Be inspired by the ancient healing method of Ayurveda for some truly nurturing New Year’s resolutions
The turn of a new year is often approached with a reflective frame of mind and, considering the past year’s inconsistencies, this mindset is even more important than ever. So what can we learn from looking at Ayurveda’s timehonoured principles? Ayurveda, meaning ‘life knowledge’ in Sanskrit, originated in India around 5,000 years ago. “This ancient healing encourages balance between body, mind and spirit,” says Su Ram, spiritual healer and vedic life coach (azhagiwellness.com), who comes from a family of Brahmin healers and priests. “It’s based on the five elements of earth, water, air, fire and ether (or space), which combine into three doshas: vata, pitta and kapha.” We all have elements of each dosha, but one often dominates. As the elements are naturally in tune with the seasons, your physical and emotional balance can fluctuate with the weather and your surrounding environment. “Imbalance can also come from diet; poor sleep; pollution and chemicals; emotional disturbances; toxic relationships; or other life situations,” says Su. As with any new habits, the key is to start small. “Don’t try to change your entire life overnight,” says Ayurveda and yoga practitioner Emma Turnbull (yoga-wise.co.uk). Here is some guidance from the top ayurvedic experts, to bring balance and brilliance to your 2021.
After a period of indulgence, your digestive system may be sluggish. Poor digestion can cause constipation, heartburn, low energy and low moods because of the strong connection between the gut and brain. “Ayurveda cites we’re only as old as our ‘agni’, or digestive fire.” says Emma. “As long as agni is strong, toxins cannot form in your body.” One of the easiest ayurvedic principles for optimum wellbeing is to simply drink more hot water or herbal tea. “First thing in the morning with an empty stomach, drink plain hot water or hot water with fresh lemon and ginger to stimulate agni,” says Emma. “A mug of hot water after every meal or snack helps you digest food faster, making you feel lighter.” For improved energy and immunity, it’s important to rest your digestive system, so only eat if you’re truly hungry. “Eat your largest meal at lunch when your agni is strongest, and stick to light, early suppers,” says Emma. “Try not to eat after 7pm so your digestion can rest overnight.” Just as hot water fires you up, consuming cold things in winter can slow you down. “Avoid cold drinks and food. This will clear your body’s energy channels, leaving you more energetic and clear-minded,” says Jillian Lavender of the London Meditation Centre (@JillianLavender).
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