For this blog I’d like to pass on my top 10 tips that can be used daily that I’ve picked up through my practice with both my Physio and Ayurveda work. The small changes below can make a big difference in overall health if you stick with them in a daily routine.
“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward” Old Chinese Proverb
1. Walk daily. Ayurveda considers walking a tridoshic exercise: it balances all three dosha types. Latest studies show even walking a sustained 7 minutes per day can improve health.
2. Eat your biggest meal at lunchtime. This is when you’re digestive fire is working at its peak so you get better absorption.
3. Drink a glass of warm/hot water first thing in the morning before breakfast. A great way to flush out accumulated ama (toxins). Do not start the day with tea or coffee, as this drains kidney energy and stresses the adrenals. Your natural cortisol levels start rising about an hour or so after you get up in the morning so this is a good time to have that tea/coffee. Working with your body’s natural biorhythms puts less stress on your organs.
4. Buy or make natural, preferably organic, skincare. Your skin is your biggest organ and everything you put on your skin has to be processed through your bloodstream and liver. Make it easier work for them by not using products with chemicals that are hard to break down. Avoid cheap body lotions full of ingredients you can’t pronounce. I always say you should feel comfortable eating what you put on your skin. In hotter months massaging your body with a good quality coconut oil is perfect after a shower.
5. Try to get enough sleep. Recently it has been proven that you have tiny lymph drains in your brain and laying down to sleep facilitates this draining process, subsequently improving brain health.
6. Detoxify from time to time by eating ama-reducing foods. If you are feeling strong do this one day per week, if you are feeling tired perhaps do this once per month. Kitchari is quick and easy to make ( recipe on my website). An ama-reducing spice water sipped on during the day is a great internal cleanser.
- Two to three thin slices of fresh ginger
- ¼ tsp. cumin
- ¼ tsp. fennel
- 2 black peppercorns
- 2 leaves of mint
Boil one litre of water and steep herbs. Strain, and put it in a thermos flask.
7. Decorate your dining table. I think a beautiful table setting is why we enjoy eating out at a restaurant so much. Light a candle or LED light at home adds to a relaxing atmosphere. Use your favourite plates and cutlery. The beautiful plates you have tucked away are not enjoyed sitting in a cupboard! There’s a Japanese custom where if you break a beautiful plate, glue it and paint over the crack with gold leaf. This plate is then cherished even more for its uniqueness (google Kintsugi).
8. Use spices with all your meals. Spices add good flavour and support digestion making the nutrients easily available to the body. Good examples are turmeric which is anti inflammatory, cumin helps with digestion, coriander is an internal cleanser, fennel settles the stomach and cardamom cools and sweetens the system. Add the spices on your meal before serving – this way you can add only a little spice to your kids meals if they aren’t fans of different flavours. Once you are practiced using spices you can add more turmeric to someone’s meal who is struggling with inflammation and use more coriander for someone who needs more of a cleanse etc. (I can guide you with this).
9. Scent-ual body. Using natural scents and essential plant oils that smell good release endorphins and bring joy.
If you have a vata dosha the best scent to use is warm, sweet and sour aromas. These aromas include – Basil, Orange, Clove, Rose, Vanilla, Geranium, Patchouli, Amber, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Sandalwood, Thyme, Lemongrass, Frankincense, Coriander, Cardamom and Camphor.
For pitta dosha try using soothing, sweet and hydrating scents like sandalwood, jasmine, lavender, lotus and mint.
For kapha dosha use warm, light scents such as amber rosemary, eucalyptus, peppermint and basil, with smaller amounts of balancing oils such as Frankincense or Ylang Ylang.
10. Don’t use bed ends on your bed!! Natural postures when you sleep include being able to stretch out and not be reduced to postures to fit within your bed ends. The best position to sleep in is with your feet facing North or West ( long explanation regarding magnetic fields and doesn’t matter if you live in Northern or Southern hemisphere).