Amber from Truly Thriving shares her knowledge and experience with the healing science known as Ayurveda. Before reading, you might want to check out Part 1 in our Ayurveda series.
As I mentioned in my previous post, Ayurveda can be a lot to digest and is best approached gradually. I don’t know about you but when I’ve gone all gung ho with something new and different I tend to get overwhelmed and frustrated if I don’t stay exactly on track and sooner or later I end up ditching it altogether. On the other hand when I want to change a habit or when I began implementing Ayurveda into my life and my families’ I found taking one or two small steps at a time created a much more manageable endeavor.
If you think Ayurveda may hold some answers to questions you’ve struggled with over your body, mind and health or perhaps the health of your children maybe these steps will help set you off at a manageable pace.
A few steps to get started with Ayurveda
1. Start the day with a glass of room temperature or warm water.
Ayurveda teaches that iced and cold drinks including water can have a dampening effect on our internal digestive fire, our Agni. So the first step I made upon learning this was to mostly consume room temp or warm beverages which I found surprisingly easy to do. You may have heard others recommend beginning the day with warm lemon water which I think is very beneficial but I don’t always feel like having warm water first thing.
When we begin the day with a glass of room temperature or warm water we flush out toxins, immediately hydrate ourselves and restore alkalinity. When we go all night without eating and drinking we are naturally in a more acidic state upon waking and if we immediately give our bodies more acidic items like coffee we start the day on the wrong foot.
What I do is fill water cups and bottles the night before for myself and my kids and begin the day drinking the room temperature water. When I feel like it or need an extra kick to my digestion I warm some water and add a squeeze of lemon, apple cider vinegar or both.
2. Keep a fairly consistent daily routine.
Our bodies and minds crave routine much more than we may even realize. If you’re a parent or someone who works with young children you can probably attest to the difference in them when they are off a structured routine they are used to whether a change in the school day schedule, nap time or even just over the summer when their routines tend to change quite a bit. Our daily routine, or dinacharya, take into consideration the three doshas and work effectively to appease each throughout the course of the day.
I suggest waking up and going to bed at around the same time each day as well as eating around the same time as well. If there are other practices that your day always consists of (exercise, meditating, writing, etc) try to arrange your day to fit them in at the same time each day, as much as possible. It is calming to the nervous system to know what comes next especially to those are predominantly Vata.
Personally I start the day between 6:00am – 6:20am and sit in a quiet meditation for 20 minutes and if I haven’t hit snooze too many times I free write for 10 minutes or so. Then I drink my glass of water and begin getting the kids up and their breakfast ready, take the dog out, etc. It’s a nice start.
3. Enjoy your largest meal at mid-day and eat lightly after the sun sets.
Perhaps you’ve heard this before; many European countries eat a larger meal at lunchtime and opt for a late light dinner which is also the Ayurveda way. You see the strength of our digestion correlates with the times of the day as well as the seasons. Our digestion is at full capacity mid-day when the sun is the strongest which gives our bodies the ability to digest and assimilate the food we eat at this time more efficiently. As we enter the winter months this is even more important because our digestive system tends to slow down and slug along during the wintertime.
This is sometimes a difficult concept for busy families with working parents, kids that have after school or evening activities and are at school or work all day during the week but it can be done. I work from home and have some flexibility with my schedule so I plan to eat a larger lunch most days when I’m able and I pack my kids what I know they will eat during the day at school. It is in the evening that I have a bit more control over what they eat and I make attempts to keep our meals lighter at that time, even if it is just enjoying a protein and big salad or good amount of vegetables. Some other ideas for this time of year may be chili, soups or warm salads with cooked spiced vegetables added to your other favorite salad staples.
4. Eat with the season.
This is always where I start with my clients when they want to know what to eat for their dosha. With individual exceptions remarkably what is in season or being harvested where you live is just what our body’s need, for the most part. A good rule of thumb eating local seasonal fruits and vegetables will put you on the right track as well as build your immunity.
I’m a big fan of the farm shares or boxes you can purchase as well as local farmers markets for the most local and freshest offerings. It doesn’t have to be all complicated, just real seasonal food.
If you’re someone that strives to eat seasonally already maybe another one of my tips will resonate with you and small adjustments can be made to your life. We intuitively know what we’re ready for and what we’re not so go slow and be forgiving of yourself if you don’t always follow what you’d like to there is always tomorrow.
Local Ayurveda Resources
And if you do better one on one you can find Ayurvedic consultations, workshops and cleanses at Ageless Acupuncture http://www.agelessinsaratoga.com/ and consultations at Joy of Yoga http://joyofyogasaratoga.com/ both in Saratoga Springs. If you’re looking for an Ayurvedic yoga class you can find that at Namaste Yoga http://namasteyogasaratoga.com/ also in Saratoga.
I also offer some online programs and seasonal cleanses as well as in person Ayurvedic consultations and workshops around the area. If you’d like to stay in touch with what I’m up to come visit my virtual home, Truly Thriving.
Amber, a certified holistic health and nutrition consultant and creator of Truly Thriving, a health and wellness practice, has been a lifelong student of nutrition and its impact on our health. You can find her conducting seasonal workshops, offering one on one high level nutrition and lifestyle counseling, sharing valuable information on her site and creating more ways to help you thrive.
Disclaimer- The instructions and advice presented are in no way intended as medical advice or as a substitute for medical consulting. The information offered is based on my study and experience and meant to share what I’ve found success with. It is your responsibility to ascertain that there are not medical reasons that prevent your participation.