you to the fact that you are doing something for someone else or something that may create future harm towards yourself. What if for the next two months you said “No” when your felt an invitation was not a “Yes”? Space is an essential element in Ayurveda and in life for balance and ease. Give it a try and see what happens!

With the possibility now of more space in your life by saying No, more energy and creativity can be focused towards self-care. One of the ways we can stay healthy with yoga and Ayurveda is to maintain good circulation in body and mind.

How do we achieve good circulation in the body and mind?

  • Move your body frequently during the day (for example, every 30 minutes) to improve circulation. Basic yoga stretches like standing side bends or joint rotations can be helpful, especially if you’re feeling stressed out. (Check out Deskyogi for inspiration if you are in need of yoga reminders during your working day).
  • Take time to unplug and enjoy a brisk walk around the block.
  • Manage how much social media or news you take in during the hour.

If you fill your mind with too much information, you may feel overwhelmed, anxious, or fearful in the moment and as a result be less efficient or effective in achieving your goals.

  • Drink warm hydrating beverages like tea made from ginger, tulsi, lemon, licorice, or ashwaghanda throughout the day.
  • Eat until you no longer have hunger rather than eating until you are full. Your stomach fire (agni) needs space like any campfire to work efficiently.
  • Massage is a great way to relieve tension and help you relax. In Ayurveda we promote oil massages called abhyanga. Abhyanga uses medicated oils for your constitution to help promote deeper healing and balance in your system. Please see Banyan Botanicals website to take your dosha test or order massage oils.
  • Use Yin yoga, meditation, and breath awareness to slow down and become present.

These are just a few of the ways I believe yoga and Ayurveda can make a difference in your life and in the world. We all have a lot of work ahead of us in healing the world and if we can pace ourselves and do our own self-care on a regular basis, I have hope that we’ll have the strength and stamina to overcome what lies ahead.

Om,
Melina

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