Center yourself each morning with these traditional Ayurvedic self-care rituals.
Ayurveda recommends a beautiful flow of rituals that make the morning a great time to take care of ourselves and lavish our being with attention and self-love.
- Ayurveda encourages daily elimination by ensuring a lighter and easy-to-digest meal the night before. The herb triphala, taken the night before can also assist regularity in elimination. If chronic constipation persists or there are other elimination irregularities, an Ayurvedic vaidya (healer) should be consulted. Squatting can also promote the urge and so will a drink of warm water first thing in the morning (if required).
- Splashing the face and eyes with cool water is great to begin with and then take 12 handfuls of water to fully rinse the mouth. The water should be swished in the oral cavity with vigor so that food particles can get dislodged.
- Brush teeth with an herbal toothpaste or powder that have a predominance of astringent and bitter tastes with some pungent taste also. Sweet-tasting products promote dental decay rather than discourage it, according to Ayurveda.
- The tongue can be cleaned using U-shaped tongue cleaners and the copper ones work great for almost all people (all dosha types). Scraped gently to avoid abrasion and damage to the tongue.
- In healthy people, an additional ritual called gandush can be performed. In this, one fills the oral cavity to maximum capacity with warmed sesame oil and holds it for as long as one can (with cheeks in full-blown position) before spitting it out. This procedure nourishes the entire oral cavity and strengthens teeth, gums and jaws, and works excellently to combat TMJ. However, one should check with an Ayurvedic vaidya before embarking upon this ritual, as digestion and elimination should be in optimum state as a pre-condition.
- Ayurveda recommends that people who wish to maintain their health should apply oil on their body daily: a small ritual of self-massage, called abhyanga, with warm sesame oil is recommended, followed by a bath or a shower with hot water.
- Yoga postures are recommended to keep the body flexible, and one should try to customize the personal yoga practice based upon needs of the body and the requirements of the Ayurvedic constitution (as per recommendations of the Ayurvedic vaidya).
- Pranayama, or breath discipline, not only infuses the body with prana (vitality) and healthy oxygen, but also begins to balance the mind, as according to Ayurveda, the breath and mind have a close relationship.
- The calming effect of pranayama naturally leads into a meditative state, if we so seek to enter. Mediation aligns body, mind and soul. In meditation, I become one with bliss within myself.
Want more? Read about The Beauty and Magic of Dawn.