Ayurveda Self-Care Tips For January / Late Winter
Cover Photo By Chris Jarvis
Editor's Note: We are so excited to start sharing Ayuvedic tips with you each month in 2019. For those of you who may not know, Ayurveda is an ancient science that addresses the mind, body, and spirit. Ayurveda is a sister science to Yoga. Read on to learn more!
By Yvette Racines McLaughlin
“Like increases like, and opposites create balance."
According to Ayurveda, this basic principle is key to optimum health and wellness. What does this mean and why is this important for us to follow?
First, let us look at the word accumulation. Would you agree that if we increase LIKE with LIKE, we would have an accumulation of LIKE? Well, that is exactly what happens inside our mind and bodies.
Next, (stay with me) we’ve all heard the saying, “as above, so below” or “as within so without.” This means that what is experienced on a macro-level is most likely experienced on the micro-level.
So, let’s put it all together now. Consider this time of the year, Winter (LIKE on a macro level). Winter brings with it a lot of cold, dry, windy, qualities. As Winter moves to it’s later half, we see moist qualities. Next, we add in the daily choices we make on a physical, emotional and mental level (LIKE on a micro level). These choices may consist of things like: consuming cold drinks, eating ice cream, nuts or dried fruit, having little fatty oils in our diet, running around from one appointment to the next, skipping meals, eating on the go, not slowing down, going to bed late, little or no time for self-care. Through these choices we begin to accumulate (LIKE + LIKE) = IMBALANCE.
Too much LIKE during this time of the year looks like:
Cold - feeling cold often, hands/feet, joint pain
Wind - busy mind, easily distracted, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, worry
Dry - Dry skin, hair, eyes, nose, mouth, throat, mucous membranes, constipation
Moist - heavy, sluggish, depression, little or no ambition
Remember that opposites create balance, right?! So, we start to do what is opposite of our external qualities. We follow this with our food choices, our activity choices, and our self-care practices.
Create balance By Creating the Opposite. Here's How.
Avoid: overstimulation, planning too much, traveling too much
Slow down, limit your daily activities
Meditation/Yoga Nidra on a daily basis
Practice slower Yoga styles with longer holds (avoid fast paced Yoga, avoid joint instability)
Daily Self Massage with warm Sesame oil (not toasted sesame oil)
Avoid cold and windy environments
Dress warm, wear hats/cover head
Avoid excess change/movement
Choose soothing activities
Eat warm, moist, cooked foods, Drink warm or room temp fluids
Spend some time in the sun every day
Create a daily routine and stick to it: eating, sleeping, exercising at the same time every day
Wear warm "earth tone" colors: pastel yellow, orange, green, brown
Go to bed before 10pm and be consistent
Let’s be clear, none of these qualities are necessarily “bad,” it’s just that with anything, too much of it can create excess. When we can create balance in our life we start to see less physical discomfort, less mind chatter, and more emotional stability. When we’re balanced, we feel well!
If this is new to you, be patient with yourself. Start with little changes, be consistent with them and gradually build from there.
Ayurveda means wisdom/knowledge of life. It is an ancient practice that can be traced back to India. Considered a 6,000 year old healthcare system, Ayurveda is a way of life to experience wholeness and wellness on all levels. Ayurveda is thousands of years old, there is much to be learned. I am by no means an expert in Ayurveda. I have been studying and practicing Ayurveda since 2013. I am a new student and humbled to say I have so much more to learn, perhaps a lifetime of studying. My daily practice of Ayurveda has brought about a profound understanding of unhealthy patterns and how I can better take care of myself and my family, plus I use some of the basic Ayurvedic principles to help support my Yoga Therapy clients and my group classes. I’m excited to share this with you, too!
Stay tuned for my next Ayurvedic Self-Care Tips in late February as we move toward Spring!
Check out Banyan Botanicals for Ayurvedic products.