Balance it out: 9 simple ayurvedic swaps for your everyday life

Following a diet that suits your dosha, practicing abhyanga, tongue scraping and oil pulling in the morning: Starting an ayurvedic lifestyle sure is overwhelming at the beginning – and might be very different from how you are living now. Maybe you are thinking “Wow, this is so different from what I am doing right now… This sound a bit radical!” or you are so overwhelmed with all the information about Ayurveda that you don’t know where to start. Good news: You do not have to be change up your whole life to live in tune with your nature and according to the principles of Ayurveda. Small changes and swaps can have a big impact on our wellbeing. Best part is that those rituals and habits are very simple yet super powerful and an easy way to bring more Ayurveda to your daily life. Here are nine easy rituals that had a huge impact on my own health and wellbeing. I hope you will like them and they will work for you too!

Change it up: Bring more Ayurveda to your daily life

Incorporating ayurvedic principles does not have to be overwhelming. In fact, small and easy swaps in our daily habits can make a significant difference in restoring equilibrium and fostering a sense of contentment.

WARM WATER INSTEAD OF COLD WATER

Making a simple yet powerful change in your daily routine, consider opting for warm water instead of cold water. Not only does warm water aid in digestion and promote a healthy metabolism, but it also helps to cleanse and detoxify your body effectively. Warm water has a soothing effect on the body, helping to soothe the nervous system. I like to boil water in the evening and fill it in a thermos, so I can enjoy it right away the next morning.

MINDFUL EATING INSTEAD OF SCROLLING

Being mindful while eating helps you become more attuned to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. You are more likely to recognise when you are truly hungry and when you have had enough, reducing the likelihood of overeating. By giving your full attention to the flavours, textures and aroma of your food, you can savour and enjoy each bite more fully. Mindful eating brings a sense of appreciation for the nourishment your food provides, leading to a more satisfying and enjoyable eating experience. It helps to take three conscious breaths before starting eating. I also like to send a little prayer to my food which helps me to take a moment to breathe before I start eating.

Incorporating mindful eating into your meals can positively impact your relationship with food and contribute to better overall digestion and well-being. Taking a break from scrolling during meals allows you to be present and fully engaged with the nourishment your food offers.

WALK IN NATURE INSTEAD OF INTENSE WORKOUTS

Walking in nature provides a calming and grounding effect on the mind and body. The serene environment and fresh air can help reduce stress levels and alleviate feelings of anxiety. Walking is a low-impact activity that is easier on the joints compared to intense workouts. It offers a moderate form of exercise that can help improve cardiovascular health and maintain joint flexibility. Spending time in nature allows you to connect with the natural world, promoting feelings of well-being and mindfulness. This connection can have a positive impact on mental health and overall happiness.

By choosing to walk in nature instead of engaging in intense workouts, you give yourself an opportunity to reap these benefits while still staying active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Nature walks provide a refreshing and rejuvenating experience that nurtures both your physical and mental well-being.

SESAME OIL INSTEAD OF BODY LOTION

While body lotions can provide hydration to the skin, they might not offer the same holistic and therapeutic benefits as natural oils. Sesame oil is considered a potent ally in Ayurveda for promoting overall well-being and is used in various therapeutic applications, ranging from massages and oil pulling to dietary use for cooking and medicinal purposes. It is unique in its ability to nourish and balance all three doshas.

On the other hand, many body lotions available in the market contain synthetic ingredients, artificial fragrances, and chemicals, which may not align with the principles of Ayurveda. While body lotions can provide hydration to the skin, they might not offer the same holistic and therapeutic benefits as Abhyanga with natural oils.

Abhyanga is a self-massage ritual that allows you to connect with your body and mind. The act of massaging oneself with warm oil is seen as a form of self-love and self-healing in Ayurveda. Abhyanga involves using natural oils, such as sesame oil. Abhyanga with warm oil is particularly beneficial for balancing Vata dosha, as it provides warmth, grounding and stability.

I noticed that my skin got very dry when I surfed a lot and spending more time in the ocean – and all the lotions didn’t really help with it. So I started doing a little Abhyanga with sesame oil before I took a shower and loved the results: moist, soft skin and a great glow too 😉 Still I love massaging sesame oil into my skin before taking a shower as it is very grounding and just feels really good.

FRESH GINGER TEA INSTEAD OF COFFEE

In Ayurveda, the use of caffeine is generally not recommended or discouraged, as its stimulating effects are believed to disrupt the natural balance of the body and mind. Drinking coffee on a regular basis has a drying effect on the body and can disrupt the smooth functioning of the digestive system. It also aggravates the Pitta dosha, can disrupt sleep patterns and may mask underlying fatigue and stress. Plus, a regular consumption of caffeine can lead to dependency and addiction, making it challenging for individuals to function without it. Caffeine can also act as an appetite suppressant, which may cause individuals to skip meals or eat less than they need, leading to imbalances in the digestive system. Proper nourishment and regular meals are essential for supporting digestion and maintaining overall health.

Fresh ginger on the other hand is known for its powerful benefits: Its natural compounds – such as gingerol – soothe inflammation, boost the immune system and stimulate digestion. Having a cup of ginger tea in the morning will boost your metabolism, promote healthy digestion and help with discomfort or bloating that may occur after breakfast. Plus it’s an excellent caffeine-free alternative to start your day – Ayurveda style! All you need is fresh ginger and hot water. I like to peel and grate the ginger before adding the water for a stronger flavour and even better effects.

SWAP LUNCH FOR DINNER

Ayurveda suggests that the digestive fire (agni) is strongest during midday, making lunch the ideal time for a larger and more substantial meal. Swapping lunch for dinner allows your body to digest the heavier meal more efficiently and supports better digestion. Consuming a lighter meal in the evening, such as a nourishing soup or a vegetable-based dish, can help prevent feelings of heaviness and lethargy before bedtime. Lighter dinners promote a more restful sleep and allow the body to focus on repairing and rejuvenating overnight.

By swapping lunch for dinner, you can optimize your digestion, support your body’s natural rhythms and promote a more balanced and energized day. Remember to listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, and make adjustments based on your individual needs and schedule.

DATES INSTEAD OF SUGAR

Ayurveda recommends using dates as a natural sweetener instead of refined sugar for several reasons:

Dates are rich in essential vitamins, minerals (such as potassium, magnesium, and iron) and dietary fiber. Unlike refined sugar, which lacks nutrients, dates provide some nutritional value, making them a healthier sweetening option. In Ayurveda, dates are considered oja-building. Ojas is a vital substance in the body responsible for maintaining vitality, immunity and overall health. Dates have qualities that can balance Vata dosha, bringing a sense of stability and nourishment to the body and mind.

I like to soak a few dates overnight and use them for my porridge in the morning. Why soaking? The dates have a softer texture, are easier to digest and the bioavailability of the nutrients is better.

It’s important to note that even though dates are a healthier alternative to refined sugar, they should still be consumed in moderation, especially for individuals with certain health conditions such as diabetes.

CUMIN SEEDS INSTEAD OF MINT AFTER DINNER

Chewing cumin seeds provides a gentle and natural way to support the digestive process without the artificial additives, sugar or chemicals often found in mints or bubble gum.

In Ayurveda, natural remedies are preferred over artificial ones. Cumin seeds have long been used in Ayurveda for their digestive properties. Chewing cumin seeds after a meal can help stimulate the secretion of digestive enzymes, promoting more effective digestion and reducing the chances of indigestion or bloating.

FRESH OVER PROCESSED FOOD

Ayurveda considers fresh foods to be rich in prana, the vital life force that sustains all living beings. Fresh foods are believed to contain higher levels of this life force, which nourishes and rejuvenates the body and mind. They are generally easier to digest compared to processed or stale foods. Ayurveda recognizes three gunas (qualities of mind): Sattva (purity), Rajas (activity) and Tamas (inertia). Fresh and pure foods are considered sattvic, promoting clarity, peace and spiritual growth.

Remember to include a variety of fresh foods to ensure you receive a wide range of nutrients and flavors in your diet.

In summary, fresh food is central to Ayurveda’s holistic approach to health and well-being. It provides essential nutrients, supports digestion, balances doshas, and enhances the mind-body connection. By embracing fresh, wholesome foods, individuals can align themselves with nature’s rhythms and nurture their overall health and vitality.