“The primordial cause of disease is forgetting our true nature as spirit”
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is defined as the science and knowledge of life. It originated in India over 5,000 years ago as part of Vedic Science. Its primary focus is to promote self-healing of the body and mind using spiritual science-based therapies like yoga, meditation, mantra, and astrology.
According to Ayurveda, our environment is made up of five elements: earth, water, fire, air, and either (space). These elements directly influence our unique constitutional makeup from the moment of conception, also known as our Prakriti. This inborn constitution is unique to each individual and will never permanently change. However, in Ayurveda constitutional imbalance, essentially something that causes a deviating from our natural state of health can occur. For example, as we grow older our lives tend to become more stressful, exhausting, and challenging, all of which can directly influence our health and cause disease long-term. These lifestyle factors can, in turn, temporarily alter our inborn constitution and shift our current state of health also know as our Vikruti.
Disease is often caused by living out of harmony with ones self. The body communicates this through symptoms that we experience. Learning how to live synergistically with our environment is when we are truly able to embrace health and wellness.
Spring Time Self-Care Rituals
According to Ayurveda, spring is the season of overflowing water where we begin to thaw out, melt, and soften. As winter tends to be a more lethargic time of year, it is now important to start clearing stagnation from the body both mentally and physically. Start by filtering out old thought patterns that no longer support your life; get your body moving in the morning to decrease congestion and promote energy flow; and finally, support your body’s natural detoxification pathways by adding in fresh bitter herbs and foods into your daily diet.
Here are a few simple Ayurvedic rituals to naturally support your health during the spring season. Start by choosing one ritual from the list below and try adding it into your daily routine. Eventually you won’t be able to live without it.
1. Shift your spring time wake-up to coincide with sunrise, which is around 6:30 a.m.
2. Get your body moving in the morning to prevent sluggishness, promote energy flow, and decrease congestion with invigorating outdoor activities like biking, walking, running, dancing or yoga.
3. Incorporate a morning bathroom routine which can include things like tongue scraping, oil pulling (sesame oil swishing), and dry brushing before showering
4. Drink warm water with lemon and ginger first thing upon waking before eating anything. This will help to kickstart metabolism, eliminate toxins and reduce congestion.
5. Self massage a few times a week with warm sesame oil before your morning shower to help reduce anxiety and calm the mind.
6. Eat at the same time every day to help to stimulate, cleanse and detoxify the body.
7. Increase detoxifying & decongesting bitter foods like dandelion, cilantro, parsley, chard, kale, spinach, mustard greens and arugula.
8. Chose lighter grains like quinoa, rye, millet, oats, amaranth, buckwheat and wild rice.
9. Try soaking your nuts, seeds and grains to increase digestibility
10. Choose lighter fats to eat during this season that are easier on the body to digest: flax, ghee, and olive
11. Drink lots of water and herbal teas to support the body’s digestion and natural elimination of toxins, for example, dandelion, nettle, ginger, and fennel.
Healing Steps to Balance the Body & Mind
DROP: Take attention away from harmful thoughts and find something positive to focus on instead.
DISCOURAGE: Understand the triggers to bad mental states and balance negative emotions with positive daily practices of gratitude.
CELEBRATE: Enjoy experiences even if the outcome wasn’t what you anticipated. This positive behaviour will subconsciously increase the chances of it not happening again.
ENCOURAGE: Allow yourself to feel the way you actually feel by developing acceptance of bad thoughts. Recognize and strengthen patience in your life by truly understanding the value of moving at your own pace and that there is no rush towards bettering your health.
David Frawley, Ayurvedic Healing: a Comprehensive Guide. (Wisconsin: Lotus Press), 2000, 5-21.
Glynnis Osher and Madhuri Phillips, Your Irresistible Life: 4 Seasons of Self-Care Through Ayurveda and Yoga Practices that Work.(Bloomington: Balboa Press), 2013,53-74.