How often do you think, “I want to try to...”? The challenge is “trying” to break bad habits on top of an already hectic schedule, right?
Taking a morning hike can seem impossible when you need to beat the 7 a.m. traffic. Grabbing a Starbucks seems so much more pleasant—and easier—than making yourself a veggie omelet or going for an early run. Add parenting, work commitments, errands, and social life on top of a demanding schedule, and your health might be taking a hit, or at least be on the back burner. The Ayurveda lifestyle is a great solution—small changes equaling a healthier life.
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Table of Contents → Jump to what piques your interest!
What Is Ayurveda?
What Are Ayurvedic Principles?
How Ayurveda Can Benefit You—Big Time!
An Overview of Ayurveda Doshas
Simple Ways to Live a Healthy Lifestyle Using Auyaveda
Act on just one of our simple suggestions, and you’ll have already enhanced your health and vitality!
Before we jump into specific ways to live a healthier lifestyle, what exactly is Ayurveda?
My interest in the Ayurvedic Principles was piqued decades ago when I was first introduced to Dr. Vasant Ladd —a fascinating and amazing human. His expert advice for me (that I had never considered before) revolutionized the way I viewed my body and health. Hopefully, your life and routines will also be enriched by this holistic knowledge.
What Is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a traditional medicine from India dating as far back as 3,000 years. The name ‘Ayurveda’ is spot-on: ‘ayur’ means life, and ‘veda’ means science.
Here’s the really cool part: Ayurveda focuses on achieving (and maintaining) balance within the body. This approach makes it dramatically different from modern medicines and treatments!
It’s easier to embrace the Ayurvedic principles once you recognize that ‘Ayurveda’ directly translates to life science.
What Are Ayurvedic Principles?
Ayurvedic principles can be split across two concepts: Prakriti and the three doshas.
Prakriti refers to your body’s constitution. It is the unique way your body reacts to your environment, supplementation, medication, and diet. The three doshas are the life forces that determine what works best for you!
Before diving into the doshas, it’s essential to understand how Ayurveda benefits you in particular. To practice Ayurvedic principles, you’ll need a blend of all-natural remedies (e.g., herbal teas) and grounding activities (e.g., yoga).
Think you’re up for the challenge?
How Ayurvedic Principles Can Benefit You—BIG TIME!
Ayurveda endorses that prevention is better than cure.
Living a lifestyle led by Ayurvedic principles means less sickness and more vitality for your self-growth, family, hobbies, exercise, and a much more positive outlook.
How is this possible?
Ayurveda combines natural remedies and treatments with your body's natural tendencies along with detoxing as needed, practicing mindfulness, and uplifting negative emotions. When was the last time your doctor told you to focus on positive emotions?
Depending on your dosha, the right Ayurvedic principles could make a world of difference between where you are now and where you want your health and fitness to be.
Let’s dig into an overview of the doshas. Soon you’ll be able to identify what dosha you are most aligned with and how to maintain balance for your body type.
An Overview of Ayurvedic Doshas
What makes Ayurveda such a powerful type of healing is its connection to nature.
There are five elements in nature: Air, Water, Space, Earth and Fire. Together, these elements have a distinct effect on each and every one of us.
This is where the doshas come into play. There are three doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. While we are all unique and one-of-a-kind, Ayurveda insists that there’s a dosha body type that aligns with who you are at your core. Even the brain has characteristics attributed to each dosha.
Each of the doshas is made from two elements in nature. These elements govern various aspects of your behavior, consciousness and physiology. One of the leading teachings under Ayurveda is the belief that your life force (or your dosha) affects your mental and physical health in a way that’s unique to you.
If your dosha is imbalanced, then it may result in a poor mental state and a weakened immune system, among some other less-than-ideal circumstances. Understanding what your dosha is can help you find the ideal Ayurvedic principles to follow.
Let’s start off with the Vata dosha type.
The Vata Dosha is connected to Air and Ether (or Space).
Vata is responsible for all motion and movement within the body. That includes breathing, circulation, heartbeat, excretion and motor functions. It also stimulates the five sense organs: Eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin.
Characteristics of a Vata Body Type:
Those aligned with Vata tend to have the following physical traits:
- Brittle nails.
- Smaller body frame.
- Dry skin, hair, or lips.
- Low body weight
- Slim/slender build.
People aligned with Vata may also have a weak immune system and are more susceptible to sickness and disease. Inconsistent eating and sleeping habits are common, too.
What Creates an Imbalance in Vata Dosha?
There are certain conditions and foods that are not recommended when you have the Vata Dosha.
Here are a few:
- Excess stress and anxiety.
- Overexertion or strenuous physical activity.
- Excessive bitter, astringent, and cold foods.
- Stimulant food and drinks, like coffee and cold soda.
- Avoid fasting - Including zero fasting, water fasting or prolonged fasting.
- Cold, dry, and windy environments - Including a closed air-conditioned space.
Ideal Foods Recommended for Vata Dosha
If you tend toward Vata, consider including these foods in your diet since they are recommended and can help bring balance to your system.
- Soups and stews served hot.
- Warm, moist, and grounding foods.
- The three S’s - Sweet, sour and salty.
- Herbs, including Ashwagandha and turmeric.
- Cooked cereals, warm milk, root vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
- Spices like cumin, ginger, and cinnamon come highly recommended.
Special Recommendations for Vata Dosha
If Vata levels are too high, you may experience gas, bloating, constipation and dehydration. These increased levels may also lead to dry hair and skin and chapped lips.
To prevent this, we recommend that those aligned with Vata:
- Wear warm clothes.
- Avoid cold beverages and opt for warm drinks instead.
- Engage in grounding activities like meditation and gentle yoga.
The next dosha is Pitta.
The Pitta Dosha is aligned with Fire and Water.
Pitta is responsible for everything to do with digestion, metabolism and energy. It also controls how food is absorbed and assimilated after every meal. Along with that, the Pitta dosha regulates and maintains body temperature.
Characteristics of a Pitta Body Type:
Pitta is the middle child of all three doshas if their medium build is anything to go off. Their physical traits may also include:
- Soft skin.
- Medium height.
- Moderately developed muscles.
- Thinning hair with some premature greying.
You may have a large appetite if aligned with the Pitta Dosha. When you skip a meal or don't drink enough, it can lead to irritability. Fortunately, these emotions can swiftly shift by grabbing food that supports your dosha.
What Creates an Imbalance in Pitta Dosha?
There are certain conditions and foods that are not recommended when you lean toward the Pitta Dosha.
Here are a few:
- Skipping meals.
- Excessive alcohol intake.
- Spicy, sour, and salty foods.
- Emotional stressors and increased anger or hostility.
- Excessive heat and prolonged exposure to the sun.
Ideal Foods Recommended for Pitta Dosha
With a Pitta Dosha, consider including these foods in your diet since they are recommended and can help bring balance to your system.
- Foods high in carbohydrates.
- Drink enough water to keep hydrated daily.
- Add more bitter, astringent and sweet foods.
- Dairy products are believed to balance internal heat.
- Substitute heavy meals with light, easy-to-digest ones.
- Cooling and refreshing foods, for example, leafy greens, and fresh fruit.
- Natural drinks like coconut water and fruit juices are encouraged.
Special Recommendations for Pitta Dosha
Imbalanced Pitta levels may result in digestive issues including constipation, diarrhea and inflammation. The heat in the stomach may also lead to acid reflux, ulcers and heartburn.
To prevent any turbulence in your tummy, those aligned with Pitta should:
- Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol.
- Engage in cooling activities like swimming.
- Practice stress-relief techniques to manage anger.
- Opt for cooler environments and shade during hot weather.
And lastly is the Kapha Dosha—that’s me! And when I get out of balance—I know it: extra weight, low energy, fitful sleep, and mental fogginess.
Kapha is associated with Earth and Water.
Kapha gives the body structure, stability, and immunity. You can thank its ties to Water for keeping your skin moisturized and your joints lubricated. It also ensures the flow of cells, tissues and even reproductive fluids.
Characteristics of a Kapha Body Type:
Among all three doshas, people associated with Kapha are the most developed. This development is further evidenced by their physical traits:
- Broad chest.
- Thick hair and skin.
- Large, muscular frames.
- Robust and strong bodies.
Some sources even claim they are the soundest sleepers compared to Vata and Pitta. While they have great stamina, people with a Kapha body type may struggle to increase their slow metabolism.
What Creates an Imbalance in Kapha Dosha?
There are certain conditions and foods that are not recommended and can create an imbalance in the Kapha Dosha.
Here are the most common:
- Cold, heavy food.
- Sedentary lifestyles.
- Cold and damp environments.
- Large meals, especially at night.
- Excessive sweet, sour, and salty foods.
Ideal Foods Recommended for Kapha Dosha
With a Kapha Dosha, as with the other doshas, add these to your diet to benefit your dosha.
- Warm, light, and dry foods.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
- Foods like barley, honey, and roasted or steamed vegetables.
- Avoid nuts, except for sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
- Spices come highly recommended, especially turmeric, ginger, and pepper can be beneficial.
Special Recommendations for Kapha Dosha
Kapha people are easily susceptible to the common cold. Symptoms like nasal discharge are also harder to shake. Their slow metabolism requires their diet to meet specific requirements. Consider the following recommendations to tackle this dosha’s pain points.
- Practice regular physical activity like cardio.
- Avoid staying seated or stagnant for too long.
- Eat warm, cooked meals to stimulate metabolism.
- Keep dry and warm when the climate is wet and cold.
- Massage daily using essential oils like eucalyptus and rosemary
Try to follow these suggestions for increased energy, better balance, and greater inner peace.
Simple Ways to Live a Healthy Lifestyle Using Ayurveda
Ayurveda advocates creating gentle changes to your diet, lifestyle, medicinal remedies and mindset to lead a healthier, longer, and more sustainable life. Here are twenty-five principles and specific actions to practice the Ayurvedic lifestyle.
#1: Align Yourself with the Right Dosha.
Every person has different needs according to their dosha. Fire and Water are as different as night and day! If you are aligned with the element of Fire, your needs will be very different compared to someone aligned to Water.
Depending on your unique make-up, it’s important to understand which of the doshas best suits you. We recommend re-reading the previous section and doing further research on your own. Or you can take this quick quiz to help you determine your dosha.
#2: Deepen Your Connection with Others.
There's nothing more rejuvenating than connecting with those we love. Whether relatives or friends, soulmates or strangers, the people around us have a direct impact on our mood and everyday life.
So one of the best Ayurvedic principles to abide by is to intentionally deepen your relationship with others. Consciously extend love to your family and plan quality time together. Make a point to invest in your important friendships. You might even create a practice for random kindness. How you show up in your connection with yourself and others largely determines the quality of your life.
When we practice loving nonattachment, for example, we are learning to release our negative perceptions and emotions. What we put out into the world comes back to us, so it’s crucial to practice compassion and mindfulness as much as possible.
Likewise, according to Ayurvedic, the human experience should also be governed by Ahimsa, a Hindu teaching that violence is never the answer. When we are frustrated and angry, it can turn into an action we regret; a cousin of violence. Whether we choose to love, punish ourselves, or cut off from others; we impact—for better or for worse—those around us. Be mindful of your connection to yourself and others.
#3: Say No to Negativity.
If a person, place, or experience continually drains you, that’s a sign that your body is rejecting it. While generally relationships are beneficial, there are a few that can be poisonous to your system, maybe only because they reinforce the behaviors you don’t want.
We see workplace woes with a difficult coworker who lingers at the water cooler solely to gossip or a friend who relies on you for their daily emotional dump. Or relatives insisting on stirring up drama at every family get-together. Create space for what you truly value and produce fertile ground for healthier habits that support you!
Your magnificent inner guide knows; listen and act wisely. Choose to spend time with people that really matter. Take an active role in these relationships by scheduling date nights, cookouts with friends, concerts, rejuvenating hikes, retreats, and vacations.
#4: Have an Attitude of Gratitude.
A positive outlook is more than avoiding negativity. It’s also about reflecting on the things that make life feel worthwhile. Practicing gratitude encourages our mind to focus on the ups in our lives—rather than the lows—and emphasizes the everyday experiences that we typically take for granted.
Your family could do a gratitude feast at dinnertime or as a couple you could have a gratitude ritual in the morning.
Or try out a gratitude journal! A gratitude journal is a space to jot down all the things you’re grateful for. From waking up feeling rested to an evening without traffic, some positive (and private) reflection can boost your mood.
#5: Create a Daily Routine - and Stick to It!
The Dinacharya principle in Ayurveda is all about creating daily routines! When we set little rituals every day, we are encouraging ourselves to adapt to nature’s rhythms and find a balance between calm and chaos, stress and relaxation.
It’s not enough to create a daily plan or schedule. It's also crucial to stick to completing your commitments and promises to yourself! Remember, it takes up to 30 days to form a new habit, but only one day to break one. In time, your routine will be second nature and you won’t be able to imagine a morning (or night) without it!
Setting a reasonable bedtime for yourself ensures that you get the same amount of sleep each night. Similarly, having dinner at the same time each day assists in keeping your eating patterns under control. Or a date night or quality one-on-one time with each child weekly. Or the same time of day for a gym workout or hike.
You’ll have one more thing supporting a healthy lifestyle with consistency in your arsenal.
Related reading: "5 Ways Brain Fitness and Behavioral Health Are Optimized by Healthy Habits."
#6: Step Out into the Sun.
We’ve all grown up being told not to look directly into the sun. But, standing under the sun is a great habit to practice.
Sunlight is one of the best ways to get Vitamin D. That’s the vitamin responsible for boosting mood and regulating sleep. When done in moderation—paired with sunglasses, shade, and sunscreen—you can reap these benefits without consequence!
Along with tapping into some unfiltered Vitamin D, spending time outside allows you to connect with nature. You only need about 10-15 minutes of daily sunlight exposure to be beneficial. But, be mindful of your dosha body type. For example, warm environments can irritate certain doshas.
#7: Try Cardio Exercise (Without Overdoing It!)
Get the blood pumping. Cardio refers to exercises that specifically target, stimulate and strengthen the heart.
Cardio looks different from person to person. If you’d prefer to dust off your old jump rope instead of attending Zumba classes, then go for it! It doesn’t matter your preference as long as you’re moving. When done regularly, exercise has the potential to help you manage weight, improve brain health, and build stamina.
However, it’s pointless if you overdo it! You run the risk of injuring yourself or maxing out your sick days in the aftermath of an intense workout. Listen to your body and your limits. Strike a balance!
Here’s how to avoid overexerting yourself when exercising:
- Do warm-up exercises before any workout.
- Attempt exercises that you’ve learned the technique for.
- Take breaks in between and do ‘cool down’ exercises at the end.
- Limit strenuous exercises to certain days — Think ‘leg days’ for leg workouts.
Certain exercises may aggravate your dosha body type, so consider it when picking your daily or weekly routine. For example, swimming works great for Pitta body types and those aligned with Kapha are urged to avoid cold environments.
#8: Ever Tried Downward Dog?
Yoga is another great way to add movement to your routine. Where cardio exercise is focused on circulation and strength, yoga prioritizes the power of stretching and flexibility while instilling calmness in your mind and spirit.
One yoga position for tapping into a sense of calm is Downward Dog. If that name sounds weird to you, let it help you remember that Downward Dog involves bending forward on all fours.
Like most poses, Downward Dog improves circulation and relieves tension in your joints. Yoga can also be treated as a form of therapy—both physical and mental. In Ayurveda, yoga is widely hailed for its effect on mental health, including lowering irritability and boosting relaxation.
Here are some other (more subtly-named) yoga positions that offer relief:
- Hero’s Pose
- Supine Twist
- Standing Fold
Need a visual guide for these poses? This article is a great place to find some grounding and relaxing yoga poses!
#9: Practice Aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy refers to the use of essential oils to positively heal, soothe, or impact the mind medicinally. Essential oils are extracted from plants: their leaves, flowers or roots.
There are many studies that highlight its benefits for physical and mental health; some are covered in “Support Optimal Health with Essential Oils.” Relieving stress, calming the nerves and improving sleep quality, are just a few!
How can you try aromatherapy?
Many people are happy to report the benefits of Abhyanga: A traditional ayurvedic massage that involves using warm herbal oil from the scalp down to your soles.
However, you must first find a dosha-specific oil to use. For best results, here are a few pointers:
- VATA DOSHA: 4-5x per week using sesame or almond oil.
- PITTA DOSHA: 3-4x per week using coconut or sunflower oil.
- KAPHA DOSHA: 1-2x per week using safflower oil.
Adding a few drops of essential oils to the above oil carriers can be either relaxing or stimulating depending on your goal and choice.
They can also be inhaled via a diffuser or applied directly to the skin. Along with Abhyanga, you can also consider having a long whiff before bed or adding a few drops to your bathwater.
So long as the essential oil is absorbed into the body, you'll reap the benefits. For even more on essential oils, try “8 Surprising Uses for Essential Oils.”
#10: Keep Stress Levels Down.
Life is crazy busy, isn’t it!?
Stress might start off subtly: A headache that sneaks up on you, a stiff neck that you tolerate, or a knot in your stomach. These are symptoms of fatigue and stress levels. Then, perhaps there’s a haunting anxiety on top of it!
Pretty soon, stress is hard to shake.
Ayurveda invites balance.
Calm the choppy emotional waves as they arise.
Take a few moments for a mindfulness exercise. (Everyone can spare one or two minutes!)
Practice stress-management hobbies like reading, gardening or painting. Tapping into your creative well will be a satisfying "awww." Then your shoulders and neck relax, the knot melts into ease and the turbulent emotions settle into inner peace.
#11: Take Renewing Breaks.
Don't fall into the trap of hustle culture: Breaks are crucial.
Lunchtime has always been a staple in most people’s lives. From preschool to your current workplace, an hour or so has always nestled its way into your day.
Some people find it easy to step away from work as soon as the clock strikes noon. For others, it’s easier to work through lunch. We’re guessing you’ve done the latter, too.
Unfortunately, productivity plummets without breaks.
Churning out hours and hours of work while you’re running low on steam results in burnout. Our moods go from easygoing to exasperated; and even though many still push, studies do not support long work hours. Not only does productivity go down, but your stress goes up! It’s crucial to recognize your limits.
Taking adequate breaks throughout the day—including your lunch hour—can remedy chronic stress and help regain balance.
Along with giving you time to recoup, you are also able to sort through your thoughts, catch your breath, and map out the rest of your day. Even a 5-minute pause in between meetings could help! When time allows, take a walk or call someone who you enjoy talking with. Downtime is time well spent.
#12: Clear Your Nasal Passages—then Breathe Deeply!
Strengthening the immune system is one of the benefits of Ayurveda, especially for the Vata body type. That starts with the nasal passages.
Symptoms like stuffy nose, congestion and sniffling are signs that your immune system is compromised—or that you’re coming down with sickness! Fortunately, clearing your airways can help keep those symptoms at arm’s length.
Ayurveda practitioners recommend using 3-5 drops of Nasya oil (traditional herbal oil) or inhaling herbal steam 2-3 times daily. Either treatment unclogs and heals your nasal passages.
After clearing, take a deep, mindful breath!
Breathe intentionally, deliberately. Fill your lungs until full with every breath.
To breathe effectively, apply Pranayama, or yogic breathing, which encourages you to take deep, conscious and controlled breaths. You can accomplish it by inhaling deeply through the nose while keeping your lips closed. Diaphragmatic breathing, or belly breathing, also helps!
If you’re feeling under the weather, couple herbal steaming and deep breathing together for an amazing pick-me-up! Don’t underestimate the power of breath!
#13: Detox Your Body.
Detoxing refers to the various treatments used in cleansing the impurities, toxins, or waste from the body. Because Ayurveda values balance by reducing negativity, you’ll find many natural methods available!
Here are our favorites:
- Triphala: An ayurvedic bowel cleanser made from a combination of dried fruits, namely Amalaki, Haritaki, and Bibhitaki. Triphala does exactly as implied — It stimulates your bowels into removing waste as a laxative alternative.
- Panchakarma is a popular Ayurvedic detoxing treatment. Due to the many stages involved—and its reported intensity—it’s best to have a licensed Ayurvedic practitioner carry out Panchakarma.
- Periodic fasting is an easy, no-mess option to start off with. Most sources recommend fasting for 12-24 hours for best results. However, those aligned with Vata should avoid fasting for too long, as it may lead to some irritability in their dosha level.
It is important to note that some detoxing methods can last for hours at a time and should be done with extra caution.
#14: Detox Your Home, Too!
Removing impurities from your life shouldn’t stop at your mind and body.
Home is where you return, drop the weights off of your shoulders after a long workday and relax. Regenerate. Commune with loved ones.
Ayurveda even governs how you maintain your environment—to keep it a safe, renewing haven.
Swapping out some of your go-to chemical products with herbal blends or non-toxic alternatives can limit toxins and create a healthier home.
Here are some options to consider:
- Using an essential oil diffuser instead of an air freshener.
- Cleaning countertops with a mix of rubbing alcohol and water.
- Adding Lavender oil to mop water instead of generic floor cleaner.
While you may not fall ill from a messy kitchen or a sink full of dishes, it will linger in the back of your mind until you wash the dishes. Mental health is linked to your environment. To help keep your mind clutter-free, ensure that your environment is orderly.
Did you know that colors, layout and greenery also occupy our thoughts? Learn how interior design impacts your mental health and simple ways to enhance your environment.
#15: Practice Color Therapy.
Have you ever noticed how colors are associated with emotions? If you’ve watched Pixar’s Inside Out with your kids or grandkids, you’ll notice just how well they showed their characters’ personalities through colors: Anger was red, Sadness was blue and Joy was yellow.
That’s because colors provide context. Just like Pixar’s visual storytelling, Ayurveda recognizes the importance of colors in emotions.
Depending on your dosha type, some colors may link to a dip (or spike) in your mood.
Using colors to regulate emotional health is called Color Therapy, or Chromotherapy, and plays a big role in Ayurvedic principles. Each color carries its own energy, so the doshas will react differently to them. Here are colors that best align with each dosha and colors that they are better off avoiding.
Vata Dosha Colors
Align: Warm colors like yellow, orange, and gold.
Avoid: Blacks, grays, and strong neon colors.
Pitta Dosha Colors
Align: Calm, cooling colors like blue, silver, and white.
Avoid: Warm, bright colors like yellow and orange.
Kapha Dosha Colors
Align: Bright colors like red, orange, and yellow.
Avoid: Light, cooling colors like white, silver, and blue.
Consider adding the right colors to your everyday life. If you aren’t able to repaint your walls, start small by adding a red rug to your living room or silver accessories to your outfit.
#16: Keep Yourself Hydrated.
What happens when you don’t drink enough water?
Worst case scenario, you become dizzy, drained and dehydrated. However, the other symptoms are nothing to scoff at! From headaches to low energy to stomach cramps, you feel the consequences of dehydration in a big way. The brain, which is made up of 75% water, depends heavily on water for proper functioning.
Building a water-drinking habit keeps the body running smoothly.
Those with a Vata dosha will notice a change in mood—irritability goes up—when dehydrated. And they also should avoid cold beverages.
Drinking enough water is important for:
- Improving your mood.
- Healthier-looking skin.
- Removing toxins from the body.
- Keeping your mind focused.
- Regulating your body temperature.
- Keeping your organs healthy and hydrated.
And no, your coffee and soda don’t count!
#17: Build a Healthy Relationship with Food.
The Ayurvedic principles follow actions and substances that enhance the body’s well-being and eliminate things that negatively impacting your body. If you choose to follow these principles, it often means making changes in your diet. To create a lifestyle change, a healthy relationship with food is recommended.
Let’s touch back on that Dinacharya principle from earlier: Creating a daily routine of eating dinner at the same time keeps your eating patterns in check. This ensures that you aren’t eating midnight snacks when you should be sleeping. You can also stash away your cravings out of sight—and out of mind—to avoid giving in. If you’re a Pitta, it’s time to put down the spicy food—at least cut back if you love spicy food!
For more on that, this blog post dives into creating even healthier habits.
#18: Chew Your Food Thoroughly!
Contrary to what you may think, digestion doesn’t start in the stomach: It starts in the mouth!
Failure to chew our food thoroughly requires our stomach to work overtime in digesting it. But, that’s not the worst part.
Ayurvedic teachings claim that toxins from undigested food (or “ama”) can result in problems like indigestion, constipation—or the opposite!—and bloating. When there is a build-up of ama, the digestive process takes longer, delaying the food leaving our bodies.
So, how much chewing is enough?
A great way to determine that is by how soft and liquid-like the food feels in your mouth. When food is pulverized into soft, liquid form, it’s okay to swallow. After all, that’s what we have teeth for! And then, you’ll go easy on your stomach and intestines. Put away those antacids and chew more!
With more mindful chewing comes the need to keep our oral health above par, too. There are common practices in Ayurveda that strengthen your teeth, clean your tongue and improve your overall health.
Ayurveda stretches beyond toothpaste and floss. Oil pulling, in particular, involves swishing around sesame oil in your mouth. This practice targets bad breath and prevents tooth decay.
#19: Quit Skipping Breakfast.
I get it: there are so many things competing for attention in the morning. And one late start to your day throws your entire morning off! On days like those, skipping breakfast may be an easy go-to for saving time, but here’s why that’s not a great idea.
Whenever you skip breakfast—or eat breakfast that’s unsatisfying—you may feel an imbalance in Sadhaka Pitta. Persons associated with Pitta are known for their large appetites. However, their (incoming) digestive problems and mood swings are also common knowledge!
Unless you are fasting, skipping a meal can negatively impact your dosha levels. This goes for Vata and Kapha body types, too. Consider an herbal tea like tulsi or ginger for its cleansing and balancing effects. Check teas for your dosha.
Don’t skip breakfast—start your day off with nutrition and a balanced system.
#20: Eat Farm-Fresh Food.
Fresh is key. Eat homegrown whenever possible. (My husband’s tomatoes are delicious this time of year!)
Of course, it’s not feasible to eat farm-fresh for everything. However, more often than not, our diets consist of whatever is tucked away in the fridge or picked up on the way home from work. And too many fast foods can be a major problem, even for the strong digestive system of a Pitta Dosha. Super Size Me movie made that point explicitly!
Ayurveda insists that we put some distance between our plates and the processed foods around us. This recommendation is because healthy living stems from healthy food and therefore, a majority of your diet needs to be natural foods from plant-based sources.
Don’t worry: So long as you are consuming the right amount of protein, fiber and iron, you should be alright!
IRON: Sesame seeds, broccoli, citrus fruits, spinach,
FIBER: Brown rice, dried beans, quinoa, barley, strawberries.
PROTEIN: Lentils, tofu, avocados, dairy, soy, nuts, seeds, eggs.
Like with your cleaning products, you are better off swapping out unhealthy foods for more sustainable ones. Start small. Perhaps on your next grocery trip, you could pick up whole wheat bread instead of white ones, and nab some leafy greens while you’re there!
#21: Enhance Your Health with Ayurveda Supplements.
With depleted soils and foods shipped from long distances, fresh food—especially in the winter—can be tricky. That’s where vitamins and supplements come in.
A supplement is anything that provides the body with a concentrated form of vitamins, minerals, herbs and in many forms: tablets, capsules, liquids, and powders. In the case of Ayurvedic supplements, these tend to be capsules or tablets made out of dried herbs.
Some notable Ayurvedic herbs to keep on your radar include:
- Amla: Balances the acidity in the stomach and treats ulcers.
- Ashwagandha: Supports healthy digestion and blood sugar levels.
- Brahmi: Improves brain health and boosts concentration and memory.
- Manjistha: Purifies the blood and eliminates waste from the body.
- Triphala: Combined trio of herbs used for detoxing treatments.
One of the leading suppliers is Banyan Botanicals who we highly recommend! Founded over 25 years ago, Banyan Botanicals has cemented itself in the herbal supplement market.
As with all things, do your own research, and consult an Ayurvedic practitioner, or your own medical doctor before starting a supplement.
#22: Avoid Big Dinners.
Have you ever eaten too much before bed? You toss and turn all night? Maybe you have to get up to take some bitters or antacid?
Large meals overload our digestion. There are few people who haven’t experienced the consequences of eating a large meal in the evening. Best if avoided altogether, but definitely, not a healthy habit for nighttime! Ayurveda recommends the Sattvic Diet: a meal made up of only light and healthy foods. In Ayurvedic teachings, Sattvic diets are hailed as offering mental clarity and increasing energy when consumed.
Eating light dinners before bed gives your body enough time to digest before you fall asleep. Otherwise, you run the risk of having stomach issues during the nighttime or waking up feeling groggier than normal. And yup, Ayurvedic would probably nix my favorite, too—that pint of Haagen Daz, too! 😂
The next time you plan on having a late meal, consider eating light. Here are some suggestions:
- Nuts, honey and fresh fruits.
- Fresh vegetables and sprouts.
- Grains, milk and dairy products.
An Ayurvedic diet has the potential to boost the immune system and improve sleep quality. Support your own sleep experience with better nighttime habits—you’ll be glad you did.
#23: Spice Up Your Bedtime Routine… Literally!
Speaking of pre-bedtime meals, let’s bring back the classic: Warm milk before bed.
In Ayurveda, dairy products seem to complement any diet, regardless of what dosha you may be aligned to. A glass of warm spiced milk has been widely proven to help promote sleep.
You can create your own sleepy-time concoction by adding a pinch of turmeric, cinnamon and ginger to milk while it’s warming. Along with bettering sleep quality, spiced milk also nourishes the digestive system and has a calming effect on the body. My favorites are nut milks like almond or macadamia nut milks; same richness but are a wonderful alternative if you’re dairy intolerant.
#24: Get Good Sleep.
From trying spiced milk to using essential oils, you’ve found some new ideas for your night-time routine. However, your greatest priority at night should be getting some shut-eye!
To ensure that your body shuts down when it should, you’ll need to follow a rigid sleep schedule. There should be no excuses or barriers preventing you from drifting off. Light sleepers especially should invest in blackout curtains, eye masks and earplugs.
Next up, decide on an appropriate time to doze off—set an alarm, if need be—then slip under the covers and tune the world out.
If sleep doesn’t come naturally to you, you may be 1 in 3 people who experience some form of sleep deficiency. There’s no need to fret. Whether you’re restless or struggle with insomnia, there are hundreds of remedies available at your fingertips.
#25: When in Doubt, Ask a Vaidya.
A Vaidya is someone trained in Ayurvedic medicine. Just as you’d consult your doctor before switching medications, it’s crucial to speak to a licensed professional before wading through this unfamiliar territory — Especially when it boils down to detoxing or dietary changes!
While it may take some time to find the right fit for you, Banyan Botanicals also has a wide variety of guides and FAQs. These can explain Ayurvedic principles in great detail in the meantime.
Practicing Ayurvedic principles is more feasible than you think. It starts with that very first step: Aligning yourself with the right dosha type. Vata, Pitta and Kapha are widely different from each other, so the process of identifying with one of them should be taken seriously.
Depending on your unique dosha constitution, your lifestyle, activities and diet need to be tailor-made for you. This results in better holistic health and achieving balance, unlike anything you’ve had before. Along with that, it’s important to understand that an imbalance in your dosha levels can result in issues ranging from mood swings to stomach problems.
Kickstart your Ayurvedic lifestyle: Schedule a 1-on-1 consultation with a member of our team by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. On this call, we can dig into the habits that you hope to add to your routine—and the best way to be successful!