Episode 011 Ayurvedic Practices
Over the past few weeks I have shared a little bit here and there about Ayurvedic practices, and this week I want to break down some of my favorite daily practices. Most of the practices that I will be talking about this week I use everyday. So I want to say from experience that they do work and they do benefit me in lots of way.
I find that the morning time is the most special part of my Ayurvedic practice. It's the time where I set up my day. It is as this time that most of my Ayurvedic practices take place.
In the morning I set aside time for prayer and meditation, I scrape my tongue with a scraper, and I make a morning tonic BEFORE my coffee.
Prayer/Meditation- This is the most beneficial practice that I do each day. If you can do nothing else set aside this time to be still. There are many ways to meditate, and they all work. You have to find the style of meditation that works for you. That being said for beginners I would suggest finding a guided meditation on youtube, spotify, or apple music. Having that guide there will allow you to follow someone else's voice so that you don't feel lost or that it's not "working." Take 15 minutes and get calm and clear before the day unfolds in front of you. This is also a really wonderful time to set your intention for your day. Meditation has proven to calm the central nervous system, reduce anxiety, and boost your mood. Let me be clear about prayer vs meditation...THEY ARE BOTH AMAZING!! Prayer is talking, meditation is listening. When you sit in prayer you are talking to someone or something bigger than yourself. You might be asking for something or showing your gratitude for your amazing life. Meditation is the practice of listening and clearing the mind. I often start with prayer and then transition to meditation while I listen and calm my mind. Either way...get into the daily practice, you will not regret it.
In the resources worksheet I will include a guided meditation that I used when I was just beginning and still use from time to time.
Tongue Scraping- This might not be a practice that you heard of but again this is another STAR! Scraping your tongue is the most visual way I know of to check in with your health. In the morning after you use the bathroom grab your tongue scraper (I will add a link to buy one in the resource worksheet) and scrape your tongue from back to front about 7-8 times. After each single scrape rinse the scraper off. What you collect on the scraper in Ayurveda is considered ama or toxins that build up during the night. The thicker and more yellow you scrape off the more toxins are on your tongue. Often I will see more "stuff" when I haven't eaten the best or when I have had a few drinks. I will notice a ton of toxins when I am on my way to getting sick. This is why I love tongue scraping, its such a visual way of checking in on my health and digestion. Be gentle when scraping. The toxins will scrape off with very little work. Scraping takes a few minutes and is great for all doshas.
Neti Pot- Now I am sure my singers have heard of this one. I know we use neti potting when we feel that mucus begin to rise on those vocal chords, but I bet you didn't know that you were doing an Ayurvedic Practice! How fun is that. Using a salt solution to clear the sinus passages is best for my Kapha people, but will be good for anyone who suffers from an excess of mucus or has bad seasonal allergies. In case you haven't heard or used one, the neti pot looks like a tiny tea pot (link will be on the worksheet). You add water and a pinch of salt to the pot. Mix. Then put the spout in one nostril and tip the neti pot up. The water solution will move through the sinus passage to clear out any irritants or mucus. Make sure to tip your head down so the water travels easily through. After the water is done, blow your nose lightly and repeat on the other side. After you have finished both sides, grab a bit of sesame oil and wipe the inside of the nasal passages. This just helps prevent them from drying out. Kaphas I would recommend this as a daily practice, while pittas and vatas can use this as needed.
Morning Tonic- Drinking your morning tonic is a non negotiable and NO your tonic can't be coffee. Tonics can taste delicious so there is no need to dread them. Tonics are an awesome way for you to get in your "medicine" right at the beginning of the day. Consider the season when thinking about what to put in your tonic for the day. Some of you may have heard about drinking warm lemon water in the morning. These tonics are essentially the same thing. In fact if that is what you want to start with, by all means, begin a practice of drinking warm lemon water. That is how I started. Just remember that lemon is not good for all doshas in excess and for those of you with acid reflux you should avoid lemon water for something else. Grab your teapot or a small pot and fill with water. Add your herbs, fruit, and spices of your choice. Allow it to boil and stand over the pot and breathe it in. Pour into your mug and add honey or maple syrup if you choose. Sometimes I will hold the tea throughout my meditation, feel free to do so if that feels right to you. In the summer time or my fiery pitta people, allow your tonic to cool to room temp before you drink. I will give you some of my tonic recommendations in the worksheet.
Oil Pulling- This one got super trendy a few years ago. This is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that uses oil to pull toxins from the mouth, specifically from the gums. Take a tablespoon of sesame oil (not toasted sesame oil) and put it in your mouth. Swish it around and pull it back and forth through the teeth. Start with 5 minutes and move up to 15 as you can. I will often do this in the shower so I can knock out two birds with one stone. This practice is great for all doshas, and really great for Vatas! Side note, don't spit the oil down the drain; spit in the trash can. The excess oil build up will clog your drain. If you want to see if it's working spit the oil back into a clear jar. The more ama/toxins the oil pulled out of your mouth the more opaque it will be. Another great way to monitor your health and well-being.
Dry Brushing- This practice is so great for the skin and the circulatory system. A natural dry brush is used all over the body to loosen dead skin cells. Our skin is subject to all of the pollutants we come in contact with and exfoliating the skin in this way allows for your skin to glow, bumps up your circulation and some say it even helps with digestion. Start from the feet and use a circular motion until you meet the top of the tight. Make sure you do the backs of the legs. Then move to the arms starting at the fingers and moving up towards the shoulders. Next do the torso starting from the pelvis and moving towards the neck. Don't forget the back side of the body too. When you are finished jump in the shower. This practice is best for kapha and vata doshas as pittas might have sensitive skin. I dry brush every 7-10 days
Full Body Massage- Now I know everyone knows this is amazing. Everyone deserves a full body massage so it's no wonder that Ayurveda recommends this. After you get out of the shower grab your dosha specific oil (Vata-Sesame Oil, Pitta- Olive Oil, Kapha- Almond Oil) and give yourself a fully body massage. Rub the oil between your hands to create a little bit of heat. On your legs and arms use vertical movement. On the front and back of the torso use circular movement. Allow the oil to stay on for a few minutes then wipe off any excess oil. Get dressed and you are ready.
As a bonus add a foot rub at the end of the day. It's a great way to thank yourself for everything your body was able to accomplish during the day.
Do you have to do ALL of these? Absolutely Not. Pick a couple and see how you feel, once you get the hang of it, add some more if you need to. I would absolutely recommend Tongue Scraping, Prayer/Meditation and Morning Tonic. Other than that add and take out as you wish.
Got Questions? Email me and I can chat with you get you super clear on what practices work for you.
Ayurvedic Practices Resource List
Drop your email to get your resource checklist.
It is all the tools I use in my daily practice